For some students, applying to college after high school is a natural next step. But many others wonder, “Is college worth it?” It’s a valid question. The cost of college keeps increasing every year making it out of reach for the average American family. The growing student loan debt is a major concern across the country. Then there’s the economic downturn and the rising unemployment rate. With all of these factors, it comes as no surprise that more and more students are asking “Is college worth it?”.
No doubt completing college is neither cheap nor easy. Most students take thousands of dollars in student loans to cover the cost. They then spend the next ten or more years paying off that debt. However, despite these apparent downsides, there’s no doubt that going to college is absolutely worth it. The education and degree help set you on a career path with the knowledge and connections you need to succeed.
Here are 7 compelling reasons why going to college is important:
Is College Worth It? 7 Good Reasons:
1. A College Degree Opens The Door To More Job Opportunities
Many of the better job opportunities out there require you to have a college degree to be hired. This is because employers recognize that students who have earned a college degree bring additional value to their organization. They have several skills that make them more valuable as employers.
A college degree becomes even more important for certain careers where it is mandatory for meeting professional licensure requirements. For example, you would need some type of certification or license to practice as a nurse, attorney, physical therapist, teacher, social worker, or personal finance agent. And having a degree is a prerequisite to obtaining the necessary certification. Without a college degree, you may not be able to pursue your dream career, especially if it has rigid licensure requirements.
And although many college students hear it’s tough finding a job, in November of 2018, the unemployment rate for college graduates hit a historic low (2.2%).
2. A College Degree Increases Your Earning Potential
Statistics show that college graduates do make more money than those who did not study beyond high school. Yes, you’ll hear of a few personalities who are earning millions even though they didn’t graduate. But that’s just a handful of individuals – it’s not the norm. In general, there’s no arguing that a college degree does have a considerably higher monetary value. Across the board, graduates earn about 71% to 136% higher salaries as compared to those who only graduated from high school.
The average income for a person with a high school diploma was just over $35,500 in 2016. For bachelor’s degrees, graduates had average incomes of just over $65,000. And for even higher degrees, the average was about $92,500.
The higher earning potential makes it totally worth it to go to college and earn a degree. The higher income will help you pay off your loans faster. Once you’ve paid off the debt, your overall higher wages will open up even more opportunities for you.
3. Jobs Requiring College Degrees Often Offer Additional Perks
The higher income that comes with a college degree is just one of many perks you’ll enjoy. In addition to a better salary, college graduates often also enjoy other benefits that help them save what they earn. These perks may vary from one company to another but often include things like private medical insurance, entertainment allowance, or gym memberships. The monetary value of just these three benefits adds up to thousands of dollars a year.
A flexible work schedule along with the ability to work remotely is often on the table for graduate employees. These two perks can make a world of a difference as it allows you to fulfill your professional and personal commitments without compromising on either one.
Last but not least is the higher job satisfaction that comes with knowing that you have a choice. You can take up a job of your liking and can often work on your own terms. You’re not stuck doing something you hate only because of the limited choices available. Yes, having a college degree can be both empowering and liberating.
4. You Develop Crucial Soft Skills In College
College is much more than just a degree. Your college education doesn’t end in the classroom. In addition to the degree itself, you also learn lifelong skills that come with college living. These skills will hold you in good stead when you make the transition from student to independent professional.
In college, you’ll get plenty of opportunities to hone your interpersonal skills as well as other crucial transferable soft skills. This includes your organization, problem-solving, communication, and time-management skills. You’ll also learn to work on assignments both, as part of a team as well as independently.
In addition, you’ll become more adept at managing your money, debating, and having meaningful discussions on important global issues.
You may not recognize it while you’re in college but developing these skills help you to be better equipped to succeed in the workplace.
5. A College Degree Helps You Maintain A Competitive Edge
Technology is advancing at an unprecedented rate. You have to constantly update yourself to keep up with the latest technological advances. For that, you must be willing to learn and adapt. You cannot afford to ‘just be’ in this highly competitive environment. It’s more important than ever to take the initiative and be constantly learning and upskilling. Completing college lays the foundation for this type of development and growth.
6. You Get Crucial Career Support And Guidance
Most colleges go above and beyond to support their students’ careers after graduation. They employ experienced career counselors who helps students discover different career paths. If you’ve ever attended a career counseling session, you know how enlightening it can be. You come away hearing of careers that you didn’t even know existed.
In addition, colleges also offer students a host of other ways to explore different career paths. This is done through internships, guidance programs, and job placements. Some even offer job shadowing opportunities for certain majors.
7. You’ll Expand Your Social And Professional Network
The interactions and discussions that happen on campus are priceless. Many professionals readily admit that the skills they learned outside the classroom were as valuable as what they learned in the classroom. In college, you’ll get to meet and interact with students and faculty from different fields. These interactions can open your mind to other possibilities.
After you graduate, many of your classmates are likely to be working in the same field as you. That means you’ll already have a network of professionals that you can reach out to.
This networking doesn’t just help on the professional front. While in college you’ll also meet students from diverse backgrounds and with different life experiences. You’ll realize that your way isn’t necessarily always the right way. You’ll gain a better understanding of how and why students from other backgrounds may think differently from you. It helps you become a more insightful, perceptive, and understanding person. And this skill is invaluable in any setting.
So, Is College Really Worth It?
There’s no doubt about it – the answer is always a resounding yes. The benefits of going to college far outweigh the high cost of tuition. Sure, you’ll graduate with a significant amount of student loan debt. But you’ll have a better chance of finding employment faster. And not just any job either. With a college degree, you’ve had a better chance of earning a higher starting salary. That means you’ll be able to pay off those student loans faster. In addition, you would have developed crucial life skills that will stand you in good stead in your personal and professional life.
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