Report: What Colleges Should Know About Teletherapy and How to Pick the Best Telehealth Vendor for Your Students
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By Kelly Burch
Deciding whether to go to college can be tough. College can help you learn how to navigate the world now that you’re out of high school. You may meet some really interesting people, make new friends, learn from others who have similar passions, and figure out areas in which you may want to build a career. College can be one of the surest ways to help you find a job and increase your chances of earning more money during your lifetime.
Yet college can also be extremely expensive. Student loan debt is a real thing to consider, and more people are questioning whether a degree is worth it. You are not alone if you are wondering, is college for me?
Having to make such a big choice before you even turn 18 can feel like a lot. Your caregivers may encourage you to continue your education or push you to start working right away. It’s totally understandable that many high schoolers are stressed and anxious about college before they even apply.
Ultimately, you’re the only one who can decide if college is right for you. Because it’s such a big decision, it’s one you should sit with. Here are a few things to consider as you think about your future.
Your vision of college may be full of dorm rooms, grassy quads, and in-person lectures, but that’s only one picture of what college can look like—and college is only one option for continuing your education. Getting more education or training after high school increases how much you’ll earn, on average, through your life, but a four-year degree isn’t the only option.
Here’s what higher education can look like:
Whether you do a plumbing internship or pursue an engineering degree, you’re learning specialized skills that most people don’t have—and people are usually willing to pay more for those skills. That’s why, overall, people with any sort of higher education (specific skills) make more than people who have only a high school diploma (general skills).
People with four-year college degrees generally earn more money than their peers who don’t go further than high school. Pew Research found a growing wage gap between young college grads and peers who don’t have degrees, with bachelor’s degrees earning an average of $22,000 more than high-school-only peers. Apprenticeships and trade schools increase your earning potential too.
For many people, college costs more money than they’ve ever earned. That’s why about 70% of college students have to borrow money by the time they graduate to pay for their education. Even if you have financial aid or find an apprenticeship, you’re still taking away from time you could be working and earning money. That can feel overwhelming and sometimes scary.
Since we can’t see into the future, sometimes we can feel a bit anxious about whether it will all be worth it. More than half of people who have done some college say the benefits outweigh the cost, but about one in five people say the costs were higher than the benefits.
If you want to go to college, there are lots of resources to help you pay for your education. Financial aid can be either needs-based (which means it’s based on your financial situation) or merit-based (which means it’s given because you’re really good at something like academics, music, or sports).
There are different components to financial aid:
Get more information on applying for financial aid and use the resources below as well:
When you’re deciding whether college or another type of higher education is right for you, consider these questions:
If you or someone you know needs to talk to someone right now, text, call, or chat 988 for a free confidential conversation with a trained counselor 24/7.
You can also contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741-741.
If this is a medical emergency or if there is immediate danger of harm, call 911 and explain that you need support for a mental health crisis.