Why is Going to College So Important?
Back in the day, there was no real need for everyone to go to college or university. In fact, college and university used to be something that was almost exclusively available for members of the upper class who were interested in careers that absolutely required college education.
Now, it is far more typical that jobs will require at least an undergraduate education – and many others either require or strongly prefer graduate school education as well. Still, there may be some people asking themselves, “Why is college important?”
After all, people like Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, and Mark Zuckerberg have questioned whether or not college is truly crucial to success. While it may be tempting to listen to the celebrity billionaires, we at AdmissionSight would first recommend that anyone thinking about potentially skipping out on a college education instead look at these top reasons why college education is so important.
Let’s get started!
College graduates earn a lot more on average
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, workers that have earned a bachelor’s degree earned an average of just under $470 per week more than workers who have only earned a high school diploma.
Moreover, a 2015 report for the United States Department of Education found that the average worker who has earned a bachelor’s degree could earn as much as $1 million more than a worker without a postsecondary education.
As you can see, whether looking at it from a weekly standpoint or looking at it from a lifetime earnings standpoint, going to college and earning a degree has a major impact on a person’s earning power.
Workers with a college education are far less likely to experience unemployment
Unemployment is a scary and stressful potential that a lot of people sadly have to deal with. However, if you make sure to earn yourself a college degree, the risk of experiencing unemployment during your working career goes way down.
In fact, the percentage of people without a college education is nearly double that of those with a bachelor’s degree. With 4.1 percent of workers with just a high school diploma unemployed and 2.2 percent of workers with a bachelor’s degree facing unemployment.
In fact, this kind of stability is a real reason why people elect to get a college education even if they are not yet sure what kind of career they are most interested in pursuing. A college education can serve as a sort of guarantee that people who get out of college will be able to have access to many more attractive and stable jobs compared to people who start looking for work immediately after graduating from high school.
College education statistically leads to much more job satisfaction
While some people do not really care much about feeling fulfilled by their job, there are many of us who make it a prime point to look for a job that excites us and helps us work in something that is of interest to us. Because college education plays a major role in helping people learn specialized skills and improve their intelligence in specific areas, it should really come as no major surprise that people with bachelor’s degrees tend to experience far better satisfaction in their careers.
In fact, 77 percent of workers with postgraduate degrees and 60 percent of people with bachelor’s degrees end up feeling as though their job gives them a sense of positive identity.
Compare that to a mere 38 percent of workers with just high school degrees who report the same sentiment.
On top of that, people with higher education were far more likely to see their job as a career – with that number coming in at 70 percent – compared to those who just graduated college who typically see their job as nothing more than a job. In fact, only 39 percent of people with just high school diplomas see their jobs as careers.
People with college degrees tend to have better financial habits
Another really important aspect of going to college and getting a college degree has to do, not ecstatically with a job, but the way that people save and spend their money in their daily lives.
People who are working-age adults and have a college degree are a whopping 9.4 times more likely to have a bank account compared to those who just have a high school degree.
Beyond that, the percentage of people with just high school educations that have had to depend on exploitative forms of financing such as payday loans and tax refund loans is nearly 10 percent, while college graduates who have depended on those same kinds of risky loans are just over two percent.
As you can see, people who attend college are far more likely to enjoy financial stability in their life, which science shows can lead to happier and longer lives with better health and far less anxiety.
People with college degrees are more likely to be able to own a home
When it comes to the American dream, there are few things more symbolic of that spirit than managing to own land and a home. Being a homeowner is not only a major sign of success for people, but it is also a way in which individuals are able to build and maintain wealth for themselves and their families.
For that reason, it is important for anyone who is thinking about perhaps not attending college should know about the numbers related to people who end up managing to own homes. In fact, based on a poll that was taken just a few years ago, a whopping 76 percent of all homeowners were college-educated in that year in which the poll was taken. Beyond that 14 percent (the second-highest percentage) of homeowners had attended some kind of college but had not earned a degree, while 11 percent of homeowners only had a high school education to their name.
People with college degrees are more likely to enjoy long and happy marriages
Another major aspect of the American dream includes getting married and starting a beautiful and healthy family. When it comes to getting – and staying – married, people who graduate college have far greater success than their non-college-graduate counterparts.
In fact, 65 percent of 25-year-old men and women with bachelor’s degrees were married back in a poll taken within the last decade while only 53 percent of those who didn’t have college degrees were married.
Moreover, it has been found that 78 percent of women who were married and had college degrees could expect their marriage to last 20 years or longer, while just 40 percent of women with high school degrees could expect the same kind of stability and length out of their own marriages.
A college degree means a happier and healthier life
This isn’t just a nice idea, but it is actually a certifiable fact. In fact, just one additional year of a college education has been found by a Brookings Institute study that can reduce a person’s mortality rate anywhere from 15 percent to 19 percent. On top of that, people with just high school degrees have a mortality rate that is double those of people with some college education or a full college degree.
Beyond that, it has been found through extensive research has shown that people who have graduated college practice far healthier health habits compared to those that simply graduate high school. In fact, the percentage of adults who smoke cigarettes daily falls significantly with every increase in education.
20 percent of people with high school diplomas are believed to be regular cigarette smokers, while just five percent of those with bachelor’s degrees smoke and only three percent of those with graduate degrees smoke.
There is also believed to be a strong correlation between educational success and practicing healthy eating habits such as eating fruits and veggies. They have also shown that they exercise more regularly and even wear seatbelts when they drive more often than individuals who have not attended college.
Finally, college graduates are not only known to have longer and healthier lives but also happier lives. 94 percent of adults with either bachelor’s degrees or higher have reported being happy or very happy with life, compared to 89 percent of adults with no college education, according to a report from Lumina Foundation.
How to make your college choice the right way
Now that we have broken down some of the most compelling and convincing reasons why everyone should go to college or university, we at AdmissionSight also thought it would be wise to go over how high school students can make the best decision when it comes to actually make the choice of which school they end up going to after graduating high school.
Sure, there are a lot of important considerations to keep in mind, such as size, focus, cost, and more, but there are many other ways to help break down the top choices from the safety schools. Let’s break down some of the best ways that you can start making your final decision of which school you want to end up attending together!
Make sure to focus on fit
Students who are trying to figure out which school works best for them should be putting a heavy emphasis on the overall fit, according to experts. Students need to keep in mind that this school will, ideally, be a long-term commitment as they prepare to earn their four-year degree.
Because of that, students need to make sure that they will feel comfortable at the school. Remember, it is not just about getting an education, but continuing to grow into a healthy and happy young adult.
Look for places where you can really see yourself as opposed to places that you solely think will get you the very best education. After all, no student will be able to focus much on learning and expanding their knowledge if they feel uncomfortable and unhappy in the place that they are living and studying.
Ideally, your top choice will offer the best fit and best education available to you!
Don’t just rely on the campus tour to get a feel for the place
While campus tours are of course great to give prospective students a surface-level feel of what they can expect from living on campus, it is important for students to keep in mind that these tours are also curated by the school.
For that reason, students should definitely try to explore the campus beyond the campus tour. If you know any students who are currently attending that school, it would be very wise to reach out to them and ask them if you can either get together somewhere on campus or even come with them to one of their larger classes where your attendance will not be a disruption.
Even if you do not know any student who is currently attending the college or university you are visiting, you should feel free to stop a student or two during your walk around campus, let them know that you are thinking about attending the school and ask them a few questions about what it’s like to be a student at the school full time. Chances are good that they will be willing and able to help you get great answers to any important questions that you still have about what it is like to be a student there.
Make sure you know what kinds of extracurriculars are available at a given school
If you have some major passions or interests that you want to be sure to continue during your time at college, you should make sure that you know they are actually available at a given college that you are interested in going to.
Think about it, if you are interested in joining a downhill ski team, you probably shouldn’t be seriously considering a school in the south. Or, if you are really looking forward to taking part in Greek life and attending big football games, you shouldn’t be thinking seriously about attending a small liberal arts school.
With all that being said, you really should be emphasizing activities over the school. If somewhere feels like a great fit with the exception of one or two things, then you should follow your gut and feel confident that you will be able to continue exploring your passions even if they are not officially offered at a given school.
Factor in family
This is – obviously – especially important for people who are worried that they may experience some homesickness in the early stages of their time at college. If you think you would be more comfortable if your family and hometown were just a quick drive away, think about limiting your search to schools that are just a quick road trip or easy flight away. Due to the huge number of schools that exist in every corner of the United States, you can be sure that you will be able to find fantastic options within your region – or even your state!
Beyond that, it is also worth it to think about whether or not you may have some legacy at top schools in the United States. If your parents attended a really prestigious school, that can help you earn acceptance as well. It doesn’t necessarily mean it will be the right fit for you, but it is certainly something to consider.
Consider the price
Look, if you are thinking about attending college right now, chances are good that you know quite a lot about the college loan debt crisis that is currently plaguing many Americans. For that reason, you should certainly keep the price of college in mind when you are making your choices.
Not only should you be prioritizing schools if they are offering your academic or athletic scholarships, but you should also be thinking about schools that may offer in-state tuition, lower tuition, and more.
Still, there is also no doubt that if you are truly set on an expensive school, there are ways to afford it, you just need to be sure that you know the risks and responsibilities that come with taking on debt to afford a specific college.
Hopefully, we at AdmissionSight have done our job and convinced you why attending college is so important! If you are interested in learning about how we can help you get into the school of your dreams, contact us today and learn about the many incredible benefits of working with a top-level college admissions consultant.