With a Student Loan Crisis on Hand… Is College Still Worth it?

We just got a letter in the mail from discover about student loans with the message “Don’t let high costs stop you from getting a higher education.” It goes on to say all the benefits of the offer and how Discover can help. Well, maybe you should let those high costs stop you from going to college. These articles get posted a lot more frequently now, but the student loan debt continues to rise. So we need to ask ourselves again, “Is college worth it.”

Here are some ways it is worth it in no particular order.

• It forces you to complete something and work towards an end goal.
• It will help you make more money in the long term compared to not going and just having a high school degree.
• You will learn. That is the whole point of college right?
• If learning is not the whole point, then you will definitely grow as a person being away for the first time if you don’t commute to school. You will also be exposed to a wide range of topics, activities, and people.
• It looks good on a starting resume and some jobs require it.

Those are all good reasons to go to school and as someone who graduated with a bachelors, I can say college did help. The thing I wish I knew back then was that you can accomplish most of these things you learn in school on your own, much cheaper, and maybe in a faster time if you have good self discipline and are content always improving your knowledge. Let’s counter the same points made above without going to college.

• There are many things you can do on your own to show that you can start something and finish it. It is easier than ever to start a business or share your skills or passions. This gives you real world experiences as well.
• This one can vary more, but especially in the beginning not amassing a large amount of debt frees up your options on what you are able to do. This might mean you move for an opportunity you couldn’t take if you had student debt. You will have to work harder though to overcome not having a college degree. You need to show you are capable of high quality work and can overcome challenges. A degree whether right or wrong shows this and is why employers use it as a baseline.
• If you take how I approached this, you could say the advice I am about to give is comparable to how I could have gotten my Masters degree, but still feel like I did while not going to school at all. Let me explain. I graudted from college with a business degree in sports management. Nearly all of my classes were passive where I listened and then had to retain that information for a project or test. The one class I remember and liked the most was one where we actually had to simulate a business using computer software. I learned so much and enjoyed actually working with the others in my group. After school, I started to read, listen, and watch more self help books on time, money, productivity, and researching topics that would make me a better, more skilled person. If you factor in all of what I paid for the books and other items which were mostly free, I don’t think I even crossed $1,000. I feel like I learned more and was actually able to implement the things I was learning about.
• This is one where college has an edge. You can expose yourself and meet new people not going to college, but college basically forced you to do it where doing it by yourself can lead you to not take the steps to diversify.
• I think this was the case even just a few years ago. Now, I don’t think so as much. What employers want is to see results and what you have accomplished. A degree is a an accomplishment, but it is not unique most of the time. Where if you can show something you have done, built, or worked on, that is something tangible they can see and know that you can actually do the work.

Something like YouTube is a great way to show your ability to create/market something.

While college is not a bad thing and can jump-start your career, you need to weigh your options to make sure the cost outweighs what you will get out of it and if you can’t get that knowledge anywhere else for a better price. With student loans continuing to rise and more and more of the younger generations being strapped down with the debt, we need to ask ourselves “Is college worth it for me?”

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