In Danielle Douglas-Gabriel’s article “ why so many students are spending six years getting a college degree,” she argues that colleges can be improved by reducing the number of years or time it takes for students to complete college. She explains that the more time a person spends in college the higher their cost of education. Furthermore colleges have added unnecessary courses that prolong the pursuit of a degree. Douglas-Gabriel recommends that colleges should accept transfer credits, offer more sections of core classes and allow students to take classes that are only related to their major. Although Danielle Douglas-Gabriel is merely a reporter and lacks credibility, she presents a persuasive logical analysis except it’s to the wrong audience.
Danielle Douglas-Gabriel is a recipient of fellowships from the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute and Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. As a reporter for the Washington Post, she wrote this article to raise a discussion about the struggles involved in pursuing a college degree. The Washington post is one of the largest news sources on the web, which provides a platform for intelligent and powerful individuals to connect and shape the world around them. Analyzing the context of this article will enable us recognize why it fails to achieve its aim.
The exigence of the article is the time it takes for students to graduate from college and the cost involved. She tackles this issue by providing statistical evidence to an audience of the Washington post. The audience consists of 72 percent college graduates, and 42 percent with postgraduate degrees. 54 percent earn household incomes of over $75,000 and 35 percent earn household incomes of $100,000. Whiles 34 percent make or influence business decisions. Even though this is a well-educated audience, it excludes college administrators, boards of directors, deans and faculty. Publishing this article on the internet presents with constraints of advertising space and limited time to capture the attention of the audience.
Douglas-Gabriel uses various rhetorical strategies to state her claim but the most outstanding is her effective use of logos. This article provides a vast amount of current research conducted on a large sample size; therefore her appeal to logos is effective as this Data is reliable. After revealing that the government now measures whether students graduate on time since taking longer to graduate isn’t cheap, she writes “It costs $15,933 more in tuition, fees and room and board for every extra year at a public two-year college and $22,826 for every added year at a public four-year college, according to a new report by the nonprofit Complete College America.”
Douglas-Gabriel expresses her worry about the extra cost students incur the longer it takes for them to graduate. Although her audience does not consist of faculty, deans and College Board, most of Douglas-Gabriel’s audiences have acquired a college degree themselves (according to the Washington post) and some would have taken longer to graduate college than others. This means that they will realize how much money they could have saved had they graduated on time and how little of student loans they would have to pay off if they took financial aid. Parents in her audience will also worry about how much they would pay in tuition if their children were to thread the same path.
Furthermore, after quoting that ‘Most colleges and universities raise tuition and fees each year, while financial aid stays nearly constant,’ she writes that “Administrators at Temple University and University of Texas at Austin, for example, told researchers that two extra years at their campuses increase debt by nearly 70 percent among students who borrow.” Douglas-Gabriel points out that students who borrow to pay tuition fees would have to cough out the balance if they do not graduate on time since financial aid wont cover the difference. With most of Douglas-Gabriel’s audience being college graduates, those who took financial aid and took longer to graduate would recall the trouble they went through to pay the difference in the tuition.
Douglas-Gabriel vaguely appeals to pathos in her article, she evokes anger in her audience, which they probably had no idea they had buried. After disapproving with the college education system adding too many unnecessary degree requirements and remedial courses. She writes “A recent Education Department study found that the average graduate had accumulated 138.4 credits by the time they received a bachelor’s degree, when 120 is usually sufficient.” She expresses her frustrations with college’s ideas of having an all-rounded student and not permitting students take only courses that are related to their major. Douglas-Gabriel’s well-educated professionals who took longer to graduate college will reflect on how much time they have wasted taking unnecessary courses and how that time could have put them ahead in their carrier.
In addition, After she talks about Complete College America wanting schools to offer remediation alongside college-level courses, Douglas-Gabriel gives her audience hope that the system can change and students can graduate on time. She writes “The nonprofit has been promoting a plan it calls Guided Pathways to Success (GPS), which organizes majors into a set courses that allow students to graduate in two or four years.” Although it may be too late for her audience to reap this benefit, I’m sure they will take joy in the idea that their children may not have to deal with the same struggles as they did.
While her logos and pathos pose a persuasive argument, her ethos is undeniably weak. From Douglass-Gabriel’s biography, it reads, “She is the recipient of fellowships from the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute and Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism” This helped her credibility to some extents, having being to college herself; she would have probably acquired some debt which she is most likely still paying for, hence her frustration. Her audience being well educated will perceive her as one of them and understand her frustration with the college education system. Unfortunately she’s not a part of the education system which her audience will recognize and question her level of expertise and authority on the subject.
To sum it all, majority of us had a tremendous time in college but I highly doubt we would want to pay over $15,000 more in tuition just to stay longer and have a great college experience. Therefore I think Douglas-Gabriel proposes a great idea that a structured schedule of courses should be implemented to allow students the shortest distance to completion. Without those wasted years, students would be farther along in their entrepreneurial journey. They would have more businesses, more experiences, and more opportunities. She fails to take into account an individual pursuing a career that requires a credential like practicing law or being a medical doctor, this will require more time in college.
From my own experience, I enrolled into college to gain a business associate degree and I ended up suffering the same fate as many other college students. After five long years of toil and hardship, I finally graduated. After college finding a job proved to be difficult, my job prospects were no better than they were when I had only a high-school diploma. I realized it has nothing to do with what you know, its who you know and when I finally got a job I realized a lot of what you will learn won’t be applicable to the real world. So why waste our precious time and money? If Douglas-Gabriel’s really intended to create a change in the college education system, she should have published this article in an academic journal which would include an audience of college students, deans, board members and faculty since they have the authority to implement the change Douglas-Gabriel is hoping for.