Is College Worth It? 6 Reasons Why You Should Consider College
College is expensive. Will your salary after graduation be worth the investment ? Do you need a college degree to be successful? Is college even important these days? These are questions you must answer in order to move to the next milestone and arguably the rest of your life. While college isn’t a prerequisite to all careers, a degree from a respected college will open more doors than you can even imagine. Let’s take a look at six reasons why a college education is worth it.
Ready to start your journey to college? Crimson Education is the world’s leading College Admissions Consulting company helping student gain admissions into top universities in the US & UK. Speak to our expert advisors to learn more about our Admissions Support Program !
6 Reasons Why College is Worth it
There are many reasons you should go to college, but some are more compelling than others. (Feeling like you should go or pressure from family and friends are not good reasons.) Here are the top reasons why you should consider college.
1. Higher Salary and Lower Unemployment Rate
Research has found that college graduates typically land a secure job and earn a higher salary than high school graduates. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics , “workers with a bachelor’s degree had median weekly earnings of 800,305 in 2020, compared with $781 for workers with a high school diploma.”
Additionally, they also report that in May 2021, people 25 and older with at least a bachelor’s degree only had a 3.2% unemployment rate. The rate for high school graduates with no college degree was 6.8%. On average, the unemployment rate for those with a bachelor’s degree is half of the unemployment rate for those with a high school diploma.
2. Safe Place to Explore Career Options
Maybe you know you want to go to college but aren’t sure what career to pursue. College offers a safe environment to explore your interests, test out multiple career paths, and take classes just for fun! Some colleges even encourage a diverse course load because they know a variety of classes will help you become a more well-rounded individual.
As a college student, you can join clubs and organizations related to your interests and those that pique your curiosity. You may even start college with one major and graduate with a completely different one. That’s ok! College gives you the freedom to discover your path even if you have to try a few others first.
3. Valuable Networking Connections
They say it’s all about who you know. This statement is never more true than in the collegiate environment. Brilliant students and teachers, people from diverse backgrounds, and those with connections to every possible job industry all congregate on college campuses. If you attend a school that specializes in your particular field, you’re going to find even more opportunities to connect with people in your potential career field.
Creating a professional network could start with a simple conversation with a professor or student. It could be all it takes to land the job of your dreams. But, you can increase your chances of connecting with the “right” person by joining clubs that align with your career interests, volunteering, joining a fraternity or sorority, or even playing on a sports team. Many top universities offer internships that not only look good on your resume but connect you with resources, experts in your field, and possibly that person who will offer you your dream job.
4. Increased Knowledge and Expanded Worldview
College is a massive pool of knowledge just waiting for eager students to dive in. Professors design courses to promote critical thinking and exploration. You’ll dig deep into subjects that make you question your beliefs and help you see how you, and those around you, can learn, grow, and contribute to the world. You’ll read challenging books that you may disagree with, engage with people who have differing beliefs, and try new experiences that you’d never consider outside of the college environment.
5. Personal Growth
There’s a good chance college is your first time away from home. You’re making your own decisions, studying for your future career, finding new friends, learning how to live on a budget, and managing your time. College gives you a challenging but safe environment to practice these responsibilities and grow as a person.
Bachelor’s degree: Return on investment
A bachelor’s degree is much more than a piece of paper—or a line on your resume. It’s a major investment in your education and personal growth, which may lead to many benefits. Let’s take a look at some of them.
More career opportunities
A bachelor’s degree has become a minimum education requirement for many jobs, especially for knowledge workers—or those whose job requires more thinking than manual labor or service labor . As of 2020, 35 percent of jobs require a bachelor’s degree . If you want to get a sense of the education requirements by job title, this spreadsheet from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) can help provide an overview.
Even if an entry-level job does not require a bachelor’s degree, more advanced roles at the associate or senior level will likely want at least an undergraduate degree. For example, you’ll typically need a bachelor’s degree to be a sales manager, financial manager, or marketing manager, according to the BLS. The median pay for each of those jobs is over $100,000, whereas a marketing assistant makes $43,817 , a sales assistant makes $40,104 , and a financial assistant $41,915 , according to Glassdoor.
Higher salary potential
Speaking of higher salaries, data from the BLS shows that graduates with a bachelor’s degree earn a median annual US salary of $67,860. That’s significantly more than associate degree holders ($48,776) and high school diploma holders ($40,612) .
Bachelor’s degree holders also tend to earn notably more over the course of their lifetime. In a 2016 study published in the journal Demography, men with a bachelor’s degree had more gross earnings compared to high school graduates: 5000.43 million compared to 800.53 million. While women with a bachelor’s degree made less than men, they still grossed much more than high school graduates: 800.43 million to $800,000.
Lower unemployment rate
In general, bachelor’s degree holders tend to experience lower unemployment rates (5.5 percent) than those with a high school diploma (9 percent) or associate degree (7.1 percent). In the recovery from the pandemic, college grads faced less unemployment than high school graduates, according to BLS. As of March 2021, 3.7 percent of college grads were unemployed compared to 6.7 percent of high school graduates .
Thirty-two percent of those living in the US hold a bachelor’s degree—up from 27.5 percent in 2009 . Each year, nearly 2 million college students in the US graduate with their bachelor’s degree . Having a bachelor’s degree can help you stay competitive with the growing number of job applicants who also hold that credential.
You may have heard about degree inflation—or the fact that many jobs that don’t require skills you’d likely learn from earning a degree still require a bachelor’s degree in order to qualify for employment—taking place in the US. It’s an important conversation because not all jobs need to make an undergraduate degree a requirement. Even so, a bachelor’s degree is still an important line on your resume to qualify for jobs in a number of lucrative fields, especially at more advanced levels, and remain competitive as a job candidate.
Benefits of pursuing higher education
You should also look at your overall experience in a bachelor’s degree program as a benefit. The general education courses you take are meant to broaden your overall knowledge, and sharpen your ability to communicate, think critically, work autonomously and collaboratively, and solve problems. The major courses you take are meant to give you a foundational subject knowledge that you can apply to a career path.
In addition to what you learn, earning a four-year degree takes tenacity and dedication. It can be a sign to employers that you have what it takes to do hard work. Plus, many colleges and universities offer career resources, such as resume help, interview prep, and placement advice. Taking advantage of these tools can be an added bonus.
Tuition has risen quicker than income, making college unaffordable for many.
A Mar. 2017 study found that 14% of community college students were homeless and 51% had housing insecurity issues (inability to pay rent or utilities, for example), while 33% experienced food insecurity (lack of access to or ability to pay for “nutritionally adequate and safe foods”), though 58% of the students were employed and 42% received federal Pell Grants.  From the 1986-1987 school year to the 2016-2017 school year, the average cost of one year of college (including room and board) increased for 4-year private schools (109.6%) and 4-year public schools (125.7%), while median family income only increased 10.0% between 1986 and 2015.   From the 1976-1977 school year to the 2016-2017 school year, annual tuition rates rose for community colleges (173.1%), 4-year public colleges (271.2%), and private 4-year colleges (213.5%). 
College stress can lead to health problems and other negative consequences.
40.2% of college students reported feeling “frequently overwhelmed” in a 2012 survey about stress levels.  According to the University of Florida’s Counseling & Wellness Center, “The competition for grades, the need to perform, relationships, fear of AIDS, career choice, and many other aspects of the college environment cause stress.”  According to the Director of Student Health Services at Biola University, college stress can lead to “headaches, weight gain, chronic digestive disorders, fatigue, increases [in] blood pressure, insomnia, teeth grinding in sleep, general irritability, reoccurring feeling of hopelessness, depression and anxiety and low self-esteem.”