There are a number of big decisions we make in our lives. Will we have children? When will we get married? Where will we live? What do we want to do for a living? One of the biggest questions, however, the question that will influence what other decisions we eventually have to make, is: will I go to college?
Making the choice to continue your education after high school is a huge step, one that must be approached with great care and a good deal of research into different opportunities at different universities, in different fields of study and what kind of careers will be available to you. You might question whether continuing on to college is worth it; you’ve just earned your High School diploma and you probably don’t like the idea of continuing on for a minimum of another four years.
Something to keep in mind is that “postsecondary education” doesn’t always have to mean a four-year-college; internships, vocational training, technical schools, apprenticeships, they can all be considered “postsecondary education.” So long as you continue your education in a field of interest, you’re educating yourself and bettering your chances of a great career. Making the decision to continue your formal education, however, is a decision that cannot be made lightly; let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of continuing on to postsecondary education at a university.
Yes, I will readily admit that there are down-sides to continuing your formal education at a college or university. Let’s go over a few of them.
- Investment. As it is discussed on com, returning to school or continuing your education is both a financial and timely investment. You will have less free time to spend watching TV, going out with your friends, seeing your family and less money to spend on the newest iPhone, tickets to see your favorite band in concert or go out on the weekends. Making the commitment to continue your education is a huge investment that you need to prepare for and understand before you make the final decision. You need to ask yourself whether or not you are comfortable investing not only your money, but sacrificing your “free time” to further your education.
- Tuition prices are constantly changing. When you research your preferred schools, you might take a look at their tuition prices, crunch some numbers and decide that you would be more than capable of making the payment if you budget correctly. Whether you go to a private or a public school, in the state you live in or out of state, the tuition prices will fluctuate every year. According to the article “Trends in Higher Education” on College Board, private school tuition can start as high as $34,000 (rounded up). If you were to add the cost of room and board to the tuition price, you’re looking at roughly $45,000 per year. These tuitions, however, are never set in stone and can increase due to a number of reasons, the most common of which is a decrease in state funding. According to the Wikipedia article “College tuition in the United States,” government reduction of financial support for state universities requires the colleges to get their funding from a different source: the students. When state funding goes down, student tuition fees go up to ensure the university has the means to continue. Private schools receive no government support and must receive their funding from tuition fees; since private universities receive no government assistance, tuitions usually rise with inflation to keep the schools running.
While finances can be a huge concern when considering continuing your education, there are a great number of benefits that make the decision worth it. For example, everyone will tell you that going to college and getting your degree will increase the number of career opportunities you will have. While that is true, there is so much more that continuing your higher education can do for you! Here are some things to keep in mind to motivate you to pursue a postsecondary degree.
- Job availability. According to com, jobs that only require a high-school diploma are rapidly decreasing, while those requiring college degrees only continue to increase! The Art of Manliness writer Jeremy Anderberg points out in his article that careers in fields like mathematics, sciences, engineering and technology will always require higher education degrees. Even if your interest isn’t in these fields, careers such as teachers, nurses, therapists, etc. will require some kind of postsecondary education. Pursuing a degree says something about you to employers; it says you are dedicated, unafraid of hard work, committed and intellectual!
- Financial aid. I think we can agree that the biggest “con” to higher education is the amount of money it will cost. As I discussed earlier, tuition fees will change and you will likely go into debt just to make sure you are able to buy your text books, pay lab fees and eat three meals a day. However, it is important to remember that few students pay full price for their education. Loans, grants, scholarships, they are all available and ready to make going to college much more affordable! Talking to a financial aid advisor or meeting with your school’s financial aid offices will help you find scholarships, loans and grants that fit your needs and qualifications! College can be ridiculously expensive, but not impossibly. On this note, I will share some wisdom a mentor of mine shared with me: at some point in your life, you may go into debt; if you take out a loan to pay for a new car or a new house, they can repossess it, they can’t take back your degree. If you are going to go into debt, a college degree is your smartest option! Your degree can’t be repossessed, all it can do is help you find a career that will allow you to pay off that loan!
- Unemployment rates go down and salaries go up! According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment rates for individuals with Bachelor’s to Doctoral degrees can be as low as 2.7-1.6%! Unemployment rates for those who chose to not continue their education ranges from about 4.4-7.4%. If improved career opportunities isn’t enough to motivate you, according to Brad Tuttle’s article on time.com college graduates can earn salaries starting at $53,000 a year, while according to Amelia Josephson’s article those who don’t pursue a degree can only make around $26,000-38,000 a year. Not only will your career opportunities increase with a college degree, but you will soon be making more than enough money to easily pay off the student loans that originally had you so concerned!
There are pros and cons to every major decision you will make in your life. However, if you talk to anyone who has ever gone to college or continued their education in any way, very few will ever tell you that it was a mistake, or that they regret the decision to get their degree. More often than not, the “pros” to making the choice to get your degree will far outweigh the “cons.” Any huge decision you make will be filled with doubt and uncertainty, but not every choice will guarantee that you won’t regret taking the risk: pursuing higher education will never make you look back with regret, because wherever you end up in life after earning your degree, you will inadvertently owe it to the fact that you went back to school.
If you are interested in looking into the kind of opportunities Fremont College can offer you, explore our website! Look into our various degrees, our financial aid and our admissions process! The beginning to your amazing career and your educational adventure starts with us!
*In no way does Fremont College promise or guarantee employment or level of income/wages.