In the United States, the expansion of an individual’s education is highly significant for those who have the option. There are many benefits to having a college education. Many people go to college to be able to find a better paying job or because they want a better life for themselves.
Many people go to college throughout the country to attain a better education after high school. Most times, the economic return of going to college will highly outweigh the cost. In 2007, the U.S. Census Bureau stated that college graduates earn, on average, about $55,000 per year. This can be compared to $30,000 or less on average for individuals who have only received a high school diploma or the equivalent (Cunningham, 2009.)
Not only do the individuals who have gone to college benefit from their education, but most of our society does too. Those who have a college degree tend to rely less on government programs, pay more taxes on their higher incomes, are healthier, are less likely to be incarcerated and are more likely to be involved with civic engagement (Brand, 2010.)
Along with earning a higher income, those with a post-secondary education are found to have more free time, a greater life expectancy, and healthier children. Those who seek better jobs are usually found to have health insurance that is provided by their employer. Most will also receive more benefits towards retirement than workers without a college education. Most are in great health because they have better access to preventative health care. This reduces public spending, which lowers the cost of government funded programs (Cunningham. 2009.)
Many college students are prone to engage themselves in bettering the community through civic engagement. This will carry with them even after graduation. Both private and public colleges aim to include civic education in their missions. One of the greatest goals they carry for their students is being able to offer a very broad education due to the ever-changing international world (Abel, 2014.)
In 2004, 36 percent of individuals who are 25 years old or older that have attained a bachelor’s degree have engaged in volunteer work. This can be compared to 21 percent of people who have only received a high school diploma to have engaged in volunteering. With the rapid change in technology and the way the framework of our society has changed in recent years, higher education is now needed to keep on producing civically engaged individuals (Cunningham, 2009.)
There are many other positive outcomes of a college education. College graduates are more likely to gain motivation to be involved with activities that influence society. They will engage themselves in more intellectual conversations and have a broader range of academic skills. They also find that they have the resources to lead a more engaged and productive lifestyle (Brand, 2010.)
A lot of individuals who are interested in pursuing college are also looking to have a better future for themselves. They might also be thinking of the future of their family, even if they have not already started one. Children who come from parents who have received a college degree are more likely to go to earn a college degree as well. They will also do better socially and economically in their own lives (Brand, 2010.)
College graduates are also more likely to find a job that they feel satisfied in. Most of us will spend our lives working 40 hours or more a week, so finding a job that we find enjoyable, even in the slightest, is very important. Individuals who have earned a college degree can find higher paying jobs with more advanced placements (Cunningham, 2009.)
With a college degree, one will also find better job stability. When employers need to cut jobs, they normally will cut jobs that are towards the bottom of the line (Brand, 2010.) The rate of unemployment among college graduates is much lower than individuals with only high school diplomas (Lambermont, 2018.)
With all of this in mind, there are also great outcomes for those who do not receive a traditional college education. Starting at a young age, children are constantly having the idea of going to college being drilled into their heads. Teachers, parents, and other political figures are responsible for telling these children that college is the only guaranteed pathway to success (Lambermont, 2018.)
After high school, 70 percent of students will move onto a four-year college, but one third of students will not graduate. Earning a college degree has its benefits like earning a higher salary or getting a better job that you feel successful at. However, there are some disadvantages to following the path to a college education (Sokatch, 2006.)
Many students must work in order to go to college. They also must pay for other things like bills, groceries, and other expenses. An average student spends about four years to complete their degree. This involves difficult course loads that require students to do many hours’ worth of assignments for each class. This means that there is very little time left for a student to do things like externships, internships, and job experience in the field that they are interested in (Abel, 2014.) A lot of employers look for job experience while hiring new employees. Being fresh out of college with no job experience sometimes means that a college degree does not ensure a graduate to have job security right away (Mian, 2017.)
Since 1978, the price of tuition has gone up by 1,100 percent. Because of this, school can become a terrible investment for some students because the rising cost makes school harder to afford. Since a lot of college degrees do not promise job security, it can be hard to find work. When it becomes hard to find a good paying job, individuals find themselves sitting on top of a huge amount of student debt or bills they can no longer afford (Sokatch, 2006.)
Since 2015, the enrollment of college students has risen by 15%. It is great that so many students want to endure themselves in a greater education, but sometimes a higher education is not for everyone. Some graduates do not come out of school with the right characteristics for a job in the field that they chose. This means that there are many jobs in the workforce that are left empty for long periods of time. Along with this, some jobs have so many applicants that graduates who apply for them may be passed over by someone who has had more experience (Lambermont, 2018.)
For many well-paying jobs, a four-year college may not be as important. The time that many people spend on earning their college degree could be someone else’s way of spending time getting experience in the work force. There are many technical colleges and trade schools that are willing to teach you how to do certain jobs such as beauty and cosmetology, plumbers, electricians, hospitality, and many other careers (Wyman, 2016.)
These are jobs that are constantly lacking applicants. Over 70% of contractors are struggling to find workers to fill jobs, even though the rate of construction is constantly on the rise. Attending a trade school is less time consuming and more cost effective. For a technical school, the tuition is about $3,400 per year versus $32,000 per year at a four-year school. Trade school is a great way for students to set themselves up for job security right off the bat. With college, many careers cannot say the same (Wyman, 2016.)
Many high schools in the United States have begun offering classes that allow students to get a taste of jobs they can get into right away after they graduate from high school. Classes such as mechanics class, tech ed, and some schools even offer apprenticeships where students can learn hands on what some jobs are like. This opens a variety of options for life after high school that does not have to do with traditional schooling (Mian, 2017.)
In a lot of areas of the United States, many schools do not prepare their students for a higher education. If students are unprepared, they will not find the need to enroll into a college or university. Some students do still enroll, but they do not last long. If a student has no desire to go to school, it will show up in their grades. When a student does not pass school, they will likely drop out which leaves them in tons of debt from school they never finished. Some students will go to school and feel like it is a waste of time (Mian, 2017.) Students who feel like they pay too much for too little may not go to school either. Those who feel this way see school as unnecessary since they can go into the workforce right away without wasting their money. Instead, they invest their time into a job right away (Lambermont, 2018.)
Finally, it may be concluded that college is a very important part of life. This does not mean that everyone is meant to go to college after high school. Everyone is discovering their own pathways to success. Some people go to school right away, later in life, or not at all. What matters is that we find something that we enjoy and pursue it.
- Abel, R., J., Deitz, & Richard. (2014, August 10). Do the Benefits of College Still Outweigh the Costs? Retrieved from https://poseidon01.ssrn.com/delivery.php?ID=905122026003116123073123124014005108102000006036012087096025100100105113023090091030018120055004119097117100028122030074122025031037030013082095102095095096004120057043076070031082075104080026003012064109022099095005025029005121007028065068113074096&EXT=pdf.
- Brand, J. E., & Xie, Y. E. (n.d.). Who Benefits Most from College?: Evidence for Negative Selection in Heterogeneous Economic Returns to Higher Education – Jennie E. Brand, Yu Xie, 2010. Retrieved from https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0003122410363567.
- Cunningham, A. (2009). The Broader Societal Benefits of Higher Education. Retrieved November 19, 2019, from https://english.highline.edu/developmental/Broader Social Benefits.pdf.
- Lambermont, P. (2018, June 30). College Isn’t for Everyone … and That’s Okay: The American Spectator: Politics Is Too Important To Be Taken Seriously. Retrieved from https://spectator.org/college-isnt-for-everyone-and-thats-okay-2/.
- Mian, Y. (2017, April 21). College is not for everyone. Retrieved from https://www.statepress.com/article/2017/04/spopinion-asu-college-isnt-necessary-for-everyone-opinion.
- Sokatch, A. (2006, November). Peer Influences on the College-Going Decisions of Low Socioeconomic Status Urban Youth – Andrew Sokatch, 2006. Retrieved from https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0013124506291783.
- Wyman, N. (2016, October 7). Why We Desperately Need To Bring Back Vocational Training In Schools. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/nicholaswyman/2015/09/01/why-we-desperately-need-to-bring-back-vocational-training-in-schools/#5965c06c87ad.