Wake up, go to school, do homework, repeat. Sound familiar? For some students, this routine starts in preschool and continues on all the way into college. Pressure from parents and peers alike can make the progression from high school to college seem natural and unquestionable – it’s just what you do. But why?
Every year, millions of students around the world enroll in higher education programs, yet many have no clear idea why they are doing so. Meanwhile, a growing number of critics in the media single out rising tuition costs and high-profile dropouts, leaving some students confused about the value of a college education. We’re here to clear the air. At Edupath, we support higher education and think that students should know just how valuable a college education can be. Here are 5 ways that college can benefit you personally.
1) MONEY. Let’s face it, at the end of the day, everyone needs an income. And guess what? Despite what you may have heard about dropout entrepreneurs, college graduates earn more… a lot more. On average, college graduates earn about twice as much as high school graduates. While college loans are nothing to scoff at, your increased income will totally be worth it, as this graph suggests.
2) JOBS. Much like money, everyone needs a job. And guess what? College graduates are twice as likely to be employed as high school graduates, as our lovely graph demonstrates above. Plus, that doesn’t even count job satisfaction! Compared to high schoolers, college graduates are twice as likely to be satisfied with their education, jobs, and finances.
3) KNOWLEDGE. Whether you attend a liberal arts college, a research institution, or a technical school, you will be learning all sorts of new things. Interested in art history or computer science? Take a class on it! If you like a subject enough, you can always major (or minor!) in it. As a bonus, you can use your portfolio of classwork when applying for jobs or graduate school.
4) SKILLS. Aside from memorizing textbooks, you’ll also be building valuable professional skills, like working in teams, analyzing information, and managing your time. What’s more, you’re also developing the ability to take care of yourself as an adult. For many students, college might be the first time you’re in charge of your own laundry, meals, or finances. College is a great incubator for these types of life skills; think about it, where else will you have access to a large staff of people who are basically paid to support and guide you as you figure things out? Unlike the real world, college is full of safety nets.
5) FRIENDS. The friends you make in college are – for many people – friends you’ll share for life. Bonding with your peers through shared experiences (good or bad!) helps create lasting friendships and social groups. Your college cohort may also be an important part of your future professional network, and for some hopeful romantics, the chance to meet Mr. or Ms. Right.
Let’s review: Money, Jobs, Knowledge, Skills, and Friends…and that’s just the tip of the iceberg (we haven’t even mentioned extracurricular activities). While it’s true that many college-related costs have gone up, the value of a college education is still crystal clear. Plus, services like Edupath’s very own (free!) Total College app make it cheaper than ever to get there.
But don’t take our word for it, ask the graduates themselves. When asked whether they thought their experience was worth it, college graduates overwhelmingly say: yes. So don’t go to college because your parents expect you to, or because other people are doing it; go to college because – in the end – you’ll be investing in yourself.