Why Attend University?

Why attend University?

With all of the recent negative press around rising tuition fees and poor job prospects for graduates, it is little wonder that many students are shying away from attending University, choosing instead to seek employment opportunities straight after college, or simply falling into a downward and depressive spiral of unemployment at the tender age of 18. Seeing less and less individuals attending University is depressing for those of us who know how much can be gained from a University education; a solid academic grounding, an opportunity to build social networks, a chance to manage money and to learn the importance of self motivation. It is also I am sure incredibly depressing for individuals who had always dreamed of studying at University and who now feel that their chances of fulfilling this goal have been lost due to forecast financial constraints and poor career prospects. Importantly though, it is equally worrying for our country and our economy at large. With a growing population, we need the youth of today to be able to bring a whole range of skills to the economy in the future. Some of these skills can be built up through on-the-job training yes, and not all of them need to be grounded in academic education at University level. However a wide pool of skills and knowledge do need to come from academic education. As less and less students attend University, so the resource available to deliver these needed skills dwindles.

So, University is important, both to the wider economy and to students, or should I say potential students, themselves. Let’s have a look at some key, positive reasons for attending University:

– University provides you with the opportunity to gain in-depth knowledge about one or two specific subjects. This level of knowledge is difficult to gain through your own self study.

– Most University courses require you to produce essays, dissertations and even theses as part of your course assessment. By attending University you are therefore able to improve your academic writing skills and your research skills. This in turn helps you to learn how to construct an argument, use other people’s research to support your own opinions and develop your own research methodologies.

– Some University courses are ‘Sandwich Courses’. This means that you are given the opportunity to complete a work experience placement as part of your studies. Not only does this add a bit of variety to your time at University, but it also equips you with some great hands-on experience in the industry that you are hoping to build a career within. Work experience of this level looks fantastic on your CV or Resume too.

– University provides an occasion to enjoy and build a social life! Forming new friendships, new relationships and networks is all part of growing up, and University provides the perfect place for you to enhance your social development.

The Importance of Art Education for Children

Art education for children had all but disappeared from most American schools. There are many reasons for this phenomenon, some well-intentioned (albeit misguided) and others simply unfortunate. Despite the waning exposure kids have to the arts at school, science continues to demonstrate the many benefits of arts-based learning beginning at a young age. If the future of education continues to deprive children of exposure to the arts, it is up to parents and caregivers to advocate for arts education while finding alternative ways to provide it.

The Changing Face of American Education

Several key developments in American education have nearly stripped art-related education out of schools. The most common reason cited is funding. A focus on standards has also been instrumental in reducing educational focus on the arts due to schools competing for high marks on testing. As the economy slowly recovers from the economic turmoil of the last decade, schools in many states have begun to rebound from a funding perspective. However, rather than restore arts programs, states and school districts are placed an emphasis on beefing up STEM programs, rather than art-related learning initiatives.

Types of Art Education and Their Benefits

Creativity and innovation, both traits highly valued by employers, are developed through arts-related learning. Creativity gives rise to critical thinking, engagement and problem-solving. At every stage of a child’s life, from early childhood through college, art-related exposure and learning has been shown to greatly improve physical, cognitive, social and emotional development. In addition to these proven benefits, arts-related education increases confidence in children as well as focus, perseverance and non-verbal communication. Children learn to better handle constructive feedback and to collaborate with others. Finally, the arts improve a child’s dedication, self-discipline and accountability. Each of these skill sets directly influences a child’s academic success as well. The research reflects a strong correlation between arts education and academic achievement.

The Push to Keep Children Balanced

Educational experts provide clear recommendations for an educational approach that incorporates the arts. The research leaves little doubt that kids need arts education as a part of a comprehensive and well-rounded education, and to guarantee their future success in life. Parents, caregivers and other family members can help by advocating for more art education programs in your school district. Meanwhile, experts advise not waiting for school programs to expose your kids to the arts. Dance, music, theater and the visual arts are all of equal importance and kids should be introduced to all four in early childhood.

Private teachers can provide beneficial learning opportunities however the research is clear that kids derive significantly greater benefit from group classes, lessons and programs. If your community has a children’s arts academy, enroll your kids as early as possible. There is no fear of starting them too early and professional arts educators can tailor classes specifically to a particular age group. Students with that level of involvement were four times more likely to participate in a science or math fair, win an award for writing an essay, or be recognized for academic achievement. Parents are always on the lookout for ways to help their children get ahead. Nothing is more influential and fun than arts-related education.

What You Can Do to Improve Your Child’s Education

The times are changing, and one area where this becomes very obvious is in child education. The competition and level of pressure are increasing, as more students have to work even harder to get into the relatively few slots in good schools. Kids are expected to plow through larger amounts of homework, and also do well on standardized and non-standardized tests. It’s quite a difficult world, and it’s not hard to understand why so many young people feel that they cannot cope with the stress. This is where having supportive parents can play a major role. And it’s heartwarming to see how many parents are trying to set aside the time and brush up on past subjects so that they can assist their kids. The most important thing here is to have a well thought out child education plan. Here are some key attributes of such a plan.

A Child Education Plan Needs to Be Realistic

Planning for your child’s education needs to start as early as possible, ideally at the earliest stages of the process. As an adult, it’s important to keep in mind that there are many variables that need to come together, to help your child manage. For example, part of keeping things realistic is making sure that there are multiple options when it comes to the potential school of your kid. Too many parents persist in having their child apply to get into only one or two schools. Sometimes, these are the same schools where the parents themselves went. This is not a realistic child education plan at all because the parents are artificially limiting the number of possible schools to get into, thereby increasing the risk that the kid might not be able to get into any of these. Don’t be the parent who has unrealistic expectations and assumes that their kid is smart enough to get into all the schools he or she applies to. Aside from not being a very viable strategy, this also puts tremendous pressure on the youngster.

A Child Education Plan needs to be Flexible

There may be situations where your kid has trouble with a subject or two. That’s just normal. Again, it’s important not to have unrealistic expectations of what your child can do. Now, some parents try to help their kids by going over the lessons where the child is struggling. This is a good first thing to try, but at the same time, the parents have to keep in mind that they may not be the best people to tutor their kid. So this is where the flexibility comes in. If things are not going well when the parents are doing the tutoring, consider bringing in a private tutor temporarily, to see if this improves things. Or perhaps an older sibling might do a better job of it. And then, be willing to mix and match strategies with the different subjects. So, one parent might be the best choice for math while the other one does a good job with history while a private tutor may need to be brought in to handle science. Be willing to try different tactics with your child education plan, until you end up with the best possible result.