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final paper

Professor Barke
Position Paper
April 21, 2005
Reward through Achievement
Coming out of high school one has the skills and knowledge to contribute to one’s community while making a living supporting oneself and possibly a family as well. Going to college is going beyond what is necessary for functioning in society. Primary school and high school are both required for citizens, and in these levels of education the essential skills needed for the job market are taught. Upon graduation one must be capable of reading, writing, and performing basic math while possessing general knowledge of culture and society. These proficiencies enable one to obtain a job. By getting a postsecondary education the foundational knowledge that one previously acquired is enhanced. The person is then better able to perform more specialized jobs that require extensive education. The more specialized a job is the more it impacts society and the greater the gravity of the impact. Therefore, the jobholders would best be comprised of individuals who are best qualified for the position.
While college success in highly influenced by many factors, such as intelligence, background, and personality, the greatest predictor for college success and failure is a person’s motivation. Motivation alone can overcome inhibiting factors like lack of intelligence or inadequate schooling that does not well prepare one for college, but few to no people will succeed without motivation. Georgia Tech is undeniably a difficult school and places rigorous demands on the students that attend. Without proper motivation, the course load and course material, which call for focus and devotion, would overwhelm some students.
Merit based scholarships are earned by a person achieving a predetermined set of criteria. The contenders for the scholarship are ordinarily aware of the categories that their performance is judged and intentionally perform superiorly in hope of recognition and reward for their efforts. Recipients of these scholarships are hard working people who excel beyond the average student. The recipient is distinguished among the other students through quality and achievement. Undoubtedly, the recipient is at least fairly intelligent and possess a sociable enough personality to function in society, but the distinction lies between the work ethic of the candidates.
Motivation is a trait that one does not generally gain at age twenty. While motivation may be temporarily applied to a particular short-term goal, it must be an instilled attribute for one to have endured and overcome the hardships prior to entering college. Alongside common sense, one can review the studies of Serge Herzog. Herzog found that motivation is the best predictor of college success. Herzog compared need based scholarship recipients to merit based scholarship recipients and concluded that need based GPAs average between 2.4-2.8 while merit-based scholarship recipients average between 2.8-3.2. Herzog’s study also provided information stating that students who receive need-based scholarships are half as likely as students on merit scholarship to return the following year. Herzog’s studies provide supporting evidence for the importance of motivation for a student entering college.
The need based scholarship system is not necessarily a bad system for awarding a college education if the goal is to evenly distribute knowledge to all socioeconomic classes and disregard the outcomes of the scholarship. This method would in fact provide opportunity to all groups equally, but at the expense of debasing the value of a college education. Giving out education on principles of who can afford a scholarship and cannot denies the deserving an education while possibly providing an education to the less deserving. Need based gives the notion that all people can attend college and consequently the assumption that all people should attend college. In reality, not all people are cut out for college and not all people should be encouraged to extend their education beyond the high school level. If a person of lesser financial status is a person that is qualified for college, that person will most likely meet the criteria for some sort of scholarship on the basis of merit. Scholarships are awarded to ensure the attendance of a student to a particular school. Logically, the best candidate for college success is the student that is also the best candidate for the scholarship, regardless of socioeconomic status.
When a student enters college, the student and the college agree on a social contract. A social contract is an implied agreement between two parties where both parties have expectations from one another. The student expects that if hard work is applied and one does succeed at the university that the individual will be better educated than upon entrance to the university. Secondary expectations could include having multiple offers for a job or receiving a higher salary, each person has different expectations, but all students have some sort of idea of what they want in compensation for their time, effort, and eventual graduation. On the opposing side is the university. Although the university may want the students to succeed, there must be benefits for both the university and the students. Ideally, students will devote themselves to the university and contribute to research and help build a better esteemed reputation for the university. With this goal in mind for the school, it only makes sense to select the most qualified, therefore motivated individual.
The university is not the only benefactor from a lucrative student. Georgia Tech is a public institute that receives funding from the state. If the public does not receive benefits from schooling students, it would be unfair to channel public finance into a university. Giving a scholarship is making an investment. Every student that enters Georgia Tech is potentially the man or woman that will discover a cure or will invent a device that will make living that much easier and convenient. Regardless, society relies on students to further advance society. The students that are most valuable will one day reach the potential that was once heightened between the walls of Georgia Tech. To be just to society, the investors, education should be allotted to the person most likely to better mankind.

Herzog, Serge. Measuring Determinants of Student Return vs. Transfer vs. Dropout vs.
Stopout: a First-to-Second Year Analysis of New Freshman. University of Nevada,
Reno. 13, April 2005.


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