15 Good Reasons Why People Should Attend College

FT Contributor
A college student sits on some stairs while holding textbooks.
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Going to college can be a lot of work. You must juggle the responsibility of going to class, doing homework, studying for exams, and working on the side — it can feel overwhelming at times. Add on a pile of student loans that you’ll need to pay off when you’re finished, and it can be easy to throw in the towel before you even get started.

While there are certainly viable alternatives to college, there are many very important benefits to attending college that shouldn’t be overlooked. Here are a few of the best reasons you should consider going to college.

1. Community Involvement

Having a passion for involvement in your community is a good thing, but passion will only get you so far. Going to college can provide opportunities for learning how to effectively focus on impacting your community.

Joining clubs, working on a school paper, or participating in student government can all provide opportunities to safely cut your teeth and learn how an efficient community-focused operation functions.

2. Chose a Career

If you’re graduating or recently graduated high school, you’re probably sick and tired of being asked what your career is going to be. According to Career Planner, there are over 12,000 different kinds of careers, which explains why so many high schoolers suffer from a case of career analysis paralysis.

If you’re struggling with choosing a professional path, college can be a good place to figure that out. Taking classes in a variety of different subjects can help you find your strengths and discover what sparks your interest.

3. Discover Who You Are

College is often seen as a place where you go to learn hard skills. Memorizing mathematical formulas, conducting lab experiments, editing papers, and participating in sports are all tangible skills you can write down on a resume — but there’s another side to the experience as well: self-discovery.

Taking three or four years to devote to your education can be the perfect opportunity to learn more about who you are as a person. What are you interested in? How do you function? Are you a social person? Time spent on campus can provide answers and move you towards self-actualization.

4. Expand Career Options

It’s estimated that by 2020 65% of all jobs in the U.S. economy will require postsecondary education.

In other words, a college education will vastly increase the number of jobs you qualify for. Going to college can leave the door open to expand your career in the future.

5. Free Accommodations

Smaller items like internet bills and gym memberships can add up quickly. However, college often has a variety of resources and accommodations that are free for students to access.

Whether you’re looking for a racquetball court, a swimming pool, or a Wi-Fi connection, you’ll be able to gain access to them for free while you’re a college student. You can also take advantage of student discounts in many places off-campus.

6. Financial Responsibility

College can be an excellent place to learn about financial responsibility. You’ll have ample opportunities to develop good spending habits as you learn to create a personal budget, balance student loans, pay for living expenses, and maintain a social life.

7. Gain Your Independence

A few years spent on campus can provide a chance to establish yourself. You will be able to make your own decisions, plan your own schedule, and live your own lifestyle without the rules and expectations of others influencing your decisions.

8. Get Exposure and Experience

Often college is the best place to gain exposure and experience within your field of study.

While there’s truth to the idea of “learning on the job,” in many cases the college setting allows you to more thoroughly learn and grow without the need to be in a high-pressure work scenario.

9. Health Insurance Coverage

It’s a matter of fact: if you have a college degree, you’re more likely to have health insurance.

Whether it was through private or government providers, in 2017 over 90% of those with an associate’s degree or higher were covered by health insurance, as opposed to less than 85% of those who only graduated high school.

10. Increase Your Lifetime Income Potential

If you enter your career with a college diploma, you’re more likely to earn more money. In fact, to put things in perspective, the median weekly earnings for high school dropouts was $606 in 2019, whereas those with an advanced degree made $1,559 per week — nearly triple the number.

11. Job Security

While unemployment rates have been low in recent years, it’s dangerous to count on them staying that way. What you can count on, though, is the fact that a college degree provides more job security.

In August of 2018, the unemployment rate for those with a bachelor’s degree and higher was 2.1%. For those without a high school diploma, the number stood at 5.7%.

12. Learning New Things and Skills

While it’s easy to focus on the utilitarian nature of a college degree, attending college also provides unique opportunities to learn new things. You can compete in a sport, participate in student activities, and even join a chess club.

In addition, you can hone skills that you may never otherwise get around to learning. For instance, time spent at college often allows you to develop soft skills such as:

  • Leadership.
  • Communication.
  • Teamwork.
  • Problem-solving.
  • Interpersonal skills.
  • Time management.

13. Make Connections

Two-thirds of job seekers

 utilize personal connections and professional contacts when searching for a job.

A college career allows you to make connections and begin to build your professional network. As you interact with professors, lecturers, and fellow students, you’ll be able to gain exposure and knowledge that will be invaluable when you launch your career after graduation.

14. New Location

Whether you’re an adventurer or a homebody, everyone needs a change of scenery from time to time.

While the costs and work associated with getting a degree are too high for this to be the only motivation, it doesn’t change the fact that time spent on a college campus can be the perfect way to shake things up and get you focused on the future.

15. Start a Family Tradition

Going to college can be a good way to start a family tradition. According to a study by the National Center for Education Statistics, only 26% of students with parents who did not have a degree enrolled in a four-year college. The number rose to 45% for students whose parents did have a degree.

If you’ve decided that you want to attend college, but you’re still worried about the financial challenges, it’s an understandable concern. Fortunately, we have a number of resources dedicated to gauging the cost of college, going back to college as a parent, and saving money while you’re at college.

In addition, there are a variety of different ways you can pay for college, including grants, scholarships, traditional loans, and credit cards.

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