Should I Go To College?

Why Consider College?

For most of us, the short answer to “why should I go to college?” is money. College graduates earn more than high school graduates, and the gap has widened over time. But there may be other reasons to consider.

College is an exciting time, full of new experiences, new friends, and new responsibilities. Going to college changes your identity, opens up new career options, and even impacts how the world sees you. The question is, do you have to go? Some people are better off without a college degree, and deciding not to go to college can have a positive outcome.

With college costs and student debt rising every year, more and more people are wondering if they should even head to college. While some people can get jobs without a college degree, it’s not a wise choice for most. Going to college can open doors to better jobs, higher pay, and a more stable career path. But if you’re not interested in college, what are your other options?

Are there alternatives to four-year college?

Going to college is the most popular option for students, but not the only option. Trade schools, technical schools, community colleges, and online education can all lead to a high quality education and career. If you don’t think you can handle a degree program, you can also consider an apprenticeship or an internship. Many students are able to get the education they want and learn valuable skills at the same time. 

Should Everyone Go To College?

If you asked the average high school student whether everyone should go to college, they would likely say yes. But that’s not the question.  College attendance is a personal decision, and one based on your individual needs and desires.  Whether you’re currently a student, just finishing high school, or a parent considering your child’s future, it’s important to approach the matter with an open mind and consider all your options. Some careers required at least a Bachelors degree (4-year degree) while an associate degree may be adequate for other careers. 

Major Benefits of Going to College

  1. Going to college can be a great way to spend your time, since it gives you the chance to learn new skills and to be part of a community of like-minded people. The most significant benefit of going to college, however, is the degree you earn at the end of your time there. A college degree can help you get ahead in your career, and even get a higher-paying job, since many jobs require a bachelor’s degree or higher as a prerequisite.
  2. The ability to improve your physical health.  Research shows that college students are healthier than non-students.  Part of the reason for this is that more students are engaging in physical activity on and off campus.  Another reason is that college students are less likely to engage in risky behavior, such as abusing alcohol or drugs.
  3. It can give you the foundation to get a good job that you enjoy, the ability to think creatively, the freedom to explore your interests and expand your knowledge, and more.  A college education is the key to success in the modern workforce, and it can be the start of a fun, healthy, and fulfilling life.
  4. College is a time when you are free to explore your interests, discover new passions, and figure out who you are.  College students enjoy a close-knit campus community and a sense of independence that is hard to match.  The college experience also help the student discover new cultures, develop new ideas, and get the expsoure to diversity in people and ideas. By the time you’re out of college, you’ll not only have a degree, but you’ll have a network of friends, mentors and career contacts that will serve you for the rest of your life.

Downsides of Going to College

  1. Going to college is one of the most important decisions you’ll make in your life. But how sure are you that it’s the right decision for you? When you weigh the costs and benefits of college, make sure you consider all the pros and cons. Good colleges do not come cheap. Expect to pay a lot of money for living expenses, books, tuition and other fees. If you’re not prepared to spend at least $27,000 a year, you’re not ready to go to a top-tier college. And of course, you might not get any financial help from your parents or other family members. If you’re like most students, you’ll graduate with a lot of student loan debt, which means you will have to start making payments shortly after you leave school. 
  2. Many students and parents believe that attending a four-year college is the best way to ensure a bright future. But it may not be that simple. Why? You may have heard about the high unemployment rate among recent graduates and the massive student loan debt facing many college students. Some students with college degre

Our Recommendation

The decision about college pursuit is a very personal and important one. For some families, the opportunity for a member of their family to attend college provides a pathway out of poverty and affords to opportunity. For many others, the costs of a college education may overwhelm parents and could greatly impact this decision. Some parents believe it is their responsibility to take care of the financial responsibility of a college education because they view it as a financial investment in their children while others feel the burden of student loans may be too heavy a challenge to overcome. Parents and students have different reasons that influence their choice of college or decision not to pursue a college education altogether.

All the different ways you can go to college are out there, so how do you make sense of the choices? Options range from trade schools and work-study programs to two- and four-year colleges. Trade schools usually provide vocational training in fields such as mechanics, cosmetology, automotive technology, and computer programming. These programs are primarily designed for students looking for a specific career rather than a general education. (Another option is to get specialized training through a junior college, which offers two- or four-year programs.) The next step up is a two- or four-year college, which offers an associate, bachelor’s, or master’s degree. The type of college you should attend will depend on your goals. 

If you’re thinking about going to college, then you’ve probably already heard about the skills you’ll need to land that perfect first job. Of course, skills are just the beginning – the most important thing you can bring to the table is a passion for your work. Of course, self-motivation is also key – you’ll stand out of the crowd regardless of your degree or outside activities if you have a strong work ethic and are genuinely passionate about what you do. 

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