Are four years of college necessary?

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“Are four years of college necessary?” New Era, Dec. 1971, 41

“Are four years of college necessary?”

Answer/William R. Siddoway

The answer is, it depends.

It depends on you, your individual interests, ambitions, talents, strengths, and weaknesses.

Only if your personal objectives are such that four years of college will contribute directly towards the achievement of your goals should you plan to spend four years pursuing a college degree.

Many people are of the mistaken opinion that a four-year college degree automatically guarantees success. Consequently, many students feel unnecessary pressure to enroll in a college, with a bachelors degree as the target. Often a two-year program (associate degree) or a technical program of one or two years length would be much more appropriate for the individual.

Keep in mind, however, if you are interested in professions such as engineering, teaching, law, social work, medicine, and other similar fields, you will need at least four years of college—often quite a bit more.

Each Latter-day Saint youth should take seriously the counsel of the First Presidency when they said, “The Church has long encouraged its members, and especially its youth, either to obtain a college education or to become well trained in some vocation. The positions that do not require education or training are decreasing from year to year. We, therefore, strongly urge all young people to engage and continue in formal study of some kind beyond high school. Of equal importance is the selection of an educational program that takes into account each individual’s interests, talents and goals.”

Regardless of the nature of the formal educational program that you pursue after secondary school, whether it be two or four or more years, the important thing is that you dedicate yourself to learning as much as possible. Learning is exciting and a lifelong experience. Remember that the glory of God is intelligence.

Elder Hugh B. Brown of the Council of the Twelve sums it up this way: “Education has always been recognized by the Church as the number one obligation of each generation to its successor and of each individual to himself. Learn and continue to learn everything possible about ourselves, our fellowmen, our universe, and our God—who is our Father.”