By the time they reach their senior year, kids have been in school at least twelve years—longer if they attended pre-school or kindergarten programs or if they had to repeat a grade. It’s no wonder that many students want to embark on their lives instead of committing to another four years or more of education.
There are benefits, however, to having a college degree in hand before you set off into the world. The first benefit is financial. According to the Education Resources Information Center (ERIC), people with bachelor’s degrees earn, over their lifetimes, almost a million dollars more than people who stopped education after high school.
Even though the thought of getting a college education may make you feel like you’ll never have free time again, ERIC also found that college-educated students actually had more leisure time and enjoyed more hobbies than did people who went into the work force directly from high school. This is probably because people with a college education were able to land jobs that paid better and offered better benefits such as vacation time.
WorldWideLearn points out that a college education, even an associate’s degree, improves your chance of getting in the door with employers. In fact, some employers will not even consider applicants who haven’t gone to college.
Also, unlike people entering the workforce thirty or forty years ago, you can no longer expect to work for the same company throughout your professional life. A college education makes it easier for you to move from one job to another as the need arises.
WorldWideLearn also points out that going to college doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing proposition. Many people seek an associate’s degree from a trade school or junior college. Even people in a four-year program may decide to go to school part time and work part time. Programs such as internships, work study, etc. may make it possible for you to get the life experience you crave without foregoing the college education which can help you advance professionally over your lifetime.