Should I go to college?
It’s a question that plagues students every year.
For a long time, a college degree was considered essential if you wanted a good job that paid well. And for many companies, that still is the case.
But times, they are a-changin.’
As the cost of tuition goes up, students are re-evaluating whether college (and student debt) make sense.
For the 2016-2017 school year, the average cost of tuition was $33,480 for private colleges, $9,650 for public schools and $24,930 for out-of-state students attending public schools. This could mean anywhere from $38,000 to $134,000 of student loan debt.
Added to this is the fact that fewer companies are requiring a college degree.
Companies like Google and Ernst and Young, for example, say that they no longer require a college diploma for some of their top jobs.
Increasingly, many companies are offering well-paying jobs to people with non-traditional education or a high-school diploma.
Should I Go to College?
Not everyone thrives in a traditional college setting. But is it right for you?
Parenting coach Patrick Boone weighs in:
“I look at school as a way to get to who you want to be. So, for instance, my youngest son wants to help people. One the ways he was going to help people is to be a counselor. I said, ‘Well, you need to go to school for that.’
I’m not telling them they have to go to school, but if school can help them be who they want to be, then I say let’s go, let’s do it, let’s go for it. And I told them I said it doesn’t matter what you do, whether school or where it’s [doing something else], just get used to the fact that it’s going to be hard work and just make the decision of where you want to go and do the work to get there.”
He adds, “Who do you want to be and how could you support that in your schooling, in your work, in your relationships, and in your training? Who do you want to be and what are you going to do? Who are you going to involve in your life to support who you want to be?”
To help you better evaluate whether it’s the right choice for you, we came up with a list things you should take into consideration.
3 Reasons College is the Right Path
The Career You Want Requires the Degree
This is the most obvious reason to pursue going to college. As Patrick Boone said, if school can get you to where you want to be, then go for it. Jobs in medicine, dentistry, and education all require degrees, for example.
So if you know that you want to pursue a career field that requires an Associates, Bachelors, or Masters, then college is the route for you.
You Want a More Advanced Position
Many kids are receiving vocational training in high school, earning certifications that can qualify them for entry-level positions. A veterinary technician is an example of this.
However, if you want to advance in your career, additional training will be necessary.
That said, you may not need to attend a four-year college in order to receive the necessary training. Do your research and see if other alternatives are available.
You’ll Be Exposed to Other Interests
You don’t necessarily have to go to college for this, but a traditional college does require you to take core classes outside of your major, which can give you the opportunity to explore other interests. With a four-year degree, you have plenty of time to change your major if you uncover something else you would rather do.
3 Reasons College May Not Be for You
You’re Only Going Because Your Parents Want You To
If the only reason you’re pursuing college is because your family is telling you that you need to go, it’s probably not the right path for you. Your parents certainly have your best interest at heart, but college is a lot of work to go for someone else. You need to want it for yourself.
In my experience, those who didn’t really want it for themselves are more likely to have poor grades or drop out altogether, throwing both time and money down the drain.
You Don’t Need a College Degree for What You Want to Do
There are a lot of careers available that don’t require a traditional college degree.
You may find that you can get the skills you need through certifications, online courses, internships/apprenticeships or just getting out and doing the job.
And your degree is certainly not indicative of your earning potential.
I’ve known many extremely successful entrepreneurs who dropped out of college to devote more of their time to their businesses.
You’re More Interested in Partying Than Studying
While socializing is certainly a part of college, if all you’re looking forward to is late nights of flip cup and beer pong, you may not be ready to take your education seriously. You could always go back later if you decide you want to pursue that route… after you’ve gotten some real-world experience under your belt.
Should I Go to College – Final Thoughts
Making the decision about whether or not to go to college and trying to figure out what you want to major in can be daunting.
Which is why we would like to share one last piece of advice from psychologist Dr. Lisa Damour.
“To play the college process game you’re going to do your best to tell them right now what interests you and what you think you might do with yourself. You are not committed to any of this. In fact, I would hate to think that at 17 you would foreclose all these other options that are available to you in life that you’ve barely even had a chance to get to know about…”
“You will have time to sort out exactly what you want to do with yourself, to learn more about what’s available. You will have time to take a winding path to an outcome. It does not have to be a super straight line. Super straight lines are almost non-existent, but your job right now is just to get yourself to the next step in learning about what’s out there for you.”
So to answer Should I go to College?:
3 Reasons college may be the right path for you are:
- The career you desire requires a degree.
- Your looking for more advanced positions within an organization.
- You’re looking to be exposed to other opportunities or interests
3 Reasons college may not be the right choice for you:
- You’re only going because your parents want you to go to college.
- You don’t need a college degree for what you’re looking to do.
- You’re only interested in partying and not what college can do for you.