Is A College Education Worth It?

Parents always want the best for their kids, and that usually involves saving for their kids’ college tuition, especially if those parents didn’t have a chance to finish college or even go to college at all. But is college all it’s cracked up to be? Here are some pros and cons.

PROS

1. College graduates earn more money than those with only a high school diploma. It’s been proven that college grads make twice and three times (with an advanced degree) than students with high school diplomas.

2. College graduates have better job ops and more of them.

3. Kids meet students from outside their neighborhoods and as a result, become worldly. If all a child knows in school are the kids from his community, then that can be limiting. Interacting with others from different social, religious, and ethnic backgrounds serves to broaden your child’s experience, empathy, and tolerance.

4. College grads are more active in their communities than non-college grads. The healthier a community is, the more companies will want to move in, and greater jobs will follow. Grads have been shown to volunteer in their communities, be alumni support for their alma maters or other socially responsible activities.

5. A college graduate has realized an achievement that many cannot. A degree serves as the foundation for a student’s career and life, whether he ends up in the field he majored in or not.

CONS

1. Student loan debt has spiraled out of control for the majority of students. As a result, they later have to default on their loans or file for bankruptcy. And despite some colleges and universities offering “free” tuition, the cost of room and board, books, and other related expenses still adds up to a major strain on the budget.

2. A glut of students earning degrees has diluted their value. Twenty and thirty years ago, earning a bachelor’s degree was sufficient to garner grads well-paying jobs. Not anymore. These days, bachelor’s degrees are seen as a dime-a-dozen in the same way as high school diplomas used to be.

3. A college degree in no way guarantees a job. College counselors, friends, family and even students themselves, might be under the false belief that a degree means guaranteed work and solid, ongoing work. The bottom line? It doesn’t. Unless a graduate is grandfathered into a company, has strong contacts or networking skills, he’s out there with the millions of other grads competing for the few jobs available.

4. It’s possible to succeed without a degree, but tenacity plays a big part in success, as these non-degree holders have shown.

Richard Branson, founder/chairman, the Virgin Group

Walt Disney, founder, the Disney Corporation

Bill Gates, founder, Microsoft

Steve Jobs, co-founder, Apple

Steve Wozniak, co-founder, Apple

Mark Zuckerberg, founder, Facebook

Micky Arison, CEO, Carnival Corporation

College tuition has risen faster than earned income. And financial aid doesn’t stretch as far as it used to.

Even if your child doesn’t seem interested in college, it’s not as if all hope is lost. Many high schools have a travel abroad program, which can broaden a student’s life experience and get him excited and better prepared for higher learning. Students can also choose to take a “gap year” between high school and college to travel, get a job, or just live life. Whatever happens, try your best not to be a “stage mom” and force your kids onto paths they just don’t want to take.