PRO: College after high school is the best option

Ava Wong, Commentary Editor

The cost of pursuing higher education is rising and with that, so does student debt. With that narrative going around the U.S., many may have reason to believe the value of a college degree is in decline. However, there are a number of important reasons why that is wrong.

A college education is more important now than ever before as a college degree is still the most secure way to increase wage potential in later stages of life. In addition, the modern world is rapidly growing with a rise in artificial intelligence and technology calling for multi-talented, intellectual, flexible critical thinkers in our workplaces proving that college is, and will increasingly be, the best way to prepare for an extremely industrial and uncertain future.

Looking at wage alone, college is crucial in finding job security in the very unstable and uncertain economy of the 21st century. A report on the value of higher education conducted by the Center on Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University found compelling evidence that “people who earn bachelor’s degrees and work full-time can expect to earn 84% more than their peers with a high school diploma over their lifetime.”

Even beyond the significant raise in wage earnings, college graduates also receive increased employer-provided fringe benefits such as health insurance and retirement plans that result in better health and longer life expectancy. This shows the important role a college degree plays in long-term job stability and the earning of a sufficient wage for your future.

Not only will a degree help you but may also help your community. The Chronicle of Higher Education states that “graduates with bachelor’s degrees pay $563,000 more in taxes than high-school graduates who never attend college,” proving that your earnings benefit you as an individual but the greater economic environment.

A college degree will help you become a better worker in future environments. Rapid advancements in all aspects of life, most importantly technological advancements, are changing the landscape of what it means to be a worker. The rapid spread of these advancements will limit the amount of available job options shifting focus to more STEM and technology based jobs. These jobs need to be filled but require employees with those STEM backgrounds such as engineering and software development along with communications, business and humanities backgrounds with the ability to market products, recruit potential investors and interact with clients and the media. College graduates offer the specific intelligence and growth potential to control changes and contribute positively to the development of modern technology.

A college education offers lifetime skills such as the ability to attack a wide array of problems, professionally communicate with others, and the ability to efficiently manage projects and problems.

Without a college education, an individual does have the ability to gain some of these skills but a four-year degree is able to expand and offer extensive experience with these skills. Through an abundance of classes, learning opportunities such as internships or research and interpersonal interactions, students are prepared for a diverse working world. These skills can often be looked at as useful but again, the job market and technological world is changing, and these skills will help individuals change and flow with it.

America has great privilege when it comes to college, a promising factor in our country’s future. It’s important to take advantage of that privilege to better yourself and our future as an economically and relationally advanced world. A college education is obviously not the only path out there, but it’s proven to be the strongest path toward job and financial stability which is a highly important factor to consider when deciding what path is best for you.