Why Go To College?
Why go to college? Let me get right to it, does it really make sense to invest in college in this day and age? Even these days, college graduates are having trouble finding jobs, because of our struggling economy.
Even though students graduating from college in 2014 have had it better than the previous four graduating classes (2010-2013) they are still struggling. To make matters worse, graduates who are currently entering the job market will be earning less over the next 10-15 years according to Heidi Shierholz of The Economic Policy Institute.
Today young people between 20 and 24 years of age are finding themselves unemployed or under-employed at a rate that is far higher than in previous years. The Economic Policy Institute states that this includes a much higher percentage of college graduates:
“The weak labor market has been, and continues to be, very tough on young workers: At 14.5 percent, the March 2014 unemployment rate of workers under age 25 was slightly over twice as high as the overall unemployment rate, 6.7 percent. Though the labor market is headed in the right direction, it is improving very slowly, and the job prospects for young high school and college graduates remain dim.”
For the first time in years high school graduates are asking the question: Why go to college, if it will not improve my chances of getting a good job or now-a-days, a job at all?
The Million Dollar Myth!
There was a time, according to the experts that those who graduated from college earned upwards of a million dollars more over their lifetime than their non-college educated counter-parts. That may have been the case in previous years, but today most experts would argue that, that ship has sailed already.
Also, what the myth rarely takes into consideration is the money you could be earning working a job if you weren’t away partying at school and over paying for a college education. Remember, Just Because They Say It’s So, Doesn’t Make It So! The million dollars is based upon outdated information and was created during a time when college graduates were not as common, as a result they commanded more in the job market.
Is College Really Worth The Time and Money?
There are many in the United States that feel that a college education is an overrated product? There was a time when college was a tool to a better life, it was very affordable and it made sense to go. But as the cost of college has risen dramatically, I am no longer convinced that it is the way to go.
Lately, all college is turning out to be is a quick way to accumulate a lot of debt. Debt you don’t need as you struggle to live life. Now-a-days, with the economy in such bad shape, college does not guarantee that you will be any better off in the job market than someone who did not go.
Of the approximately 30 percent of recent high school graduates that did not attend college, almost 70 percent of them have been able to find a job without a college degree. Many of them are well on their way to earning an income and the experience needed to make even more money in the future.
By comparison, less than 42% of the 70 percent that chose to go to college, have graduated and have a job. However, many are considered under-employed and making far less than they had expected to be earning after graduation. In addition, many of these jobs are considered low-skilled service level jobs.
The rest of the 70% mentioned above, either don’t graduate or quit college all together. Usually these students just wind up with a lot of wasted time and financial debt which they still have to pay back.
Alternatives to College
Let’s face it, college is not for everyone. There are millions of people living quite well that never went to college. Many experts in the college counseling field believe that while education is critical, going to college is not. There are many careers that don’t necessarily require four years of school. There are jobs in healthcare and technology, that require skills and certifications, but do not require a college degree.
In fact many experts like Dr. Marty Nemko, a career coach and one of the nation’s experts on career and education issues in the United States, suggest that if you are one of those 200,000 plus students that graduate from high school each year and are ranked in the bottom 40 percent of your class, you should think twice about going to college.
“Statistics show that nearly 70 percent of them will never finish college, even if they were given eight years to do so.” ~ Dr. Marty Nemko
My Personal Thoughts
At the end of the day, a college education will not guarantee that you will get a job. Many college graduates are finding this out the hard way. What it will always take to get a job, are skills and the ability to add value for a prospective employer. Not all college degrees will deliver the skills that are needed. In the end, you may be better served by going to:
- The military and obtaining a marketable skill
- A much cheaper community college
- A trade school or enrolling in an apprenticeship
Should people still go to college? I would still have to say yes to this question. The advantages of going to college, far outweigh the disadvantages. But, what you should definitely not do, is go broke in the process, It’s not worth destroying your financial future.
About the Author
Johnny Rogers is a graduate of North Park College and Theological Seminary (now North Park University). He holds a BA in Business Administration and has several technology certifications. He is also, the owner of CollegeTidbits.com, a college and planning website that he and his wife created back in 2007.
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