America’s colleges and universities have long been regarded as the engine of opportunities, and the numbers don’t lie. Close to 50 percent of American adults have a college education.
For a long time, going to college was a no-brainer. It was every parent’s dream to send their kids to college so that they can get an education and with it, increase their chances of being prosperous in life.
That notion is changing, though. Today, most Americans don’t believe a college education is worth the price. With student debt hitting record highs, it’s easy to see why an increasing number of people are questioning the value of higher education.
Here’s the thing, though. We don’t want to sound like a broken record, but having a college degree is important. This article unpacks some of the biggest reasons why you shouldn’t think twice about attending college.
1. Unlock Career and Employment Opportunities
By far, the biggest benefit of going to college is to get professional training that will enable you to get pursue certain careers.
There are jobs or careers, such as medicine, law, nursing, and engineering, that require professional qualifications. For example, if you want to become a doctor, you must successfully complete medical school and get licensed. Without the requisite qualifications, it’s impossible to join this field as a worker.
Of course, there are several occupations where college training isn’t a requirement. For instance, you can become a casual construction worker without any college education. As long as you’ve got physical strength and dexterity skills, you can find a job.
But is your goal to find just about any job or pursue a high-paying profession? Even though nonskilled jobs are just as important as skilled jobs, the latter pay significantly more money.
A college degree also widens your career choices. It puts you in a better position to pursue a career that you’re passionate about.
For instance, when you have a bachelor’s degree, you can proceed to law school and become a lawyer. You could also go to medical school. It all depends on your preferences.
2. College Is a Once-in-a-Lifetime Experience
College life is well-storied, but unless you experience it first-hand, you’ll never quite understand how amazing and life-changing it is.
Yes, there’s the booze, weekend parties, group road trips and everything else that makes college a fun experience, but there’s a lot more that’s not often spoken about. Going to college gives you the opportunity to interact with people from diverse backgrounds.
Besides making friends with people from different races and cultures, you’ll develop strong interpersonal and social skills. Ask anyone who went to college where they met their best friends and they’ll likely say college. There’s also a good chance you’ll meet your spouse in college!
If you’re the kind of person who struggles with time management, you can bank on college to help you get better at it. There are tens of hundreds of classes to attend throughout the course of a semester, and most professors don’t entertain late attendance. So by the time you’re done with your degree program, staying on top of schedules won’t be an issue for you anymore.
It’s difficult to fully describe how college transforms one’s personal and emotional development. Just know that you’ll graduate with two things: a degree and a collection of memories that will stay with you for the rest of your life.
3. College Can Be Affordable
The average college graduate owes about $37,000 in student loans. Whichever way you slice it, you’ll reach one conclusion: college education is expensive.
There’s no doubt that the high cost of college is the primary reason so many people think college isn’t worth it – and they have a strong case. Four years of college will leave you with a debt so huge that it will take you about 20 years to pay it off. Being in debt for a long time can lower your quality of life, increase your risk for depression, and make financial freedom an unattainable dream.
However, what if we told you it’s possible to pay for your college education without getting into big debt? You just need to know how to work your way around college financial aid.
Here are some options to look into:
To start with, try securing a scholarship. It can be difficult to get one because opportunities are limited, but it doesn’t hurt to try.
To increase your chances, start applying for scholarships early, with the senior year of high school being the best possible time. If you’re planning to pursue a master’s degree, start hunting for scholarships while you’re still in undergraduate school.
An academic grant is another option you can pursue. Government and non-governmental organizations offer grants to students from difficult financial backgrounds. Grants are offered on individual merit, which means you must demonstrate that you’re from a needy background.
Tuition Reimbursement Program
There are also companies that offer college tuition support to their employees. If you’re employed and your employer offers this program, make the most of it. If you’re currently looking for a job, it helps to consider job offers from companies that offer tuition assistance.
4. Increase Your Life Expectancy
Life expectancy in the U.S. is about 80 years. The average person can expect to live this long, but there are several factors that affect your life expectancy. Level of education is one of them.
It’s understandable if you’re wondering how a college education will make one live longer. If anything, the high level of student debt alone can be enough to push one into an early grave.
Now, here’s what research shows. A college-educated 25-year-old can live 10 more years than a high school dropout. In general, it’s been established that people with higher education live longer than those with just a high school education.
Why is that the case?
The explanation is that college education improves one’s cognitive abilities. Graduates are in a better position to make better decisions regarding their health and wellness. Plus, since educated people have more access to employment opportunities, they can afford good healthcare services.
Of course, everyone has their date with death, and death can strike at any time regardless of your level of education. However, if there’s something you can do to increase your chances of living a longer, healthier life, you should take it. Getting a college education is one of those things.
5. Inspire the People Around You
Going to college is hardly an achievement in a developed nation like America. The expectation is everyone will get a college education.
However, college isn’t just about undergraduate programs. You can go all the way to grad school and pursue advanced degrees. Earning a master’s degree is a major achievement, but getting a Ph.D. is a whole new level of academic success.
You’ll become a source of inspiration to your family, especially the younger generations, and to other people around you. In fact, you can gain nationwide recognition and inspire a whole nation. Isn’t that amazing?
6. Bragging Rights
Well, if none of the reasons above don’t encourage you to go to college, why not do it for the bragging rights?
You’ve heard people ask others where they went to college. Perhaps you’ve been asked this dreaded question a few times. Unless you went to a renowned college (read Ivy League), this isn’t a question anyone looks forward to answering.
Here’s the deal: if you have the opportunity to go to an Ivy League college, don’t pass it app. You’ll earn bragging rights for a lifetime. Saying “I went to Harvard or Yale or Princeton” never gets old!
Going to College Pays
There are a few plausible reasons against going to college. The ever-increasing cost of higher education, ballooning student debt, and, let’s face it, some of the world’s richest people didn’t go to college.
Even with that, getting a college education is the most important gift you can give yourself. The cost is high, but the return on your investment is worth it. From access to better job opportunities to increased life expectancy, you have every reason to go to college.
The education section of our blog has more college and career advice. Feel free to explore!