College may seem like just another level of learning after clearing high school, but it isn’t. It is a place that opens doors for you in ways that high school can never do. College can shape you and change you into someone you never thought you could be.
Indeed, all too many hear a sorry message amidst this whole process; “The goal of high school is to get into the college that rejects the most people; the goal of college is to gain access to employers or graduate programs that turn away the greatest number of qualified candidates; the goal of life is to have more of the stuff that other people are unable to acquire.” No one quite puts it this way, but that is what young people are often being fed; a distressing message indeed.
The truth is, where you go does not determine who you become. The United States is home to plenty of great schools. What’s of essence is not how these schools are ranked but how much use you can make of their resources.
Students forge meaningful career paths at schools of various sizes in every corner of the country. They discover creative and caring tutors who combine deep teaching with an ability to encourage the young generation to understand themselves and their world.
When all’s said and done, whatever institution you may choose to attend should be a decision that you arrive at after careful thinking. Getting a college degree will consume at least four years of your time not to mention thousands of dollars. Before submitting those application papers, ask yourself if it’s worth it and what you stand to gain from going to college.
Major benefits of attending college
- Financial and career benefits
Somebody with a bachelor’s degree earns almost $1 million more on average, over the course of their lifetime than a person with just an associate degree or a high school diploma does. Of course, money should not be the top priority in anyone’s life, but wouldn’t you sleep better knowing that yours is a world with opportunities, less stress, and the means to support your family?
What’s more, college-educated people have lower unemployment and poverty rates. Many entry-level jobs require a college degree to qualify. In fact, by 2020, about 35% of jobs will be difficult to secure without a bachelor’s degree at the least.
Next to the above financial benefits, attending college offers you professional advantages such as the connections that you make in college that can help you secure a good job after graduation. Experts state that 70% to 80% of jobs are not advertised publicly. The chances of you landing employment often simply depend on knowing the right people. And who else better to refer you, offer you a job, or strike a business deal with you other than your college friends?
The point is, college is a place for you to surround yourself with many motivated and talented individuals who, in the coming years, will want to work and partner with those they recognize and trust. This could be you.
- A place to explore your interests
You may have taken on only a handful of selective classes in high school. This isn’t the case in college. Here, you’ve got hundreds of classes and majors to choose from. Whether psychology, microbiology, anthropology, osteology, or sociology, you can take classes in any subject you wish to learn more about. Who knows what academic passions you may spark while there.
College also gives you a chance to engage in tons of extracurricular activities you might not otherwise have discovered such as; writing for the campus newspaper, being a DJ, dancing, etc.
- A place to have fun and forge friendships
Do not discount the essence of fun in education. Some of your most memorable moments and fun times will come from your college years. Colleges will sponsor parties, bring entertainers, political figures, and world-renowned academics all to give speeches and facilitate fun and social interaction.
At large, the college experience constitutes having the opportunity to interact with and learn from people from diverse backgrounds. Some of these interactions transform into lifelong friendships.
- A chance for self-improvement
Growing up in a place other than home for the first time can be scary, but it is exactly what is needed to make you self-sufficient. From domestic skills to budgeting to motivating yourself without parental encouragement, going to college gives you a freedom that completely changes your routine and mindset.
Moreover, a CDC report has termed people that attend college to be healthier than those who don’t.
Possible drawbacks of attending college
- Risk of high college fees and potential debt
The rising college costs continue to make college more and more expensive and it is easy to find yourself burdened with enormous student loan debt as many other college graduates have. According to the College Board, an in-state public college costs an average of $9,970 while a private institution of higher learning averages $34, 740. Students that don’t receive financial aid go on to apply for unsubsidized student loans to fund their college education. If not well-thought, these loans can utterly impact your life after graduation.
- College doesn’t have to make you smarter
Given the cost of going to college, you’d think that higher learning would have a positive impact on the intelligence of all students. This might not be the case. According to a study carried out in 2011, 45% of 2,322 college students that studied between 2005-2009 showed no significant progress in their reasoning, critical thinking, or writing skills within their first two years in college. 36% showed no substantive gains after four years.
Before we wrap up, it is important that you know of the myths that lurk around the corners of discussions about college. This hearsay is about as real as mermaids, unicorns, and other fantastical creatures.
- Most students graduate in 4 years
- Majors set your future
- College is a rite of passage
- Cost is directly proportional to value
- American schools are the best
- Teachers are more intelligent than students
- Private colleges offer more of a challenge than public
- All great colleges are prominent
There’s no denying the many professional, financial, and personal benefits that college offers. There’s also no hiding the fact that while some people will feel right at home in a college class, others don’t need college to reach their personal/ professional goals. They’ll do just fine. If you are thinking whether or not to attend college, be sure to make the decision that is going to benefit you the most at this time and in the future. Best of luck!