There has been a lot of talk lately about whether or not it is worth getting a four year college degree.
While it can greatly increase your chances of landing a high paying job after graduation, that is not always the case. In fact, there are several six figure income jobs that don’t require a degree and can still get you a big paycheck.
However, there are many important reasons a young person should consider going to college other than just the potential financial rewards.
10 Reasons to Go to College
1. Start Fresh
Sometimes you just need a fresh start in life. You need to put away your old habits and your old self, and become the person you were meant to be. That may sound cheesy, but I’ve found it to be true of myself as well as many other people I know. It is especially the case for young people who are transitioning from childhood to adulthood. College is the perfect opportunity to break out of that old shell and become someone totally new.
2. Meet People
I met many of my best friends while I was at college, and I even met my spouse while working a summer internship for college students. These people have shaped my life tremendously and have helped me grow as a person. I could not imagine who or where I would be without the many people who influenced me during my college years.
3. Learn Something
It is true that many degrees do not prepare you for the real world in terms of what you learn. However, a college education is an opportunity to learn what you love. Take the time to enjoy learning what you are truly passionate about. If you are interested in a variety of things and aren’t sure where to focus, check out iTunes U, an online resource where you can take college courses at the top universities for free.
4. Gain Financial Responsibility
For some people, this is not a want but a need. Parents do a lot for their children these days and many kids are not as mature upon high school graduation as they used to be. A lot of high school graduates have never worked, paid a bill, or learned anything about personal finance. Even as parents teach kids about money management, they can help their kids ease into real world responsibilities by having them spend time in college.
5. Achieve Independence
Along with gaining financial responsibility, there is the need for kids to mature in their decision-making. While parents may worry over their child’s new-found freedom, teens are generally pretty excited about it. College can give a young person the independence they feel they need as well as the opportunity to start making their own decisions. That being said, parents should still be parents at this point and help their children transition into adulthood (especially if they are paying for their child’s college education through something like a 529 college savings plan).
6. Get Involved
If you have an interest in politics, you can get involved in Student Government. If you want to be a journalist, here is the opportunity to get a head start by working on the school paper. Whatever you are interested in, I guarantee there is a group for it. Not only is this a way for you to explore something you’re passionate about, it’s an opportunity to have your voice heard and to gain practical experience that you can put on your resume.
7. Get a Change of Scenery
For some people, the number one reason to go to college may simply be the opportunity to move to a new location. Many northerners may want to go to school in the south to escape the cold. Others may just want to get out of a small town and see the world. Even moving from a childhood home to a dorm on a local college campus can be a great change of scenery. No matter where you go, you are, in some way, leaving what you’ve always known. This can be the first step in discovering where you fit in the world.
8. Attend Football And Other Sporting Events
A great way to save money on season football tickets is to be a student. I went to the University of Florida (Go Gators!), and student tickets at that time were only $6 per game! Other sporting events were free for students.
9. Figure Out Who You Are
I am not sure that I had any clue who I was when I began college. I didn’t know what direction I wanted to go in life, or what my real passions were. It took me leaving my family, my friends, my hometown, and their influences to begin to figure myself out. It gave me a starting point as I transitioned from everything I had once known.
10. Have Some Fun
Sometimes I get a little sad thinking that college was the best time of my life. While I know that is not really true, I must admit that I had a really fun time. I will always be thankful I was able to have that experience.
Even if you are choosing community college or vocational school instead of a four-year college, many of these reasons still apply. Furthermore, the same reasons are relevant even if you are not a young adult but are simply young at heart and going back to school. The idea here is that college is more than just a way to get a high-paying job, it’s a way to enjoy life and become the person you were meant to be.
What are some of the reasons why you went to college? What did you gain most from the experience?