Learning by Degrees Essay
I don’t recommend the article “Learning by Degrees” by Rebecca Mead, which questions the belief that goes against attending college to be successful in the modern society, should be published in the next upcoming issue of The Shorthorn. The article was written for an entirely different audience than The Shorthorn’s daily regular readers. Even though the article has powerful logos and ethos appeals, I would think readers from the Shorthorn wouldn’t find the topic of the article fascinating at all and wouldn’t even put up with reading the article in the first place. Also, another factor that fails to be an article that the Shorthorn’s readers would find interesting is that it lacks a claim that fails to make a case for going towards a career path immediately or obtaining a college degree first.
Through my analysis on this article, I’ve provided several reasons and evidence why I don’t find this article should be published since she is trying to convince a hostile audience in this essay, gives a weak claim, and has credibility for a separate view that she is discussing about. The main audience the article “Learning by Degrees” is trying to convince is average working parents with kids that are about to graduate from high school and preparing them for a higher education or a career that’ll be successful. This article is trying to convince a hostile and resistant audience instead of a friendlier audience.
We must remember that the Shorthorn is mainly written and read by college students that are studying for a degree and involve college professors that have already received their degrees. “Learning By Degrees” gives a pathos appeal to the question of whether going to college to readers who’ve already made a decision on this topic, making it harder for someone to recommend this article to the Shorthorn. If Mead was trying to publish this article for the Shorthorn, she should have considered that the audience doesn’t fit what it’s addressing to which are parents instead of students.
Mead’s claim that is shown in “Learning by Degrees” is easily found throughout the entire article, yet it’s a very weak claim to provide to both convince and especially understand to a hostile and resistant audience that the reader of the Shorthorn are. The claim in the article fails to pick a side in the debate of whether college really is worth the financial debt and yet instead falls in between them. The opinions of this current argument would be if college is necessary to acquire a successful career or if college isn’t needed to obtain one. Mead believes that an individual not wanting to earn and spend thousands of dollars on a college degree has the ability to become successful through several others routes instead of a college degree.
She provides evidence of this through giving examples of successful billionaires, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. One of these examples are found when Mead says “Within the sphere of business, a certain romance attaches to the figure of the successful college dropout, like Steve Jobs, who was enrolled at Reed for only a semester, or Bill Gates, who started at Harvard in 1973 but didn’t get his degree until it was granted, honorarily, thirty-four years later”(5).
However, she contradicts her claim by providing evidence of people with degrees earning higher yearly salaries than those who haven’t earned their college degrees. When Mead says “Engineers of all stripes have also fared relatively well since the onset of the recession: they dominate a ranking, issued by Payscale.com, of the disciplines that produce the best-earning graduates. Particular congratulations are due to aerospace engineers, who top the list, with a starting salary of just under sixty thousand dollars”(2). She leaves the audience a claim that floats between the two views of whether someone should obtain a college degree.
Rebecca Mead joined the New Yorker in 1997 as a staff writer and she attended Oxford and New York University, which gives her creditability of being a respected writer and a well-educated individual (The New Yorker, http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/bios/rebecca_mead/search?contributorName=rebecca%20mead). However, shouldn’t that mean Mead should be recommending college and frown on any lower level of education?
This sheds light on whether Mead is a credible writer, well educated, and yet argues against higher education; this is a hypocritical view from a college-educated author. Mead might have only written articles for profitable causes instead of having a true belief of going against college to be successful; There might be a chance that Mead regrets her previous decision on choosing college instead of a different route and wants to give advice to newly coming college students, which might be an unlikely case.
Through the analysis I gave, “Learning by Degrees” by Rebecca Mead is an article I wouldn’t recommend to publish in the upcoming issue of the Shorthorn. Its main audience doesn’t have the same characteristics as the readers of The Shorthorn, the central claim doesn’t have a stable and sturdy base since it lacks whether college is necessary or not, and the writer’s creditability doesn’t fit the side of the argument she is defending. Due to these factors, Shorthorn readers will find this a weak and insubstantial argument that will bore them and find this article a waste of time. If Mead chooses towards favoring the belief of obtaining a college degree, made the main audience similar to the readers of the Shorthorn, and used her credibility towards agreeing with college, “Learning by Degrees” would be a great article to publish in the next upcoming issue of the Shorthorn.
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