Most of us are told from our earliest school days that we should reach for college. But… why? Isn’t it expensive? Isn’t it a lot of hard work? Don’t people go through a lot of trouble to get in?
Most people who have been through the college process will tell you that while the college journey may be difficult, it is well worth it. Giving up before you start is the best way to avoid achieving your long term goals. If you feel unsure about your college career or are feeling discouraged, think about your prospects.
Furthering your education, expanding your knowledge, pursuing and earning a college degree is really all about investing in your future career and life – that’s why it should matter.
You may have heard of Nola Ochs, the Kansas woman who earned her college degree at the age of 95. She graduated with her granddaughter and, when asked why she bothered getting her bachelor’s degree, she said, “I’ll turn 95 with or without the diploma. Why not?”
Mrs. Ochs, a great-grandmother who was enrolled in a Master’s program when she celebrated her 100th birthday, understood that learning for the mere sake of learning is precious. But even if you don’t enjoy school or the traditional education process, there are plenty of reasons to keep going when you lose heart while completing your degree. Knowing why you’re attending college can help pull you through trying moments, and enable you to encourage others.
Boosts Career Options & Opportunities
Completing an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in a subject which is easily transferable to a number of careers, such as general studies or English, will leave the door open to any number of possibilities. It’s now unusual for a worker to stay in the same job with the same company over an entire career. The average American changes jobs between ten and fifteen times. You’re in good company if you have many interests.
Studies also show that those who have a college education tend to make more than those who don’t. Increased learning potential can offset tuition costs and provide more freedom to buy a house, start a family, or move to a different part of the country.
Those with a college degree are also more apt to keep their job in the event of layoffs. When companies downsize, sometimes those without specialized skills or certain qualifications are laid off before those who are not. With a degree as leverage, employees can command a higher salary upon joining the work force and negotiate for future raises.
Fosters Responsibility, Personal Growth & Independence
With your degree, you not only have increased professional opportunities, you will experience a myriad of chances for personal development. From greater opportunities to take different courses to the chance to develop socially in extracurricular activities, the poise and self-assurance you will acquire are priceless.
Some who did not enjoy their high school experience might shy away from college because they felt constrained by a structured educational environment. However, it’s important to remember that a college education is driven by independence and personal responsibility. Although most college degrees do require some courses, completion of it involves a great deal of elective classes which you may choose yourself. Students have far more control over their schedules in college than in high school; even if they must take a certain course, they are also often able to choose the professor, time of class meeting, and sometimes whether to take the course in person or virtually. Responsibility for timetables and coursework rests with you.
After graduation, since your earning potential is increased, you have a strong chance to stand on your own financially. The confidence in the skills you will have garnered in your courses and work study will assist you in other areas of your life.
Encourages Extracurriculars & Reveals One’s True Passion(s)
Most high school programs are limited and unable to provide expanded opportunities for students to indulge their passions. College, however, is the time and place to develop your interests, try professional opportunities in your chosen field, and engage in deeper thought about the direction you would like your life and career to take.
In the event you have not discovered your passion, this is a terrific time to find it. It’s not at all uncommon to begin a degree program without knowing for sure what kind of career you’d like to have. College offer a wide range of courses from which to choose, and you are able to explore your options.
The extracurriculars of college life are also typically more involved than those in high school. They are more varied and more closely replicate the professional world. Most colleges run daily newspapers, TV or internet radio stations, student-run governments, performances, volunteer organizations, and high-octane sports teams. Participating in any one of these will help you refine the kind of career you’d like to have, as well as the beginnings of a resume to offer future employers. No matter what industry you’re keen to enter, chances are good that you can find a practical training ground for it in college.
Instills Essential Life Skills & Social Development
Students who grew up in small communities or who have stayed in the same place for most of their lives might find an entirely new world of people in college. Large schools tend to attract students from all over the country, and mixing with them will provide exposure to new cultures and different ways of thinking.
Even attending a smaller school near home is a good way to expand horizons. Making connections with those who have similar goals or who share your passions will enhance your coursework. Not only will you create great memories, you will be creating contacts for your future career.
College will also prepare you for life outside of your career. Experiencing new people in new situations will help to create empathy, and your self-confidence will grow. You will also be better equipped to give back to others once your time in college is through. Whether you engage in your community financially, through volunteering, mentoring, or all three, college can help lay the groundwork for your personal and professional goals.