Getting a college education has never been more expensive than it is right now, yet, most people consider a college degree integral to any future success. But why? Obviously, there are many outstanding professionals who have managed to excel without a college degree. What’s more, there are plenty of ways to get an education outside of the traditional collegiate setup. So again the question is: why does society place such a premium on attending college? Here, we’ll explain the real, but often overlooked, benefits to collegiate studies and demonstrate the true value of higher education:
Skills vs Knowledge
There’s a misconception that young people attend college to learn facts and figures. That the entire point of attending college is to enable a person to find gainful employment in the “real world.” Yet, the actual objective of going to college should be to learn problem-solving skills. Essentially, college students should strive to “learn how to learn,” while in class. Considering that many students switch majors at some point, and many more end up working in fields unrelated to their degree, learning how to tackle assignments and stay organized is often significantly more important than picking up specialized knowledge.
The internet has made the world a smaller place. Now, professionals can interact with associates in Moscow, Melbourne, or Montana with just the click of a button. However, one shouldn’t discount the positive effects a college experience can have to broaden the horizons of young minds. Going away to a university will expose a student to new ways of thinking, new cultures, new friends, and new possibilities. College isn’t just about “self-discovery;” it’s just as much a chance to explore the world at large. Nothing else –– online or otherwise –– can quite replicate this experience.
Whether a student wants to work with high pressure homogenizers or build theatrical sets, everyone needs a little help to achieve their dreams. To wit, college campuses enable students to not only find mentors and discuss career opportunities with leading members of their desired field, but also to collaborate with their peers. It’s never too early to start making meaningful business connections, and no one can put a price on meeting a lifelong friend at college.
Though it’s true that most employers will favor job applicants with a college education, the advantages of a college degree need to extend beyond a simple piece of paper to justify such a substantial investment. Therefore, it’s always important to view graduating from college in proper context. It really isn’t an culmination so much as it is a step toward bigger and better things.