What is the Value of a College Education in Modern Times

Value of a College Education- students graduatingThere has been a lot of debate on whether a college education offers any real value in this day and age. The number of college graduates looking for jobs is on the increase with the ever changing dynamics of the job market. Still, there are also some highly successful people who never set foot in college.

Henry Ford attended the local school in Greenfield Township, Michigan where he grew up for 8 years and that was the end of his formal education. There is no doubt that he had a tremendous impact on the motor industry in the 20th century.

In this article we will explore the facts on college education, the pros and cons and whether you should be rushing to get that degree and if at all it’s really worth it.

Facts on college education

While the Henry Ford story may sound encouraging especially if you don’t have a college education, just understand that cases of rich low educated people are rare. The more educated will always have far better chances of becoming successful in life than those with minimal education.

According to the Atlantic.com the earnings premium for college graduates has rocketed to 73 percent—that is, those with a bachelor’s degree earn, on average, 73 percent more than those who have only a high-school diploma, up from about 50 percent in the late 1970’s.

The problem of unemployment among college graduates may not necessarily be directly related to colleges but the education system as a whole, starting from kindergarten.

I still remember spending hours in junior school studying subjects that I had absolutely no interest in. Not much has changed since.

There is still a massive disconnect between curricula that is taught in college verses the job market. Some students are taking subjects that are fast becoming obsolete.

Back in 2008, as a student of Graphic Design, I learned how to build websites using Flash Macromedia. A year later, WordPress was released and that relegated Flash and other website building platforms to the dark ages. Was it worth the money I paid for it?

Yes and no. Yes because it stirred my curiosity on how to build websites and no because I had to learn a new skill all over again.

Despite all that, colleges are still admitting people in the thousands every year so they are not going anywhere.

Pros and cons of a college education

Pros

Personal development: I would say the greatest asset that one acquires by going to college is personal development. People who go to college are better prepared to face life’s challenges and look for solutions to problems. College helps you to think critically. Part of college education is also about self discipline. I am sure you know that you can appreciate the importance of handing in your assignments on time. It is the same with life’s assignments.

Economic growth: It is estimated that college graduates earn 66% higher wages than high school graduates. These is because college graduates take up more specialized jobs. They in turn contribute to the overall growth of the economy of any region.

Path towards affluence: Over 80% of the world’s wealthiest people have a college education. The reasons are obvious. Knowledge is power and those who have it pretty much rule the world. As I mentioned earlier that is not to say that the less educated cannot rise to positions of privilege. It just means it’s a lot harder if you dropped out at 5th grade.

college basketballHealth benefits: College life is normally vigorous and highly competitive. A lot of college graduates are likely to take sport.  This sometimes continuous even after they graduate. Old habits die hard.

College graduates are also likely to take up life insurance and take better care of themselves. What’s all the money in the world worth if you have to spend it all on medical bills?

Relationships: Lifetime relationships are sometimes developed in college. As a college student you will meet people who are like minded, inspiring and good company to hang out with. Some of your college pals end up becoming becoming the people who will give you pointers to future opportunities. You know, knowing someone who knows somebody.

You can also find love in college. There are many people who end up marrying their college sweethearts. That is a sweet ending!

Cons

College is expensive. The cost of getting that college degree does not come cheap. Depending on what you are studying and the sort of institute you will be attending you will probably end up paying a couple of tens of thousands of dollars. You are not only paying college fees but your professor’s salary and the entire board of directors plus the management of the campus among many other things.

Unfortunately, we have a lot of young bright people out there who desire to go to college but simply can’t afford it. It’s a harsh reality but that is just the way it is.

value of a college education- student loanStudent loans: Many countries have systems that allow students to easily access student loans. By the by time people step out of campus into the real world there are already in debt even before they get their first job.

The second harsh reality is that some students will simply not be in a position to repay what they owe. Let’s face it. Jobs are getting really  scarce. It could be years before you land your first job.

Work Experience: Most people stepping out of college have no clue about how the real world works. That first interview is always a nightmare. Unless you are studying a course that allows you to study as you earn, most people will be seeing red because unless you have something to show to prove that you know what you are saying, you will probably not be getting that job.

What you will be getting is people asking for some sort of work experience. Here is a situation where you are getting the exam before the lesson. You may have to work for free just to get some experience.

Useless Qualifications: The world is changing at such a fast rate and we now have a situation where some of the things you study will become obsolete in a few years from now.

If you are studying on how to become a librarian, you might have to spend your days dusting books because a lot of people just Google for information these days.

We now have have self checkout machines in most major retails stores. That’s another career that is fast going down the drain for those working in the industry. Automation is becoming the norm in a lot of industries so some traditional jobs will simply be replaced by machines.

Overall Opinion

Is there value in a college education. Absolutely yes.

Don’t let an opportunity to go to college pass you just because you think you can go a long way by your own. There are things you will pick along during your time in college that will be beneficial throughout your life. I don’t think Mark Zuckerberg would be who he is today had it not be for his short time at Harvard.

Of greater importance is to study what you are passionate about. A lot people make the mistake of studying for the sake of it. That is how they end up in careers that they have little or no interest in. Passion is a bigger motivation than just hard work.

Are there alternatives to college

With the growth of the internet, there are endless opportunities to study. Many colleges are now offering online qualifications. The courses are of course cheaper since you don’t have pay all the overheads of running a campus.

If you are passionate about expanding your knowledge or working within an industry that you love, I would highly recommend you check out this community based online entrepreneur course and see whether its a good fit for you. It’s 100% FREE to get started. (No Credit Card details required)

Many thanks for reading my post. If you have a question or a comment on the value of a college education, please leave it below. I would love to hear from you.

 

Leonard

Hi there. Great to connect with you. I worked as a graphic designer for many years but could not seem to make much headway. A few years ago I discovered internet marketing and that is how this blog was born. Hazina is a Swahili word which means treasure. It’s what we do here. We help people just like you find their own online treasure. Check out this amazing community based online education program that has helped me build a successful online business and how you too can have a piece of the action.

14 Comments:

  1. ODavid

    Wow! What an engaging post it is… There are advantages and disadvantages of either attending college or not. I will agree with you that “the greatest asset that one acquires by going to college is personal development. People who go to college are better prepared to face life’s challenges and look forfor solutions.”
    In conclusion, while colleges are expensive i think it is a great idea to enroll in one if the funds are available. Thank you for this great article.

    • Leonard

      Hi David. Thanks for stopping by. Glad you liked the article

  2. Mike Viray

    Nice take on the topic. I think that different people situations and evolving needs have redefined the importance of a college degree – some people need it, some people can make it without one. I think it still boils down to what suits you and your environment. I like that you gave insight on both sides of the picture.Thanks for writing this.
     

    • Leonard

      Hi Mike. You are absolutely right. It all boils down to a person’s initiative and what they want to achieve. There is no need to spend years studying something that you have little interest in. At the end of it it’s up to you to decide what path you want to follow. As I mentioned, passion will get you further than just sheer hard work. 

      Thanks for dropping in. Really appreciate your comment

  3. Hbee

    This is a great article. I really like how you haven given both pros and cons. I think within today’s society education is vital. With a higher level of education you will easily get those top ranked jobs as opposed to someone without high levels of education. But I have seen a few people with low levels of education also get into jobs where they are earning a great salary so i guess it may be down to luck as well!

    • Leonard

      Hi Hbee. True their might be an element of luck but I suppose the easiest way to get lucky is through hard work. I know people who never got a chance to go to college who are very successful. A great work ethic and consistent effort to better yourself will go a long way even for those with minimal education. 

      Thanks for you comment

  4. LABULO FUNMILAYO

    The truth still remains ,the power of education can never be underestimated. A lot of things might be going wrong as a result of poor economic system and policy making affecting the rate of unemployment, but with education you can surely develop skills  and build relationships that can make you self independent. Klye and Carson could not have come up with wealthy affiliate without the knowledge acquired in college. Thanks for this beautiful post , it really interesting and informative.

    • Leonard

      Hi Labulo. All knowledge is power. A college education goes a long way in creating a successful future. I am glad you found my article useful. Thanks for your kind comment. 

  5. Musbau Shittu

    Great article on value of college education, in my humble opinion I think the surest way to increase wage potential. In other words investment in in a college education yields an extremely strong return on investment, a college education can provide a student in specialized training in a particular field. Again, thanks for sharing this article.

    • Leonard

      Hi Musbau. I am glad you found my article useful. A college education is certainly worth the investment.

  6. Vapz

    Wow, a whole lotta truth in all that you have written. A college education with all its benefits has a big log of cons hanging over it too. Parents who would be able to pay for their kids college education usually have to see them as an investment or just have to work even longer in order to be able to not retire to penury. And when the students pay the tuition,they have a big debt hanging over their necks until they can get a job to gradually offset it.

    Even as I raise my kids,I am encouraging them to not depend on college degrees,they must have a clearcut career by the time the graduate high school ,so that they can only see the college degree they are going to get as formality.

    • Leonard

      Hi Vaps. Debt is one thing that many college students have to live with for many years. Some parents do make a huge sacrifice to get their kids to college and that is great. True, a college degree doesn’t guarantee a job after graduation. It is indeed important to guide your kids so that they are prepared for the future that lies ahead. I have friends who finished college, could not find jobs and so spent years languishing at home. As a college student it’s good to just think outside the box.

      Thanks for your comment.

  7. matthew

    Hi. Thank you for sharing this great article about the benefits of going to college. 

    I am having first hand experience with this at the moment. 

    My stepson finished school last year and wants to be a lawyer, so he had started attending a college this year. 

    It has been a blessing in disguise. 

    As his workload has significantly increased, a big step up from school. If he went straight to university without this step up I don’t think he would have coped with the amount he had to learn. 

    If he sticks at it and succeed he will make the big money so college would have definitely been with it for us  

    Take care and good luck to you  

    • Leonard

      Hi Matthew. College is definitely worth it. Good to hear your step son is pursuing his dreams of becoming a lawyer. Best of wishes to him. Thanks for dropping in

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