Pros and Cons of Attending College
Deciding whether or not to attend college is an important one. While many people assume that college is a necessary step to take after graduating from high school, this isn't always the case. Here are the pros and cons of attending college.
Pro: College can help you gain a better education.
The main reason people attend college is to get a high-level education. Throughout the process, you'll find what you're passionate about and decide what you're not interested in. Not only will you learn about a wide variety of topics, but you'll also hone your ability to think critically and respond intelligently. Being exposed to different viewpoints can help broaden your horizons and allow you to grow intellectually.
Con: College can put you into debt.
It's common knowledge that one of the biggest disadvantages of attending college is student debt. Many students are burdened with high student loans, with about 44 million Americans owning more than $1.5 trillion. In addition, one study found that 45% of people with student debt said that college wasn't worth it. Depending on how much money you owe, you could be in debt for up to 30 years. This can cause you to delay other financial goals, such as purchasing a home or saving up for retirement.
Pro: College graduates make more money.
Did you know that individuals with a bachelor's degree earn approximately $24,000 more than high school graduates? Depending on when you retire, this can add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Even though you have to put in the time and effort to reach this earning potential, it'll be worth it in the end. Therefore, attending college is an investment in your future.
Con: Many jobs don't require a college education.
Although many people with college degrees earn more than high school graduates, there are many high-paying jobs that don't require a college education. These include:
- Insurance sales agent
- Maintenance worker
- Dental assistant
- Physical therapy aide
- Flight attendant
These jobs offer a steady stream of income and can help you to live a comfortable life without having to worry about paying off student debt. Most require training programs that can typically be completed in two years or less.
Pro: Attending college can help you gain interpersonal skills.
While getting an education is the most important part of attending college, you'll also gain interpersonal skills throughout your daily interactions with others. From joining student organizations to interacting with professors, you'll learn to build strong relationships with others and hone important skills such as communication, teamwork and active listening.
Con: High stress levels can lead to health problems.
In a 2012 survey about stress levels, 40.2% of college students reported feeling "frequently overwhelmed." From getting good grades to maintaining healthy relationships, the college environment can cause high levels of stress. This can lead to anxiety, depression, weight gain, digestive disorders and poor sleep.
Pro: College graduates are more likely to have health insurance.
Although having health insurance is important for your well-being, purchasing it can be extremely expensive. The premium for single-person policies can be as high as $5,500 a year. However, studies have shown that college graduates are more likely to have employer-provided coverage, with 64% of employees with bachelor's degrees and 70% of employees with advanced degrees having coverage. On the other hand, only 52% of high school graduates had coverage.
Con: Having a college degree doesn't guarantee employment.
While having a college degree can increase your earning potential and help you to get a job after graduation, this isn't necessarily a guarantee. Some individuals have trouble landing a job after graduation because their field is too competitive or specialized. Therefore, it's best to do your research beforehand to determine which fields you're interested in.
Going to college is a large investment of time and resources, so it's important to make the right decision. Weighing the pros and cons can help you decide if college is right for you.