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Many people are told through their whole childhood that college is an absolute requirement to be successful in life. Whether it happens in school, at home, or anywhere else, there always seems to be someone handing out reminders that college is important. Furthermore, some kids feel as though their family would be disappointed if they did not attend college, which makes it much more appealing. Considering that college is regarded as an extremely important part of life, it should be easy to describe why right? Well, it’s not exactly that easy.
College-level education is a requirement for many jobs in America, and those jobs will not hire you if you have not attended college. There are alternative jobs that are available for those who do not attend college, but they aren’t quite the same in regards to salary and benefits. Despite being helpful, a college education is not an absolute necessity. Especially in this day and age, more and more jobs are becoming available without a college degree requirement.
Some of these jobs even offer great benefits, resembling the jobs that do require a college education. More importantly, jobs that do not require a college education are much more convenient for the average everyday person in most areas, which means that more people will have a better source of income.
Even though college is considered to be very important in many ways, including experience, education, opportunities, and much more, college is also very expensive, time-consuming, and stressful. Some people would rather not pay tens of thousands of dollars for four years of education, which is absolutely understandable.
People who attend college are required to pay for their class equipment, housing, food, and travel expenses. These expenses are normally too much for people to pay, which leads them to take out student loans, and eventually causes them to go into debt. Debt is arguably the biggest risk of going to college and drives a large number of people away from the idea. Apart from the financial risks, the mental health of people who attend college is also at constant risk. Maintaining a social life, keeping up with classes, and possibly working a job can build up lots of stress in people.
Perhaps the most appealing part of attending college is life afterward. On average, college graduates earn more money than those who do not graduate from college. According to the BLS, college graduates actually have a higher salary than most people who do not graduate from college. “…workers with a bachelor’s degree earned an average of $464 more per week than workers with only a high school diploma” (Susan Bogle, Southern New Hampshire University). Not only do college graduates make more money on average, but college graduates are also much less likely to struggle with unemployment. Employers always look for college graduates to hire, and would most likely hire a college graduate sooner than they would hire someone with only a high school diploma. “According to the BLS, just 2.7% of workers with a bachelor’s degree are facing unemployment, compared to 5.2% of workers with only a high school diploma” Susan Bogle, Southern New Hampshire University.
While the college presents many great benefits and opportunities, it also has some negative aspects. Choosing to attend college is subsequently choosing to give up four or more years of your life. Getting a bachelor’s degree typically takes about four years to accomplish, but it can take even longer if you decide to take time off of school or explore other majors. Apart from the time a person would lose by attending college, they would also have to face the risk that they may not be able to find a job that requires their degree or major. After all the time and hard work spent in college, people are still not guaranteed a job. In addition to the time lost and risk of unemployment, a person who attends college will also more than likely be in debt. “According to Student Loan Hero, the average student loan debt for the class of 2017 was $39,400” (The PO Box Blog).
One important factor to be considered is the history of success derived from a college-level education. In other words, many college graduates have become successful in their life, possibly due to their college attendance. Many of our world’s most admirable people have been college graduates, which must make it much more appealing to people facing the decision. Steve Jobs, co-creator of Apple, graduated from De Anza College. Steve Jobs is a tell-tale sign of success from college, and the idea that many people decide to go to college after inspiration from him doesn’t sound unlikely. Admittedly, Steve Jobs had a brilliant mind, which most likely contributed to his wealth and success. However, his college career was crucial to his public appearance, which made his college attendance very important to his career. Other big-time celebrities are college graduates as well, including Tom Hanks, who graduated from Chabot College, and Clint Eastwood, who graduated from Los Angeles City College. (Devon Smith, PhD).
Considering whether a college degree increases one’s likeliness of success, the thought of how difficult it is to get into college in the first place must come into play. Part of the whole appeal of college is how much more money one could earn, so when obstacles begin to block people from getting the chance to experience the college, those people start to lose interest. Then, the thought of the stress, loss of time, and the amount of money lost must be considered. The realization that one would be deep in debt, and extremely stressed as a result of attending college makes college seem very unappealing. Furthermore, one must consider the thought of all the benefits and opportunities that are achieved by attending college, as they are the key parts of the whole idea of college. One would be left with a question to ask themselves, “Is it all worth it? All the money and time lost? All the stress?”, and depending on their answer, they may not decide to attend college at all. However, the chances of being successful are definitely increased by earning a college degree.
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