Making a Case for Going to College
In this day and age, the question of “Why Go to College” continues to come up. With the economy the way it is, this is the first time in a while that even college graduates are struggling to find jobs. According to the Economic Policy Institute, young people between 20-24 years old, which is the age of most recent college graduates, are unemployed at a rate that is considerably higher than in previous years.
Now you might be thinking that this is proof that college is not necessary, and that high school is all you need, think again. Unfortunately, U.S. Department of Labor statistics show that a high school degree does not command the wages that were seen by previous generations. While there are always stories of those who succeeded without college, these results are not the norm.
In today’s tight economy there can be literally thousands of applicants with college degrees and even graduate degrees fighting for entry level positions. This completely devalues the skills of those who do not have at least a college degree.
What are the Benefits of Going to College?
While going to college doesn’t quite have the pay back that it once had, I can think of several reasons to go to college. Listed below are three very simple ones:
- Knowledge Is Power — The biggest asset gained from a college degree is sheer knowledge. College allows young adults to study a variety of topics to determine what areas interest them most. This can allow college students to pick a career path and typically find internships and other valuable resources to get a leg up on those without a college degree.
- Life Skills – While much is learned in the classroom, much is also learned outside of the classroom. College is the first time that many students have lived away from home and away from their parents. This forces college students to have to learn how to pay bills, deal with the challenges faced in the real world and how to effectively manage their time. All of these skills are invaluable in the working world, and some would argue that this may be the single most important aspect of gaining a college degree.
- Job Opportunities – Studies have shown that those with college degrees earn significantly more than those who do not finish college. On average those with a college degree consistently earn close to $30,000 more than their counterparts who did not graduate from college. This translates to almost 1 million dollars over the lifespan of a typical person.
Finding the money to go to college can be difficult, but there are plenty of options in the marketplace for those that show the drive and aptitude to attend college.
What are the Financing Options?
- Student Loans – Student loans are a popular option for those who cannot qualify for scholarships, but still are determined to go to college. There are different types of student loans, some of which are private while others are backed by the federal government. The loans that are backed by the federal government typically carry much lower interest rates than private loans.
- Scholarships – Scholarships are a popular way to receive money from organizations to pay for college. These types of awards and grants can be need based or performance based. There are literally thousands of scholarships available for college students which makes this a very popular way to finance part or even all of your college education.
- Military Aid – Assistance from the military for college is also a popular way to finance education for military personnel. Programs such as the GI Bill can be a very attractive program provided that you have been discharged from the military within the last 10 years.
With technology playing more of a part in everyone’s daily life, it is becoming more difficult to argue why it does not make sense to go to college. Very few people, if any have regrets about going to college. A college degree tends to open up opportunities never afforded to those without a degree. You may be asking yourself, “Why go to college” at age 18, but when you are 30 you will definitely see the value in going and will be glad that you did.
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