When you stop and think of all the potential debt that lay ahead of you for years to come, it’s easy to wonder if college is right for you. Is it an easy decision? Of course not, most of life’s most important decisions are not the easiest ones to make. So where do you begin? You’ve already worked with your guidance counselor in high school to map out your potential future. You’ve spoken with other people in the field that you’re interested in and maybe even did some internships to help decide if what you’ve chosen lines up with how you see your life panning out. But still, the question begs, is college worth it?
Whether or not college is a good fit for you is a question only you can answer. Some experts contend that taking a gap year is an important break that sidesteps going straight to college after high school. They say that, after the constant struggle and strife of meeting all of the requirements and rigorous preparations, it would be more advantageous to personal growth to travel or immerse yourself in another culture to broaden your horizons before going from one high-stress event to another.
Not only is going away to college a major life-changing event for most young adults, but the pressures of college can also seem insurmountable. You are finding yourself in unfamiliar territory and in unique situations; let’s not forget about the stress of having to learn how to balance college career, job, and extracurriculars. Some college freshmen take these challenges in their stride, others may not make the transition so smoothly and find themselves turning to drugs to help them stay awake for extended periods to meet their educational obligations. On the other end of the spectrum, college students are introduced to the world of illicit drugs and binge drinking as a way of passing their time outside of class; letting loose in a reality they’ve not previously been exposed to. If you find yourself in the less than ideal situation that you need the drugs or alcohol to cope with the pressures of college or to have a good time, maybe you should look into the help available through an outpatient drug treatment program.
Whether or not college is right for you is a far cry different from asking yourself if college is worth it. Education and the degree you will earn from a college education will prove to be beneficial to you in the long run. Clearly there are entry-level positions that you can obtain without a degree, but if you ever want to advance in your field, chances are those opportunities won’t be available without a college education. Not only that, those who have a college degree will earn significantly more pay than those who do not. Granted, monetary gain is not the single most important factor when deciding if you should pursue higher education or not; but when you think of the comfort and security having a higher pay will offer to you and your (potential) family, it’s certainly something that should be given some credence.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of December 2019, the rate of unemployment among those with a college degree was 1.9%. In that same time frame, the unemployment rate for those without a degree and only a high school diploma was 5.2%. Those statistics alone surely answer the question if going to college is “worth it” or not. Knowing the pros vastly outweigh the cons of college education, it is safe to say, going to college would absolutely be in your best interest.