Reasons To Go To College

Is attending college a good idea?

Well, here’s the short answer: YES.

Here’s the long answer: yes, especially if you’re interested in a job in science or technology, or if you want to become a researcher. Ultimately you should consider whether what you want to do in life is worth investing four years of your time and tens of thousands of dollars of your money on what amounts to a glorified training program.

With that said, I personally think that if you’re interested in it, you should attend college. There are a lot of reasons to got to college, but here are three reasons to go to college that I think generally apply to most people.

Income

College is becoming increasingly necessary in order to compete in the job market. A February 2013 article in the New York Times described the phenomenon of degree inflation, in which more jobs are beginning to require bachelor’s degrees even when they didn’t before, such as dental hygienists and secretaries. This has effectively made the bachelor’s degree work as a new high school diploma.

Even if you can get a job with your high school diploma, college will help you make more money. According to a 2011 article by US News & World Report, higher education will increase your lifetime income. For instance, people with a high school diploma are projected to earn $1.30 million in a lifetime, while a bachelor’s degree increases this projection to $2.27 million. Obviously, better degrees increase the amount of money you can be projected to earn.

However, there are a few things to note. If you have to take out a loan to get into college, you’ll have to pay it back while you’re starting your career, which can negatively impact you financially. Also, the article notes that certain fields – such as STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) for example – earn more money with a bachelor’s degree than higher degrees in other fields, such as education. In short, you should consider whether your desired career needs a degree and the debt that goes along with it when evaluating your reasons to go to college.

 Learning 

This is really obvious, but college is educational. If you choose to go to college, you will end up learning something. In addition, if you choose a major that is right for you, you’ll learn about something you’re interested in, which is a win-win situation. 

One particular advantage is that there are more subjects and classes offered at the university level than at the high school level. For example, my high school’s only journalistic offering was a hands-off yearbook class that didn’t really teach any journalism skills. I was only able to first engage with journalism meaningfully and learn how to do it at my community college’s newspaper. Public speaking was another class that wasn’t offered at my high school, which was a shame because that was a very useful class.

 Self-discovery

If you’re like most college students, you’ll move out of your parent’s house to attend school and experience independence for (most likely) the first time in your life. You’ll meet a diverse set of people from various places. You’ll have the opportunity to partake in such things as going Greek, working at a college radio station or just joining one of the many clubs your campus will have.

The experiences you have at college will change your life, most likely for the better. I’ve made at least one life-long friend and discovered my ideal career in writing. One of my roommates became interested in political activism. At least two of my friends have come out and are now happier for it. However, college isn’t always positive. I have drifted apart from some of my friends from high school and have had some moments of intense unhappiness. Still, for the most part the life-changing experiences will be positive rather than negative.

Obviously, there are several reasons to go to college and not to attend or to delay attending college, but I believe that you should attend college if you feel that it is right for you. For me, I felt like it was the right choice, and I do not regret attending.

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John Kesler

John Kesler

John Kesler is a senior studying communication at the University of California, Davis. If he is on campus, he can be found in the basement offices of the newspaper or the radio station. At home, he enjoys listening to whatever music he can, reading whatever books he can, and taking walks wherever he can.
John Kesler

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