Is College Really Worth The Effort?

Mikayla Carpenter, Staff Writer

LOS ANGELES, CA – APRIL 23: A student walks near Royce Hall on the campus of UCLA on April 23, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. According to reports, half of recent college graduates with bachelor’s degrees are finding themselves underemployed or jobless. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

College plays a huge role in a student’s life. It is an experience that not many people forget, but is college important enough to put so much money and time into it?

Most schools encourage high school students to get a college education after high school – why is that? “Generally speaking, many employers like to know they are hiring someone who has proven they have what it takes to be successful. College is a great way to show employers you are intelligent, hardworking, reliable, and educated,” said guidance counselor Mark Smith. 

Despite Smith’s reasoning, however, it’s undeniable that there are many alternatives to college after graduating from high school. For example, senior Kaden Crone has decided to join the military after graduation, stating “I think the military is a good career path to gain some experience, [and] I didn’t want to be thousands of dollars in debt from college tuition.” Indeed, the average cost of college tuition in the state of PA is about $27 thousand per year, so graduating with debt is very much a legitimate concern. 

Furthermore, many college students get their degree and never use it after graduating. For instance, about 10.4% of the U.S. population is currently in college, and about 40% of college students drop out prior to graduating. 

So, is the time and money invested in college really worth it? Again, Smith explained that “college allows you to gain living experience, knowledge, and skills that can be applied to most real world situations. I believe it is in everyone’s best interest to go out and gain knowledge, training, and experience. I do not feel college is the only way to gain those things, but it is one of the more reliable options.” 

As such, it’s clear that while college can be necessary in some situations,  it is not the only path by which one can find success moving forward from high school.