Is College Right for You?
Learn a few pros and cons to help make the right decision after graduation.
Is college the right option for you? More and more it seems that society is pushing for everyone to go to college and get a four-year degree. But is that the best option for everyone? Here is a list of some pros and cons of getting a four-year degree and a few alternatives to normal college.
Con – It’s expensive.
Getting a four-year degree, or even a two-year degree, is expensive. Rarely now are people able to work and pay the full cost of tuition. That means you’re racking up debt. One thing to consider is the amount of money you’re not making while in school.
Pro – It’s required…maybe.
There are some jobs where a four-year degree or an advanced degree is required. Teacher, nurse, and engineer are a few fields where having a degree is absolutely required. It is often part of the requirement for obtaining your license in these professions. If your goal is to work in one of these fields, or a similar one, you’re going to need your degree.
Con – The “experience” isn’t worth the cost.
A lot of people talk about the college experience. The thing is, all of life is an experience. Unless you plan to go into a career where a degree will greatly help you advance, any other experience you have in life is just as valuable as the college experience.
Pro – Networking.
Depending on your chosen field of study, your professors will have real-world experience in associated career fields. They can put you in contact with people to talk about internships and jobs upon graduation. Professors are also great sources for letters of recommendation—they’ve seen your work ethic, they know where you excel.
Con – You won’t find yourself.
Too many people go into college expecting to figure out what they want to do for the rest of their life and who they want to be. The truth is, college won’t help you find out why you’re in college. There are a lot of choices in college and if you don’t have a general idea of where you want to go, those choices can get overwhelming, not to mention they’re expensive. Now is the time to figure out at least a basic plan.
Pro – You’ll make more money.
On average, a person with a college degree earns $1 million more in their lifetime than someone without a degree. That is not an amount of money to shake your head at. That is a solid retirement fund. A bigger yard, newer cars and more family vacations. If you can justify the cost of getting an education, the numbers are in your favor in the end.
A four-year academic degree isn’t for everyone. A trade school can be a great alternative to help launch a high-paying career with less financial burden and a quicker timeline to career-level earning. Many trades still have apprenticeship programs where you get paid while you learn the skills of that trade.
You can always go.
Going to college when you’re older is always an option. You’ll have had the chance to save up more money. If you chose to join the military after high school, you’ll have G.I. Bill benefits. If you went into the trades, you’ll have a good paying summer job and the ability to pick up handyman work.
The final facts.
The fact is, college isn’t for everyone. There is over $1.5 trillion in student loan debt in the U.S—an average of $28,446 per graduate. Unless you know what you want out of college, there is no need to add to the debt crisis facing young Americans. You don’t have to do something because everyone else is. Think about what you want, what you enjoy, and what will make you happy.
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