As you get to the end of your high school education, you are in a position to make big choices about your future. When weighing college vs. a job, consider what you would gain with a college education. The high cost of college may give you pause, but the experiences, knowledge and wage potential can make your educational efforts well worth it.

Expanding Your Knowledge

A college education will expose you to a wide range of subjects areas and will help you build a well-rounded knowledge base. You can choose classes that center around your interests or go after new subjects that you would like to know more about. The first two years of college provide an opportunity to explore majors that can lead to your future career. Your abstract thinking, critical thinking, problem solving, decision making and communication skills will be refined as you go through your college course load. These skills will prove to be useful in your personal and professional life.

Money Matters

Each level of education that you complete increases your chances of earning a higher salary. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, someone with less than a high school diploma earns an average of $494 per week, a high school diploma holder makes $679 a week, a person with an associate degree receives $782 per week and a bachelor’s degree holder earns $1,435 weekly.

Getting a Job

As you apply for various jobs in your lifetime, the topic of education attainment will come up at some point in the process. Applicants with a college education are more likely to be offered a job and keep it for an extended period, compared to a person with a high school diploma, GED certificate or less. Many professional jobs require a college degree as a minimum qualification. In general, every level of completed education will increase your chances of landing a good job. Making connections with college faculty will also provide valuable references that you can use, when applying for a job.

The Overall Experience

Going to college isn’t just about hitting the books, attending all of your required classes and making the grades -- it’s an experience you will not forget. You meet plenty of new friends and make some great memories in and out of the classroom. You will have a chance to explore and broaden your interests, like art or music. You can set some education and career goals for your future and work toward them.

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