The Value Of A College Education
An extensive body of research has argued that obtaining a college diploma is a good deal for graduates on almost any measure from higher earnings to lower unemployment rates. By the same token, those without a college degree can find their upward mobility in the job market limited by a lack of educational credentials: This survey finds that one-third of Americans who lack a four-year college degree report that they have declined to apply for a job they felt they were qualified for, because that job required a bachelors degree.
But despite the potential benefits and opportunities available to college graduates and the potential challenges faced by those who lack a college diploma Americans have somewhat mixed attitudes about the effectiveness of traditional four-year colleges and other higher education institutions. On a personal level, many college graduates describe their own educational experience as having a generally positive impact on their personal and professional development. Roughly six-in-ten college graduates with two- or four-year degrees think their degree was very useful for helping them grow personally and intellectually, while roughly half think it was very useful for opening up job opportunities or for providing them with useful job-related skills and knowledge .
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An Investment In Your Future
Attending college is a major commitment of time and money, but it is also a down payment on success. Earning your college degree will help you realize your goals in your career as well as life in general. It requires a lot of hard work, but that work prepares you for a challenging and rewarding career and a more fruitful life.
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You Have Potential Exceed It
Whatever your goals â getting a degree, owning a home, traveling the world â you can attain them. They require dedication and focus, but also financial stability. Hereâs how a college degree can help over a lifetime:
Someone with a high school diploma can expect to earn $1.3 million.
A worker with some college but no degree earns $1.5 million.
An Associateâs degree-holder earns $1.7 million.
A worker with a Bachelorâs degree will earn $2.3 million.
Graduate degrees provide for even higher earnings:
A Masterâs degree-holder earns $2.7 million.
A Doctoral degree-holder earns $3.3 million.
A Professional degree-holder earns $3.6 million.
The Purpose Of College: Americans View Workforce
Americans views of what a college education should be tend to prioritize specific, workplace-related skills and knowledge rather than general intellectual development and personal growth. Half of Americans say that the main purpose of college should be to teach specific skills and knowledge that can be used in the workplace, while 35% think its main purpose should be to help students grow and develop personally and intellectually and 13% volunteer that these objectives are equally important. The publics views on this issue have shifted slightly in favor of skills development since the last time Pew Research Center asked this question in 2011. At that point, 47% said main purpose of college should be to teach specific skills and knowledge and 39% said it should be to promote personal and intellectual growth.
Americans who have engaged in additional schooling beyond a bachelors degree are especially likely to say that the main purpose of college should be personal and intellectual growth, rather than the acquisition of specific skills and knowledge. Some 47% of those with a postgraduate or professional degree think the main purpose of college should be personal and intellectual growth, while 35% think it should be teaching workplace-relevant skills.
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Personal Growth And Improved Self
If you arent looking for the type of career that often comes from a four-year education, you may be questioning the value of a bachelors degree.
Theres more to it than the paper, however many students have found the experience to be deeply and personally rewarding, as well. In addition to gaining skills like writing, time-management, and working on a team, there are opportunities to polish presentation skills and interact with professors and students who will, later on, become part of your valuable career network.
Earning a degree is empowering it boosts confidence and provides a sense of achievement. The pursuit of higher education also equips you to master complex challenges and overcome adversity, contributing to increased happiness and reduced stress. This may be why bachelors degree holders report higher levels of self-esteem than high school graduates.
College graduates are also more likely to be involved in their communities. Compared to non-degree holders, they are more likely to vote, volunteer, donate to charities, join community organizations, and participate in educational activities with their children. As more active citizens, bachelors degree holders contribute to a stronger, more engaged community to provide opportunities for future generations.
You Have Curiosity Explore It
This is your opportunity to take what youâre already interested in and pursue it at a deeper level. Enroll in classes and sign up for activities that excite you, without the structured limitations of high school. Meet people from various backgrounds and cultures who have interests similar to â and different from â your own. They might even introduce you to new interests you didnât know you had.
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For You Work Experience Is More Important Than Education
See, back in the old days, and I mean the generation that came before, educational background is the most important thing in ones resume. Students do everything they can to graduate with flying colors. They take part in all clubs and school activities they can and they work hard to intern at big companies. All these just so their resume would look great! And today, many companies still apply this. Many still turn down applicants even though qualified through work experience just because he/she didnt go to college. Worry not, there are also many companies that are run by people like you people who believe work experience and attitude are far more important than a college education. Sure, it looks good if you can say on your resume that you have a degree relevant to the job. But keep in mind that there are many short courses you can take. Those would work just fine too!
You Get To Explore Your Interests
College opens up a whole new world to you academically. In high school, you generally only have a choice of a handful of elective classes, but in college you can literally choose from among hundreds of classes and majors.
While there are core requirements at most colleges, for the most part, you can decide what you want to study and take classes in subjects you want to learn more about. Many students are able to spark academic passions in college.
You could take classes in anthropology, psychology, sociology, microbiology, or osteology. Many college grads have several friends and former students who were inspired by college classes that positively changed the course of their academic and professional lives.
Also, while in college, you’ll have the chance to pursue tons of extracurriculars and opportunities you might not otherwise have done. These activities can become lifelong passions, help you form meaningful relationships, and even prepare you for a future job.
For example, you could write for the campus newspaper, or you could be a DJ for the school radio station. You could dance for a hip-hop group, or join a campus organization that provides tutoring to underprivileged kids. You could help build houses for those in need. You could work on political campaigns or join groups that advocate for various social issues. The choice is yours!
Howard Stern started his career working at the radio station at Boston University.
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The Cost Of Not Going To College Is Rising
While the cost of a four-year public institution rose by about 34% between 2005-2015, the undergraduate enrollment in post-secondary institutions rose more by 37% from 2000-2010.
You may be wondering why the attendance has grown more despite the huge increase in costs, and thats because the benefits of a higher education are growing faster than the costs.
To explain, the income of those without a degree is going down at a faster rate than the cost of tuition is going up. This means that the gap between getting a degree and not getting a degree is getting wider, faster.
But even more importantly, college tuition doesnt have to cost money at all! You can attend a fully accredited American university, tuition-free at University of the People and capture all the advantages of college education with very low costs compared to traditional universities.
Sample Why This College Prompts
Lets start by taking a look at two real prompts from the 2019-2020 cycle that fit under the Why this college archetype:
Which aspects of the Tufts undergraduate experience prompt your application? In short, Why Tufts?
Other parts of your application give us a sense for how you might contribute to Northwestern. But we also want to consider how Northwestern will contribute to your interests and goals. Help us understand what aspects of Northwestern appeal most to you, and how youll make use of specific resources and opportunities here.
As you can see, these prompts are basically asking why you want to attend the school in question. Northwestern spells it out even further, and specifically asks how youll use their resources to achieve your goals. Both prompts have word counts that are much shorter than that of the Common App, which is typical of supplemental essays. These two word counts are pretty representative, and you can expect the Why this college essay length to be 100-400 words on average. Thats not a lot of space for a pretty important question, so its especially vital to use the word count wisely.
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More Why This College Essay Examples
Name one thing you are looking forward to experiencing at Stanford.
Hikes to the Dish. I imagine Ill need an occasional break from the rigor of CS221, and I can see this tranquil exercise evolving into a haven for startup nomenclature, debates about Lebron Jamess legacy, and convoluted stories involving the giant radio telescope and its potential otherworldly applications.
From an MIT applicant:
Although you may not yet know what you want to major in, which department or program at MIT appeals to you and why?
From the first Hello World! to recent work with artificial intelligence, I have developed an insatiable appetite for turning lines of code into computer programs with real-world applications. When developing, I often ponder: can machine learning solve all of the worlds problems technical and humanitarian? Are cryptocurrencies just a fad that will be gone in five years? As the field offers up as many questions as it does answers, I am drawn to MITs Computer Science, Economics and Data Science program, which would enable me to decipher both computer sciences inner workings and its ramifications on the world at large.
From a Purdue Honors student:
A Why Tufts essay by a now-Tufts student:
A Why Michigan essay from a now-Wolverine:
An example of Why Columbia?
Preparation For A Specialized Career
As the world changes, the job market changes with it. Technology, education, and health are three of the most rapidly growing fields for a good reason they evolve so often that only the most accomplished individuals can do the work. Getting a bachelors degree will help you learn the specific skills and habits needed to make a living in these areas.
While not all degrees offer a direct route to a particular job , many are created with a specific career path in mind. An educational degree, for example, is designed as a funnel for teaching jobs some health degrees also have very specialized jobs waiting at the end for those who complete them.
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Potential To Earn More
The Bureau of Labor Statistics research found that, on average, college graduates with a bachelors degree typically earn up to almost 65% more per year than those with a high school diploma or its equivalent and almost 40% more than those with an associate degree. When we compare national median annual earnings of someone with a bachelors and someone with a high school diploma, thats a difference of almost $24,000 each year in expected gross income. Dont want a bachelors? Even an associate degree helps. An associate degree graduate typically earns about 6.5% or $6,500 more each year than those with a high school diploma. That difference starts to add up after a short while.
According to The U.S. Social Security Administration, those who only finish high school are anticipated to earn about $1.54 million over their lifetime, some college to earn about $1.76 million. A bachelors degree holder may earn around $2.43 million. Add more college to earn a graduate degree and that could increase to about $3.05 million.
See The True Cost Of College
Getting a degree is easier said than done. The cost of a college education is high, and it’s only getting higher. In fact, education expenses have risen faster than inflation over the past decade. Tuition at a four-year public university is estimated at $10,740 per year, according to the College Board, a non-profit higher education association. Tuition at a private school costs even moreabout $38,070 each year.
The costs increase if you choose to live away from home. How much you pay in addition to your tuition depends on whether you live on or off-campus. Because learning financial responsibility is just one of the many lessons that we all must face, choosing to commute rather than live on campus is a financially prudent decision that can save tens of thousands of dollars.
According to the data from the College Board, the average budget per year for in-state students attending a four-year public school was $27,533 during the 2021-2022 academic year. That’s compared to almost $55,800 per year if you attend a private, nonprofit postsecondary institution. These figures include tuition, the average cost of room and board, books, supplies, transportation, and other expenses.
Tuition costs at a private, nonprofit school far exceed those required by public institutions even if you choose to go out-of-state.
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Benefits Of A College Education
Like many people, you may know you want to attend college but are not sure if the time, dedication and tuition costs are worth it. However, after carefully considering the pros and cons, you may find that the effort will be worth the achievement. Below are just a few of the benefits of earning a college degree. Use them to help you decide if going to college is the right choice:
Employer interest in furthering your education
There Are Many Financial And Career Benefits
Let’s start by considering the financial advantages of a college education.
In 2019, college graduates with a bachelor’s degree earned $30,000 more per year than those with a high school diploma or its equivalent.
Here’s one of the most cited statistics that shows the benefits of a college education: a person with a bachelor’s degree will, on average, earn almost $1 million more over the course of her lifetime than somebody with just a high school diploma. While money shouldn’t necessarily be the biggest priority in anyone’s life, there’s no doubt that a higher salary will give you more opportunities, alleviate stress, and allow you to more easily support a family.
Moreover, college-educated Millennials have much lower unemployment and poverty rates. According to recent studies from 2020 to 2021 by the New York Federal Reserve Bank, young people aged 22-27 are more likely to be unemployed if they don’t have a college degree. Unemployment among those with a college degree was 3.9%, but it was 10.3% for those without a degree.
In addition, those who attended college are more likely to get married and less likely to be living in their parents’ homes. Statistics indicate that attending college has more economic benefits for Millennials than it did for previous generations. Going to college might be more important now than ever before!
As you can see, there are tons of financial benefits to getting a bachelor’s degree. But what about the professional advantages?
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Better Chance Of Employer
Getting a college degree means youre more likely to have employer-provided health insurance compared with those who dont, according to the College Boards Education Pays 2019 study. Among holders of bachelors degrees, 64% had employer-provided health insurance, while 52% of those with just a high school diploma did.
In 2021, the average annual health care premium for single individuals was $7,739, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit focused on health policy and health care.
Americans Have Mixed Views About The Extent To Which College Prepares Students For A Well
When asked a broader set of questions about the impact of college more generally, the public expresses somewhat mixed views about the extent to which a college education prepares students for success in the workforce.
Two-thirds of Americans think that a traditional four-year degree prepares students for a well-paying job in todays economy at least somewhat well, but just 16% think it prepares them very well, and 29% think it does not prepare them well. A somewhat smaller share of Americans think that a two-year community college degree prepares students for a well-paying job either very or somewhat well, while 38% think that these programs do not prepare students well.
Interestingly, Americans with a four-year college degree are generally no more positive or negative than those with less education about the relationship between a four-year degree and a well-paying job: 13% of those with a bachelors degree or more education say a four-year degree prepares people very well, as do 11% of those with a two-year associate degree, 12% of those with some college experience but no degree, and 17% of those with a high school diploma. Among those who did not complete high school, however, 40% believe that a four-year college degree does a very good job of preparing people for a well-paying job.
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