Nowadays, going to college is the expected route for high school students to take after graduation. Yet as federal programs for student grants are being cut and costs of tuition are rising, many indebted students may be asking themselves, “Is going to college going to be worth possibly being in debt?” or “My parents didn’t go to college and they’re making a great living. Why do I need to go?”
These questions are worth asking, and assessing your reasons for going to college is very important considering how much of an investment of time and money it will be for you. The simple truth, however, is that a college degree is incredibly valuable for your future, both economically and personally. This Reuters article discusses the economic side of things, estimating that a college degree nets you about a million dollars more over the course of a lifetime than a high school diploma. Whether you carry debt after college or not, chances are you aren’t carrying a million dollars’ worth, so the economic benefit is measurable. Period.
Beyond the simple economic value of a college degree, it is also important to consider the freedom that a college degree will give you over that of a high school diploma. There are so many more options open to a person with a bachelor’s degree than a person with a high school degree, including graduate school. Do you want to start a business? Work at the magazine of your dreams? Teach kindergarten? You need a college degree to do those things, and so many others.
As for the other benefits of college? I personally found that they were invaluable for me as I made the transition to young adulthood. I met incredible people—the kinds of people I want to be at my wedding, whose kids I want to grow up alongside my own. I took classes that literally changed my life, my favorite being a philosophy class simply called “Life.” I learned how to balance school, work, and living on my own with an active social life and a great relationship with my family. Best of all, I got to keep being a kid (while feeling like an adult) for four more years, with some unbelievable memories, and some really cool pictures to prove it. College is an experience that shouldn’t be measured by a dollar amount or a timestamp. It’s a priceless experience that you will always treasure. Give yourself the chance to have that experience, and you won’t regret it.