Why Go To College…Is It Really Worth It?

Every student wants to go to college, right?

Well, that used to be true, but times are changing. With the downward shift in the economy and high unemployment rates, more and more students are asking themselves, “Why go to college?”

While most parents and school counselors view college as the “next step” after high school, it makes sense for students to take a step back and really be sure that college makes the most sense for them in the long-run, financially and career-wise.

College isn’t a “one size fits all” kind of decision; each student should ask themselves “why go to college?” and be sure that they have a good answer before they start the college application process.

Why Go To College? Things You Should Consider…

 Evaluate Your Career Goals

I know it may be tough to figure out what you want to do for the rest of your life at 17 years old, but you have people who are more than willing to help you, especially your teachers, guidance counselor and parents.

If any of these individuals try to push you to attend a 4 year college without first helping you explore various career options, it’s okay to challenge them and ask, “Why go to college?” It’s their job to prepare you to graduate from high school in the best position to pursue a career that you’re most interested in.

That career may or may not require you to have a 4-year degree. Once you find out what you want to do, then you can successfully answer the question, “why go to college?”

 You May or May Not NEED A 4-Year Degree

Post-secondary education does not have to mean a 4-year degree; it could mean a trade school or community college program that allows you to learn a useful skill (i.e. beautician, dental hygienist, etc.) in a few months to a couple years. Why go to college (more specifically, a traditional college) if you don’t have to?

 Matching Your Skills with Needs of the Economy

Why go to college if a degree doesn’t guarantee me a job after graduation?!  Society used to work like this – 1) Go to college, 2) Get a degree, 3) Get a good job, and 4) Live a happy life! Now, there are more college graduates then there are jobs that require a college degree, so college grads are forced to take jobs for which they are academically overqualified.

According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, 1 in 5 bellhops, and 1 in 4 retail workers have college degrees, leaving many students asking, why go to college?

The key to obtaining gainful employment is matching your skill set with the needs of the economy, not just a 4 year degree. I dive into more detail on this topic in my post, 5 Secrets To Getting A Job After College.

 Wait A Second, Isn’t This Site Called TheCOLLEGEHelper.com?

Then why are you telling me that I shouldn’t go to college!?! We’re not telling you not to go to college, instead we’re telling you that stepping back and asking yourself, “why go to college?” is the right thing to do.

What are your long term goals? Will a traditional 4 year degree help you achieve them?

While this site is dedicated to helping students transition from high school to college, we realize that a traditional 4-year college program is not for everyone.

So, why go to college? You don’t have to; just choose the path that’s right for you!

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Lauren Anderson is a certified school counselor who's passionate about helping students all over the world successfully transition from high school to college! After spending 6 years as a business professional, she obtained her Master’s degree in School Counseling and now spends her spare time helping students.

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