Marvin Olasky

That raises another question: Do colleges help or hurt character formation? Some students work hard, particularly when they add a part-time, bill-paying job to their classes, and some colleges demand hard work, but many students have an implicit deal with many professors: Neither will work hard.

The blog Gonzo Town describes college years, with some hyperbole, as a "four-year window in which to master the fine art of drinking beer," with "cheap tickets to Division I football and basketball games and their fantastic after parties?...?a bottomless trough of free time to play computer games in your apartment, eat pizza, [consume] lots of beers, drugs, sports, parties, games, sex."

Gonzo Town has a good suggestion: "Go to community college for two years. By doing this you have the following advantages over your mostly deluded elite counterparts at a four-year university. You will have no debt, you can earn money, perhaps live at home and save money, get more or less the same curriculum the university college offers—at a fraction of the cost." Drawbacks, though, include fewer parties, and "you have to put up with your parents for a while longer."

Some students can then transfer to a college, but Gonzo Town also offers a second option: "Learn a trade and become a 'skilled worker.' Here is a truly revolutionary concept, so radical in fact, the entire U.S. and European modern economies were built upon it. Question: Who earns more than a lawyer, a resident physician, or most company directors? Answer: a plumber."

I'm not at all suggesting that those called to be lawyers, doctors, professors, etc., should not go to college. I am suggesting that work as an electrician, landscaper, or X-ray technician, or in hundreds of other occupations that don't require a four-year college degree, also glorifies God and should be honored by all of us. Many high-school graduates should spend their time that way instead of incurring huge loans for the opportunity to be unemployed and resentful.

Marvin Olasky

Marvin Olasky is editor-in-chief of the national news magazine World. For additional commentary by Marvin Olasky, visit
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