The value of a college education, and particularly its practical and money value, notwithstanding its satisfactory attestation by the world for so many centuries, seems still to furnish an interesting and debatable question for a large number of estimable people, and especially for Americans, to consider and discuss. It will be perhaps impossible ever to entirely free the public mind of a vague prejudice that a college education for a business man is most often a detriment and a waste of time. The indefinite expectations placed in all graduates by other men, and the unreasonable demands made of them in return for their advantages, generally serve to fix indelibly in the public memory every record of the failure of a college-bred man, and just as much to erase every instance of success, as merely what was to be expected under the circumstances. A slightly new aspect is given to this question by an editorial article in the first number of Our Continent. It says: "The statistics of the last ten years in this country show that the percentage of failures of college graduates in business is decidedly less than of non-graduates. In driving a bargain the college boy may safely be backed against his commercial cousin. Does not the college curriculum provide admirable training in the management of tailors' bills and the adjustment of expense accounts for the paternal inspection?" The slight flippancy of that last sentence may be disregarded, and the statement of fact given in the extract stands as a convincing argument for sceptics. Indeed, the question is hardly a debatable one at all. Reason does not need to be convinced; it is only popular prejudice that is to be refuted and driven from the field, and in this all fair statistics are a certain and invincible ally. It is the statement of Matthew Arnold, in his book on "Higher Schools in Germany," that it is coming to be a recognized fact in England that the educated business men of Germany are beating the English "countinghouse" merchants in the field of foreign trade, in spite of English capital, and are every year encroaching upon the commerce of Great Britain. This is a significant fact. And in this country, as Dr. Peabody has said, it is to be noticed that more and more every year college men are becoming the managers and inaugurators of great financial and mercantile enterprises; "that a very large proportion of our most prosperous merchants, and of the treasurers and managers of our great corporations, are college graduates." This also is a significant fact. But it is to be feared that facts alone will not always convince the self-made man, who glories in self, and the uneducated man, who glories in his ignorance. If so, the duty of college men in the premises fairly ceases. The regeneration of character is not their assigned work.
NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED
August 04, 2015