Is College Worth It: The Pros and Cons

Ashley Comeau and Sara Hughes

The number of students projected to attend American colleges and universities in fall 2018 is 19.9 million. Most of those students will graduate with an average debt of $29,800. Some people believe college is worth it for higher employment rates, bigger salaries, and more work benefits than high school graduates. However, others say it just leaves a student with debt from loans that are tremendously daunting. That being said, is college worth it?

If you are fresh out of high school most people would be thrilled to be more independent. However, this cycle can be unforgiving. With this fresh independence kids can get trapped in this lifestyle and never consider going to college because it is “comfortable”. College is a crucial next step for a young adult to consider.  People may find security in going to college after high school. Graduating without knowing what comes next can be scary, and the uncertainty is absolutely dreadful. So naturally, the next step would be to ease into the college environment.

College can set up the next years of your life and place you with a stable job. As claimed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median weekly earnings of full-time wage and salary of workers age 25 and older were $909 in the second quarter of 2017. Compared with $718 for high school graduates who did not attend college and $1,189 for those with a bachelor’s degree. Full-time workers with advanced degrees, such as professional or master’s degrees and above, had median weekly earnings of $1,451. After looking at this information, it is clear that college can better prepare you for when it is time to pay your own mortgage and other bills.  

Not only is college a smart idea career-wise, but people also enjoy going to college to receive a degree as well as gaining the “college experience.” When we interviewed a former Ipswich High School attendee, Keeghan Hughes, she had a lot of things to say about her experience in college, stating, “The skills and knowledge I have acquired throughout my college experiences, I have not received anywhere else. The college has made me a better person and even if I make the same amount of money as someone who did not go to college I still feel I have gained knowledge and expertise that they have not.” Attending college is a great way to branch out from hometown friends and gain new social skills.  It can allow you to create a whole new image and have people perceive you the way you wish to be perceived.

Drowning in college debt, as people say, is not an uncommon occurrence in the U.S..  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, among the Class of 2018, 69% of college students took out student loans, and they graduated with an average debt of $29,800.” The debt from college loans delays many graduates from saving for retirement, buying a house, or even getting married. Some argue that success does not require a college diploma. Look at trade schools churning out successful, high paying jobs for people. Many of these trade jobs do not require a college degree.

We believe that college is a societal expectation that this is the only way you will succeed in life. A lot of people do succeed without going to college and just because you went to college does not mean you have perfected every skill and mastered your career choice. The cost of getting an education is also too high.

Everyone is expected to go to a prestigious college, get a “good” degree, and then pay the price. The price is not based on what our education is worth, but rather how much money corporations can make off of social expectations. Many people we consider successful either dropped out of college or never attended at all. Some of those people include Ellen Degeneres: comedian and actress, Michael Dell: founder of Dell, Inc., Walt Disney: Disney Corporation founder, Bill Gates: Microsoft founder, Steve Jobs: the co-founder of Apple, Steve Wozniak: the co-founder of Apple, and Mark Zuckerberg: founder of Facebook. If you have the passion and drive to do something, don’t blindly believe that a college degree is the only way to obtain your goals. College is not meant for everyone and it is not necessarily the next step after high school.

With America’s total student loan debt now over $1.4 trillion, committing to college is a big financial decision. While there are many pros and cons, it comes down to the individual. Whether you think you are ready for college or not is a decision you must weigh with your family, friends, and yourself.