Is College Just a Big Waste of Time and Money?
Anyone who is a college student or the parent of a college student can attest to the ever-increasing cost of tuition, books, boarding, and other college expenses. In many cases, a college education cannot be achieved without the student or the parents ending up deep in debt. Some parents use financial savings that should be earmarked for their retirement, while students often rack up a staggering amount of student loans. But still, society almost mandates that a person go to college, if they ever expect to get a good paying job. But is that really the case?
Lack of Educational Goals
In many cases, a student just graduating from high school hasn’t even had enough experience in the world to figure out what they “want to be when they grow up.” Sure, there are some people who have early career goals and stick to them. But in many cases, the schedule of a college freshman is taken up by exploratory and basic classes, which rarely have anything to do with their eventual career. In some cases, students even get burnt out on the college experience long before they get to the “meat” of their education. Gifted students often find that they can skim through college with very little effort, while poor students often become frustrated and overwhelmed, without the incentive of taking classes that seem to have career meaning to them. If you ask a recent college graduate about their educational experience, many times you will hear how much they wish they could “go back and do it again,” now that they have a better idea of why they want to go to college. Unfortunately, by this time both the student and his or her parents are usually deep in debt.
Pros and Cons of College
Most times we only hear the “pros” of going to college. These include getting a diploma which will help the student establish a good career, plus access to job recruiters. However, we rarely hear about the “cons” of going to college. Although going to college usually does help a student develop independence, it can also provide a young person with an amazing array of temptations that could be seriously detrimental not only to their education but to their future. Additionally, students often report that upon graduation from college, they have knowledge “on paper” but not necessarily in the real world of work. Most times, students don’t get a great deal of experience in their chosen field until their first “real” job. However, they have spent a lot of time and money on classes that have no relevance to their chosen career field.
Getting the Most Out of College
A college diploma can help a student get a good job, but it certainly doesn’t insure it. However, there are a few things students can do to help get the most out of a college education. Working part-time while going to college part-time is often a good idea, at least for the first year while a student is still trying to figure out what they want to do. This can also be a good way to avoid going too deeply into debt. Completing a two-year degree instead of a four-year degree is also a good option. There’s always time to go back and complete a four-year degree later, especially since employers often have tuition reimbursement programs. At a bare minimum, a little time spent in the world of work will help the student focus on what is most important to them, so that they will get more out of the college experience.