It can be difficult to decide what to do after high school. Should you go to college or head directly into the workforce? Although college can be expensive to pay for, there are many benefits to graduating from college that make up for the initial investment of time and money. Compared to people with a high school diploma, college graduates, especially those with a bachelor's degree, usually have more career options, earn higher wages each year, and can experience better overall health.
Job Market Success
The job market is constantly changing; however, your chances of being unemployed and unable to find employment can be reduced if you have a college degree. Although the unemployment rate can be considerably high during difficult economic times, college graduates on average have a much lower unemployment rate compared to people with a high school diploma, and when jobs are scare many companies are willing to fill their vacancies with college graduates even when a degree is not required for the position.
Expanded Career Options
Attending college offers many fields of study, which in turn can lead to a wide variety of career options. College is also a great environment for personal growth; in your studies you may discover that you have a certain talent or interest in a field that you had not previously considered. Moreover, a college degree can provide networking opportunities, giving you the opportunity to build a strong, lasting network of relationships with faculty members and other graduates.
Better Income and Benefits
When you are looking for employment you will find that jobs that require a college degree often pay more. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, college graduates make about $51,000 a year, while workers with a high school diploma average only $28,000 a year. You are also more likely to get better job benefits such as company provided health insurance and a retirement plan if you work in a field that requires a college degree.
Graduating from college could mean a happier, healthier and less stressful life. According to the College Board's Education Pays report, college graduates often maintain healthier lifestyles than people who do not graduate from college. For example, college graduates generally have lower smoking rates, show fewer symptoms of depression and participate in physical exercise more regularly than people who do not graduate from college.
- New York Times: Even for Cashiers, College Pays Off
- Diverse: College-educated Americans More Likely Experience Job Satisfaction, Lead Healthier Lives, Study Says
- The 2004-14 Job Outlook for College Graduates
- New York Times: College Graduates Fare Well in Jobs Market, Even Through Recession
- Fastweb: A College Education Opens Doors to a Better Job and Many Other Benefits
- Course Advisor: Benefits of a College Degree
Dr. Aleathea Wiggins is a writer specializing in health, parenting and family issues. She is a former university professor, curriculum facilitator, and teacher. Dr. Wiggins holds advanced degrees and credentials in journalism, education, health and childcare administration. She has worked as a professional writer since 2009.