Maybe you are graduating from high school and wondering about your next step. Or maybe you graduated years ago and are imagining what a college degree could do for you.
No matter what stage of life you are in, it’s never too late to explore higher education options. If you’re on the fence about whether or not college is for you, keep reading. Many benefits come from going to college, and they span beyond the most obvious ones like our first three in this article.
Preparation for a Specific Career
The most obvious reason to go to college is to prepare for a future career. Careers in technology, healthcare fields, and education industries are rapidly growing in the United States, and the need for professionals in those fields is increasing. Naturally, there are plenty of programs out there to train a rising workforce.
Most specialized careers require a bachelor’s degree for entry-level positions. Not all degrees, however, are focused on a specific career – Bachelor of Arts in English, we’re looking at you! The good news is that earning a bachelor’s degree serves as a pathway to future careers. Some fields may require additional, higher education, but a bachelor’s degree is the first step.
Higher Income Potential
The U.S. Department of Education reports that college graduates with a bachelor’s degree statistically earn 66% more than those without a degree. Likewise, 2019 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics details that those with a college degree earn an average of $1,248 per week, while those with only a high school diploma make just $746. The difference of $502 per week adds up to $26,104 per year!
Additionally, college graduates are less likely than high school graduates to face unemployment. The BLS reports that the unemployment rate for those with a bachelor’s degree is 2.2%, and for those with a high school diploma, 3.7%. Higher income potential is enough to convince many to go to college, yet there are a host of other benefits.
More Job Possibilities
Earning a college degree means that you likely possess important critical and analytical thinking, self-discipline, organization, and communication skills. Employers look for these skills in candidates, so those with a bachelor’s degree typically have the upper hand.
The Center on Education and the Workforce states that college graduates earn 57% of all wages, and those who have at least some postsecondary education make up 65% of total employment. Pursuing a college education expands your career opportunities immensely by giving you a competitive edge in the job market.
Earning a college degree will open the door for networking opportunities, and in today’s job market, a professional network is important for success. You can build a network while earning a bachelor’s degree through internships, volunteer work, job fairs, conferences, as well as building rapport with professors and classmates.
Collaborating with others in your program will not only help you through your schooling but may also lead to support when it’s time to look for a job after graduation. Networking opportunities serve as an invaluable resource for college graduates.
Positive Return on Investment
The cost of college may be one of the main reasons why people don’t pursue higher education, and no one would argue with that reason. There is, however, some good news: college can be affordable, no matter what career you want to pursue. Not only are some colleges more affordable than others, but financial aid options such as scholarships, grants, and other tuition-assistance programs are also there to help.
Most college students use financial aid to pay for their education. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 85% of students receive at least some form of financial aid to assist with college costs. Here’s some other good news: most college graduates report a positive return on investment. Data from Pew Research Center indicates that the vast majority of bachelor’s-level college graduates say that college has “already paid off or will do so in the future.”
Personal Growth and Happiness
A four-year higher education also provides a pathway for personal growth. Going to college is much more than taking tests and turning in papers. Most students also find the college experience rewarding by increasing their confidence and by teaching them skills such as teamwork, time management, and self-discipline. College allows you to grow not only academically but also socially and personally.
Additionally, research shows that those with college degrees report feeling happier with their lives than those who have only a high school diploma. The saying “education is power” proves true. With education comes higher life satisfaction.
Earning any college degree is worthwhile because education will stick with you throughout your life. College is important for reasons ranging from career preparation and higher income potential to a positive return on investment and ample networking opportunities. Perhaps the strongest reason why college is important is the growth that occurs during those formative years. There is no price to pay for increased confidence, strong self-esteem, a positive outlook, and skills necessary to be successful in life.