Is College Worth the Time and Money?


The growing cost of college tuition and unpaid student loans makes young adults wonder if the time and money is actually worth the degree; many consider it a privilege to attend and afford college. While many argue that college is a waste of time and the degree has no benefits, attending college has multiple benefits beyond degrees and majors; having students and faculty to help guide one another into the adult world sets students above those making the transition on their own. The unique experiences and underlying education provided by colleges and universities is worth the cost and commitment.

To jumpstart a successful career, a college education provides young adults with knowledge and mastery before entering the workforce. Acceptance and graduation from a university demonstrates high-level thinking skills and an understanding of a specific field, a requirement for many well-paying jobs. An employer will favor those who have dedicated their time and effort into expanding their knowledge and opening their mind, and will be less persuaded by an applicant with no higher education and experience. While some careers may not require a degree, it can serve as a backbone in case a business plan or individual trade job goes wrong along with appealing to employers in construction, police departments, and salespeople, just to list a few (Source D). A college degree is flexible in the idea that a pursued major can qualify graduates for a spectrum of jobs in the industry and provide the opportunity to explore passions further. A worker may stay in the same job for years before wanting a change of scenery. A degree will allow for them to explore different options and qualify them for higher positions, while those without will have a harder time being accepted into new environments.

Social skills learned at colleges and universities are unable to be learned in other environments. No situation will provide young adults with the freedom they need while also guiding them along the way. Instead of relying on two parents, a university has hundreds or thousands of faculty and gives students the opportunity to find advice that will help them individually and provide the resources to gain different perspectives. Students can also learn from each other: colleges take in students of different backgrounds, ethnicities, and morals from across the country, and even the globe. Engaging in student life teaches students about a world beyond their hometown and the vast differences between countries. The ability to recognize differences in a non-judgemental way will improve the overall character of students in the working industry and their interpersonal skills by addressing issues with a dialectical approach, “combining focus and flexibility” (Source B) into the real world. No work environment or social gathering imitates a scene as diverse as college. Skipping the chance to attend college keeps young adults in their own perfect reality and leads to dismissive, discriminitive behavior; a trait that, if obtained by enough adolescents and young adults, will poison the incoming generations and divide society further. 

The idea that college wastes time and money has gained popularity throughout the years. College costs continue to rise and only provide students with student loans, making it difficult to pay bills, buy a home, and even pursue a career (Source F); the complete opposite of what colleges promote. This leaves young adults hesitant to go to college and instead break away from society’s standards and pursue their own ideas. Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal, believes that college is unnecessary for success, and provides selected students with grants in hopes they invest into their future quicker than an education would (Source E). While hoping to inspire others to follow dreams instead of education, this does more harm than good. First off, Thiel grants awards to students from high-end, prestigious universities: Harvard, MIT, and Stanford (Source E). Students attending these schools are already highly talented and intelligent and think more creatively than the average student. Some students will not recognize the difference between themselves and gifted students and will decide to follow their own path, but the intellectual differences between honors and average students will result in different outcomes. Talented students have a higher chance of success, while average students do not have the creative thinking skills and risk unemployment, bankruptcy, or poverty. When these students with no college are unsuccessful in starting their own businesses from scratch, they will not have a degree to back them up and will have to apply to college late in adulthood and already drowning in debt. Students can earn a basic degree in marketing that are applicable to a variety of careers, providing them with comfort if they fail and provide a stable job By paying students to leave college, Thiel is promoting instability and uncertainty, and stripping young adults of knowledge and experience that would benefit them for the rest of their lives.

While college has worrisome flaws, the overall education and preparation students get before being sent off into the world is crucial for success. Attending college greatly guarantees a well-paying, stable spot in the workforce and pays itself off in the long run. Those who cherish their education and work hard will be able to handle money responsibly and pay off their debts because they have learned, through college, what is a priority and what they need to sacrifice. Parents will be able to provide for their children not only financially, but in a supportive manner that strives children to become the best versions of themselves. Being able to provide not only for oneself, but for others should indicate the worth of college beyond a monetary cost and encourage people to achieve a higher education.

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