Considering college? Inform your decision with these 11 benefits of going to college

Although we have all heard stories of individuals who have achieved major success without having to go to college, for most of us the benefits of going to college include new opportunities and a pathway to a better life. But deciding whether college is right for you may take a little more time and thought.If you’re considering college and whether you should attend a community college, four-year university, trade school, or go straight into “adulting,”look over the benefits below to help inform your decision.

What Are the Benefits of Going to College?

Professional Benefits

Try answering this question: What are your top few reasons for considering a college degree? Don’t worry, there’s no wrong answer.  If you said “To be able to get a better job,” then you’re like 85% of other incoming first-year students, according to one major annual survey.  College provides personal, intellectual, and professional growth and benefits.  These are all major factors in your college decision. Some professional benefits of going to college include:

1. Access to a better job market

As you might guess, people with college degrees generally have access to more job opportunities. College degrees are becoming necessary for access to the highly-skilled labor force. A college degree might not automatically land you your dream job, but it certainly increases your chances of finding a career that brings you success and happiness.

2. Access to more secure and lucrative job opportunities

Past studies have shown that college graduates are more likely than those with only high school degrees to be in a stable career, feel satisfied with their job, and feel prepared for the demands of their job, all while being less likely to be unemployed. A college degree may not land you your dream job right away, but it increases your chances of finding a career that brings you success and happiness.

3. Making Connections

One of the most valuable benefits of going to college is getting to know people. Making connections allows you to get to know people who are further along in their careers. These can be professors, administrators, general faculty, or even older students. These connections are beneficial when searching for internships or jobs.  You can call on your connections for advice and information.

4. Choosing the right career

Myth: Everyone enters college knowing their major and career path. 80% of college students in the US  change their major at least once. Most students change their major 3 times during their college career. Take some time and try out a wide variety of classes and majors, you’ll get to explore what future careers might be right for you. It’s alright not to know your intended major or career path right away.

Intellectual Benefits

For a second, forget about the other benefits of college, such as the potential for higher earning power and years of semi-supervised fun. For now, let’s focus on the most basic, yet one of the most important benefits of going to college – the intellectual benefits. This is, at the core of everything, is why you attend college: to be able to learn more, think deeper, be tested, and find your passion. Let’s look at these benefits in more detail.

5. Learn More

College provides so many opportunities to learn. Not only to learn about subjects with which you’re already familiar, but also about topics that you’ve never heard of before, let alone studied. This will enhance your knowledge and mold you into a well-rounded person.

6. Think Deeper

College coursework will challenge you in ways that your high school classes did not. Your professors will have you thinking in ways you may have never thought before. Even if you studied a particular subject in high school, you’ll be going into much more depth and detail in college. During this time, your ability to grasp complex, abstract concepts will grow and your capacity to think deeper will increase.

7. Be Challenged

In college, your professors and peers will test your preconceived notions about the world and the way you think about things. In this way, college acts as an aid to reflection, which can help you broaden your horizons and mindset.

8. Find Your Passion 

One of the most important intellectual benefits of going to college is how this academic environment enables you to find your passion. It is an exploratory time for you, in the words of Andrew Delbanco*, to “take stock of [your] talents and passions and begin to sort [your life] in a way that is true to [yourself] and responsible to others.” Perhaps you already know what you want to do with your life, but for the majority of students, college provides the opportunity to explore, check out your options and find the thing(s) that you care about most.

Personal Benefits

There are many professional and intellectual benefits to keep in mind when considering if college is the right choice for you.  While these benefits are important, there are plenty of important personal benefits of going to college as well. In fact, some of the most important benefits are personal ones – those that affect you individually and can have a major impact on the rest of your life. Keep reading  to learn more about these important benefits!

9. Meet New People and Create Lifelong Bonds

One of the most important personal benefits of college is meeting new people and developing enduring friendships. As a high school student, you value your friends from home, and the idea of parting with them and connecting to new people might feel uncomfortable and seem impossible. You’ll most likely come to find a group of people at college who share your values and interests.  You might also develop new interests by connecting with people who have different backgrounds and life experiences than you. It’s not to say that high school friends won’t stay lifelong friends as well, but college provides a way to make new and more varied lasting bonds and connections.

10. Become More Independent

For many students, college provides the first opportunity to take charge of one’s life and make your own decisions. You’ll  have to choose what courses to take, decide which extra-curricular activities you like, and making choices about how to spend your free time. While you don’t have to be completely on your own with these responsibilities (colleges offer many types of support such as academic advising, and  your friends and family are still there for you!), you will be expected to at least lead the charge. These experiences will help you develop into a mature, responsible, and independent adult.

11. Discover and Fine-Tune Your Values, Beliefs, and Goals

In addition to paving the way to independence, college also enables you to discover and/or fine-tune your values, beliefs and goals. By opening you up to a wide range of activities, people and experiences, you can learn more about yourself and what you stand for, follow and satisfy your curiosity, and discover what you’re passionate about.

The bottom line is that college provides opportunities that may not be available to you otherwise, which is incredibly beneficial to your professional, intellectual, and personal growth and life path. Put college into perspective with more of our Set to Go resources and tools.

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