Is College Worth It?


Ameena Cole-Black

Is college worth it? Every senior I know has asked themselves this question, whether as a joke or not. I think that it’s a legitimate question. When deciding what you should do or go after high school, college is the first place people suggest. Why? What makes college so great and worthwhile that its seems like such an obvious choice. Is it the education that you will receive,the opportunities that you could have access to, the parties that will be thrown, or the life long friends people say you will make. I say you could look at it two ways, there’s a good and bad side.

I’ll start with the bad. One of the first things you have to think about when choosing a college is tuition. Money is always a determining factor in just about everything, and college is expensive. The average cost of one year at a public university is around $20,000 which increase if you go out of state so a full 4-year degree will amount to around $80,000. That’s only for a public university, tuition at a private university would be significantly higher. Most people are willing to go through the stress of figuring out how they could afford it. That unfortunately is the problem, because most families can’t afford the education that they want. There are scholarships and grants that they can receive, but it’s rare for those alone to pay for the full tuition. What most people end up doing is taking out thousands of dollars in loans, in the hopes that once they graduate they will find a good paying job and pay off those loans. In reality, that is also another rare occurrence. Out of the 40 million American students that take out loans, around 14% owe at the minimum $50,000 in debt. It is hard to find a job that helps pay off that debt, regardless of the degree you acquire. There seems to be only a limited amount of degrees that guarantees you a job that could potentially pay off your debt after colleges, some of those would be marketing, economics, management, and computer science/engineering . Businesses, social media, and technology are growing at an exponential rate, so employees are in high demand.

Nevertheless, more and more young adults are going into the workforce early instead of going to college. Could it be because our generation understands the importance of getting a head start or the redundancy of spending thousands of dollars for a degree and opportunities just to be stuck in debt with a low paying job. Jacqueline Calvillo of ‘19 said that “ I would rather get a good paying job right after high school and begin providing for myself, instead of wasting my time in college and graduate without being able to pay my mortgage.”. Money is not the only consideration that young adults take when deciding if they should skip college, they also have to think about what career they want to pursue. Fernanda Rios of ‘19 pointed out that “ certain skills are required for certain careers”, for example she wants to be a pilot so in order for her to get a job she need to get her degree “regardless of the price”. Others believe that going into the workforce early reduces the stress that comes along with the college process.
Samuel Carter of ‘20 says that “ I know a lot of people that went to college because of the expectation and didn’t make it through because of how stressful it was. Deciding if they should major in their passion or what will get them a ‘comfortable’ life and how they were going to pay for it all was too much for them. I don’t want that to happen to me.”
Even though there are bad things that sway people away from college, there are also good things. A big part of going to college for a lot of young adults is the experience. The chance to study with and meet people from all over the world, and learn from them. The chance to immerse themselves in different cultures they may have never had the opportunity to explore before. Being able to work with so many different types of people, according to Hailey Love class of ‘21, “provides you with practice of how it really is in the real world”. It could be said that the whole purpose of college is to prepare you for what life is like after school, not only in the workforce but in your personal life. It can be assumed that most of the student that enroll in away college have never lived on their own. Maybe it’s their first time doing their laundry or shopping for their own groceries. Evelia Calderon of‘20 believes that one of the benefits of going to college and living in a dorm is the “first true taste of independence” that the students will experience. Some celebrate that freedom by going to parties and living their youth years to the fullest, others start planning ahead.

Going to college is a big decision, a decision that requires a lot of thought. By no means are these the only positive and negatives of colleges, but they are things to think about. So now I ask again, is college worth it?