Is College Worth It?

Is College Worth ItAccording to Bloomberg Businessweek, 40 percent of collegiate students never graduate. If they graduate, 13.5 will not be able to find work. If they manage to graduate and find work, 44 percent will work jobs that do not require college degrees. Nevertheless, even if they graduate, escape unemployment, and find meaningful jobs, then they will most likely be paying off debt (the average student accrues $35,000 in college-related debt, according to CNN Money). After factoring the rising cost of college tuition and the dismal future of the economy, many are understandably left wondering what the value of a college diploma actually is.

Though these statistics are glum for graduates, college is necessary for many students. Higher education is for the self-motivated student who thrives in a learning environment, for the hardworking and disciplined who still have yet some growing up to do, and for the bright-eyed who desire self-discovery. However, a university education is not for everyone.

While unmotivated youths are obviously not meant for college life, post-secondary institutions likewise are not for the truly exceptional. Universities are not for the ones who already know what they want to do with their lives and for whom pursuing a college degree would prevent them from attaining their dreams. For example, post-secondary education was not for entrepreneurs Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, or Steve Jobs, or for creative thinkers like Vidal Sassoon, Coco Chanel, Marc Ecko, Russell Simmons or Wolfgang Puck. Nevertheless, all have become immensely wealthy, successful, and intelligent, and all without higher-level degrees. These distinguished people are innovative and brilliant, and did not feel that their dreams were worth the four-year wait.

If not college, then what?
Instead of attending a university, one could author a book, start a business, or become an inventor. He could attend a certificate program that could lead to a job as an automotive service technician, insurance agent, real estate agent, or emergency medical technician, just to name a few. He could work to improve the world by joining the Peace Corps, becoming a missionary, defending the nation by working in the army, or exploring the world by taking a year off and going backpacking in Europe. He could even just immerse himself into the real world by working. With youth comes the luxury of time, ability and energy…the opportunities are limitless!

Still unconvinced?
If you’re still convinced that college is the only way to live and succeed, take a look at some of these jobs that, according to Forbes, make just as much, if not more, than the average college graduate.

1) Administrative/Executive Assistant
Average Salary: $50,220
Outlook: +12%

2) Electrician
Average Salary: $53,030
Outlook: +23%

3) Industrial Machine Repairer
Average Salary: $47,500
Outlook: +19%

4) Paralegal/Legal Assistant
Average Salary: $50,220
Outlook: +18%

5) Web Developer
Average Salary: $66,100
Outlook: +22%

College is not a path that guarantees a person wealth and prosperity. High school students should not feel pressured to pursue a path that is not meant to be, and should instead open their minds to all the possibilities that exist for them. The expectation to attend a university for the sake of pride or societal norms should not be the deciding factor.

Cresonia Hsieh a first-year journalism student at the University of Florida and contributing writer to the Good News. She may be reached at [email protected].

Share this article