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Topics: Importance of college education essay
Children all over the country are raised with the expectation to go to college. We are taught that high school should not be the end of our education and that college is a priority. College is a way for students to get a degree in something they are interested in and pursue a career in something they love. However, something has recently challenged this idea. It has caused many parents to overlook this mindset and instead believe that college is not worth it. Over the past decade, the price of college tuition has risen high enough to the point where most families cannot afford it or are not willing to take out a huge chunk of their savings to pay for it, especially those with low income. Despite its high costs, college is much more than just earning a degree. It is about furthering your knowledge, finding a career path that best suits you, and transitioning from your immature high-school self to your mature adult-self. Some even may argue that the experiences you make in college are irreplaceable.
It is extremely important to have a college education in today’s society. Our country’s society has changed from a manufacturing economy to a knowledge-based economy, which requires workers to be smart and qualified (The Importance of Higher Education). In fact, it has been shown that those without a post-high school education regret not going to college. 66% of them wish they had gone while 62% of them think it would have helped their standard of living.
A college education is important because it provides a wide range of job opportunities and a greater earning potential. Many jobs in today’s society require a post-high school diploma. These include careers such as those in the medical field, law practices, and educational field. With a post-high school degree, workers are less likely to face unemployment. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), only 2.7% of workers with bachelor degrees are unemployed, while 5.2% of workers with a high school diploma are unemployed (Brady, Jennifer). It makes sense; bosses would rather hire workers, (and less likely fire workers) with a higher degree and more experience. Because if the workers look good, the company looks good, which makes the bosses look good. On top of this, college helps you to make connections with people in the business world. By establishing networks with professionals in different areas, college students may have an easier time securing jobs or internships with these professionals. This also improves their communication skills, which will help them in job interviews.
Better job security also provides higher salaries. According to the US Census Bureau, worker’s earnings increase with their level of education (The Importance of Higher Education). High school graduates earn an average of $21,569 while those with associate degrees earn $32,062 on average (The Importance of Higher Education). This means that those with bachelor degrees earn approximately $464 more per week and will end up earning $1 million more in their lifetime than those with a high school diploma (Brady, Jennifer).
Some people may argue that because of the recent rise in college tuition, a college education is not worth it. Admittedly, college tuition has risen an absurd amount. Since 1978, when records of spending first began, it has increased by 1,120% (Mosbergen, Dominique). The average out-of-state tuition of public universities has increased by 194% and the average tuition for private universities has increased by 157% (Boyington, Briana). Because of this, many parents are worried that they will not be able to pay their child’s tuition or pay back the student loans after their child graduates. However, it is shown that most “eighteen-year-olds enrolled in four-year colleges are able to earn enough money by the time they are thirty-six to compensate for the four years of not working” (The Importance of Higher Education). They are able to pay back any fees and tuition that is not already paid for by grants or scholarships (The Importance of Higher Education).
In addition to more job security, having a college education provides job satisfaction. Workers feel like they have a sense of identity. They are free to pursue a career in whatever they want instead of trying to find any job that they can get just to pay the bills. Most of the time, this freedom is what helps workers find better jobs, with better employee benefits, salaries, and promotional opportunities. According to a 2016 Pew Study, 77% of workers with a post-graduate degree are satisfied with their work and 60% of workers with a bachelor degree is satisfied as well (Brady, Jennifer). Only 38% of workers with no post-high school education reported that they were happy at their jobs (Brady, Jennifer).
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Having a college degree not only increases your work satisfaction, but it improves your overall happiness as well. According to the Lumina Foundation Report, 94% of adults with bachelor degrees were very happy, as compared to the 89% of adults with no college education (Brady, Jennifer). The 94% will have better self-esteem because they feel proud of completing those four extra years of schooling. Additionally, having a post-high school degree leads to happier and healthier lifestyles, which cuts back on medical costs. College Board reports that the gap between rates of high schoolers and graduates that smoke has increased by 17%, compared to the 2% gap in 1962 (Brady, Jennifer). They also state that those with a post-high school degree will be less likely to become obese, meaning that their children will be less likely to become obese as well. (Brady, Jennifer). Along with an increase in happiness, having a post-high school degree can also increase a person’s drive to take part in society. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, higher educated people were more likely to participate in social functions, such as voting, taking a political interest, trusting others, and volunteering (The Importance of Higher Education). The Lumina Foundation reported that 40% of working adults with a bachelor’s degree volunteered in their community within the past year, compared to only 17% of workers with no post-high school education (Brady, Jennifer). They also donated three times more to charities, voted 1.3 times more in local elections, and participated twice as much in school, community, or religious organizations (Brady, Jennifer).
College classes and lectures can teach you valuable workplace skills. By working in groups, students develop communication skills and learn to work as a team. Being a team-player is especially important in the workplace since you will be working alongside many colleagues. Students will learn how to share ideas, incorporate the ideas of others, and equally split up the workload. These classes will also help students gain writing and researching skills. Every job will have some sort of writing aspect, so it is important that the student accurately knows how to sound “smart” when writing whatever they need to. Classwork will focus a lot around research, especially when writing papers. When researching, students have to find a claim and details to support it. This improves their critical thinking skills as well as their lecturing skills. Students who do not attend college may not develop these skills as well since they are not taking college course classes. They will go straight from high school to work without knowing these interpersonal skills.
Having a higher degree means better job opportunities, which then turns into better salaries. With a higher income, most workers with higher education are able to live comfortable lives. Whereas most workers with no post-high school education focus their entire life around paying the bills and working paycheck to paycheck. This is especially important when starting your new adult life after you finish school. For example, when buying a house, those who struggle to bring in money won’t be able to afford one that they want. If they do not have enough money to pay the bills on time, they could risk getting evicted. Another example is getting married. Weddings are extremely expensive, which could mean those with low paying jobs might not be able to afford it. On top of this, each person might want to take on the debt of their partner.
Many people say that college was the best years of their life. It helps create unforgettable memories and teaches you necessary lifelong skills. College is more than getting an education; it is about being away from home and gaining life skills you need to survive in the real world. Because most college students live away from their parents, they are forced to build responsibility. They learn how to do things by themselves, including doing laundry, making their own food, and waking themselves up on time for class. They don’t have their mom or dad to do these things for them. Students come face to face with real-world decisions which help them become more of an “adult figure”. The same happens even for students who live at home during college. They still need to take care of their own education and prioritize their schoolwork, jobs, and social life. In high school, teachers run on a planned schedule and call home if you miss class. However, in college, students have to be responsible for their own education. College not only gives students the opportunity to gain independence; it also exposes them to people of different backgrounds. They are given the opportunity to meet new people and learn about their different upbringings, as well as sharing their own.
College opens up many doors for students. It is a time where they are able to open up their minds to new ideas and possibilities and are exposed to real-world situations that they would not have in high school. The experiences and skills you take away from college are incredibly important to succeed in today’s society; some may even say that these experiences are invaluable. Not to say that those who do not carry on a post-high school education will not succeed. It is just easier for those with a college degree to get ahead and explore their career options. So before you think about applying to a job instead of to college, think about all the life experiences you may be giving up