Why higher education matters

If I could speak one on one with every graduating high school senior in Idaho, I would encourage them to enroll at a public higher education institution. What are the benefits of matriculating in post-secondary education?

Higher education learning correlates with better and higher paying employment. You will be working for a very long time, why not be in a great situation with higher pay?

Your coursework in higher education will consistently lead you to ask the most important of all the questions: why? Asking the essential “why” importantly leads to “how do you know that? Which then leads us to facilitate research to determine if there are supporting sources.

Primary source research leads to producing meaningful data and information, which in turn leads to better analytical thinking, which then leads to, “If so, then what?” types of salient follow up questions and ultimately better personal and professional decision making.

Higher education assists in helping people develop higher order thinking skills, thus, enabling the key ability of pondering complex and often contradictory ideas at the same time. Through persistent research, study, and hard work, we push back against the dark mass of ignorance and accrue important knowledge which will improve every aspect our lives.

Graduating with a higher education degree indicates to future employers you were able to think critically, meet demanding schedules and deadlines, juggle multiple responsibilities effectively and complete important tasks in a satisfactory manner.

Higher education assists with developing more effective verbal and writing skills. My university professors would skewer my initial offerings in order to encourage me to write with more clarity and precision. Yours will too, and it will be of great benefit to you as you will be able to showcase your work via high level communication skills.

Undergraduate and graduate programs offer numerous opportunities to connect with professors, industry professionals, and fellow students, providing you with a valuable lifetime network of contacts that can help you throughout your career.

Higher education helps us become more informed and better citizens as we learn to part the ever threatening clouds of rampant misinformation and propaganda and helps us unmask the hubristic speeches of demagogues.

Higher education helps extend and illuminate your path of lifelong learning. Currently, my personal library has over 2,000 volumes with timeless works of History, Philosophy, English and World literature, Education, Theology, Government, Linguistics, Biography, Astronomy, Biology, and other works of general interest.

Thus, pursuing a higher education degree can be a fulfilling, lifelong enriching experience that allows you to deepen your knowledge and expertise in a field or areas that you are passionate about.

Higher education should never be perceived as exclusionary and only for the elite. I (and many others) came from very humble fiscal conditions, and yet, I have been able to attain five public university degrees, for which I am very grateful. Regardless of your background, this door of educational opportunity is open to you as well.

For all the reasons stated above, higher education is truly beneficial. I would encourage all graduating students to seriously consider matriculating in Idaho higher public education institutions.


Geoff Thomas

Geoff Thomas

Geoff Thomas is the former superintendent of the Madison School District and was a member of the governor's Task Force for Improving Education. He now serves as an assistant professor at Idaho State University.

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