Young people after high school are often ready to go to college, but these days they are more and more often asking: are the college degrees worth it?
This is a massive choice with far-reaching consequences, and in many countries like the US and African countries it also represents a significant cost. Many young people want to go to university to discover their vocation, but just as often you hear that it's not necessary. In this article, we will outline the pros and cons of going to college.
Pros of going to university
Earnings of university graduates are higher
A better education is generally the key to better employment opportunities, and thus higher salaries. The average American with a bachelor's degree earns significantly more than someone with a high school diploma – sometimes as much as $50,000 a year. Some of the highest paying jobs without a college degree still require professional skills.
A college degree can be a pathway out of poverty
This is especially true for children from low-income backgrounds or discriminated groups. With scholarships, they can not only get out of the poverty trap, but also benefit their community. Scholarships and grants help people get ahead and develop your better future – often, in the US, the way to get laid is through sports. Athletes typically don’t have to consider the pros and cons of going to college – they just have to play football!
More and more professions are being replaced by robots
Many professions that do not require sophisticated knowledge, creativity or technical skills – precisely those skills learned in college – will soon be replaced by artificial intelligence. This is already happening – drones delivering packages, or artificial intelligences working in a store. It's worth making sure you have knowledge that can't be replaced.
College is a great time to meet new people
You never know who you might meet while being a student! College buddies may become your closest friends or even your future spouse. Networking is very important in business – getting to know people in the industry starts at college. Universities also allow you to develop your interests: sports, hobbies, or trips abroad.
Studying means broader knowledge
By going to college, you look at the world from a broader perspective. You not only learn about a new profession, but also combine work and education, live independently and learn about the world as a whole. You also gain the skills to search for information and identify falsehoods, significant in the era of fake news. Is getting college degrees worth it? Perhaps, but getting life experience and access to new ways of thinking can’t be underestimated.
Disadvantages of university education
Student loans or tuition is insanely expensive in the USA
Of all the pros and cons of going to college, this is the largest obstacle. Both college costs and student loans are huge today in the US and other countries with similar systems. Tuition fees have more than doubled in the United States in the last 30 years – this can mean that parents who have been saving for their child's education today cannot finance it. Having to take out large loans may mean that a higher salary is no longer an advantage. Even if you don't graduate, you are still responsible for repaying your student loans. However, there are countries where higher education is free and student loans are capped from the top down.
Education is less important than practical skills
It used to be, especially in IT, that only a college degree showed that you had the right skills. Today, however, especially for programming, coding and other skills, it's important that everything you ever wanted to know is now available online. You can learn programming, Linux and WordPress in high school, which will give you a pretty good start in IT without spending money.
The same applies to many other professions – including some of the highest paying jobs without a college degree. Combine theoretical understanding and practical experience; getting a degree is one thing, but becoming an expert in your field is another.
Many students don't finish their studies
Many students decide to drop out and pursue other interests for various reasons. It could be lack of funds, personal problems, or disappointment that their degree would not lead to employment in their desired field. You may find that the subject you have chosen is too difficult for you – but you pay tuition fees for college anyway!
College degrees – worth it or not?
You have to make the decision to go to college yourself – remember that the modern world is constantly changing, and in a few years the job market will look very different. However, there are many alternatives to an expensive diploma, whether trade schools, apprenticeship, online courses or community colleges.