The Way College Experience Defines a Job Path

Founding father Benjamin Franklin once said, “An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest”. He acknowledges the importance of investing in one's knowledge to live a better quality of life. The American debate on whether going to college is worth it or not is ongoing. Although some believe that college is a waste of time and money, getting a degree is important for many reasons—job stability, long-term financial gain, and success outside of the workplace. College graduates earn more money, are protected from unemployment, and learn important life skills that are valuable for life. Tamar Lewin covers all the reasons why college is a smart investment through his article “Value of College Degree is Growing, Study Says,” as well as Patricia Cohen in “It’s a Tough Job Market for the Young Without College Degrees.” Stephanie Owen and Isabell Sawhill also discuss the benefits of a college education in their piece Should Everyone Go to College?

Workers with a college degree earn more money than those with just a high school diploma. According to Lewin in “Value of College Degree is Growing,” the overall payoff a getting a college degree is growing, stating, “The median earnings of full-time workers with bachelor’s degrees were $55,700 in 2008—$21,900 more than those of workers who finished only high school” . Employers will always pay the worker with the most amount of college experience the most amount of money. For most people, going to college and earning a degree is purely driven by the thought of them making the most money possible for their future. The primary reason why some choose not to attend college is being scared of student loans and getting in debt for the extra four years of education they had to pay for. “The report found that after about 11 years of work, college graduates’ higher earnings compensated for four years out of the labor force”. It does take a little while to cover the costs of college tuition but if it offers job security for the future, many feel that it is worth the hassle.

Without going to college, it would be difficult to find a job because most employers today will only interview those with college experience. This thought is supported in Cohen’s article, “Value of College Degree is Growing,” stating that “For high school students, a four-year experience of college education is frequently held out as the only viable option, precisely because job opportunities and wages are so much better upon graduation”. This claim embodies Lewin’s statement that the pay-off on having an experience of a college education is rising. The workers with no college experience are usually offered minimum wage upon being hired and in today’s society, one can't survive on their own off of minimum wage. The cost of living, eating, or fairly anything continues to increase every day. “A senior economist noted that the average hourly wage for high school graduates had declined since 2000 despite increases in the minimum wage in some places”. This comment by Cohen explains how with only a high school education will have a hard time finding a decent paying job that will cover the price of living. Both of the articles go into detail on why getting a degree is one of the most important things a person can do.

Individuals who go to college learn many much needed interpersonal skills. College experience teaches a person a list of important skills, one of which being time management. To balance classes, assignments, social activities, and study time, one must learn how to prioritize and manage their time. Another important skill a person learns in college would be communication. This skill is acquired by presenting, writing essays, learning how to properly write emails, or interacting with other students in their class. In an article from Credo Reference titled “College Education,” this thought is further promoted, stating that “Students have the opportunity to interact with other students and faculty, to join student organizations and clubs and to take part in discussions and debates”. Students develop social skills by participating on campus with their peers and exploring their interests. Most students can recognize the valuable role that their college experiences play in the development of all of these skills. “Over 80% of college students complete internships before graduation, giving them valuable employment experience before entering the job market”. This gives them a head start into their careers and prepares them for what’s to come. Internships are just one of the many resources that college can provide students. These types of programs they offer can also network a person to someone who works in their future career field. Creating a professional network can make the difference between finding a job or getting a promotion, and those networks start forming in college.

People who attend college live an overall happier life. In Should Everyone Go to College, Stephanie Owen and Isabel Sawhill discuss the many reasons why college graduates tend to have a more happy, relaxing life than those who go without a college education. 'Research suggests that additional education improves overall wellbeing by affecting things like job satisfaction, health, marriage, parenting, trust, and social interaction'. The writers list only a few of the many reasons why everyone should go to college. This thought complies with the articles mentioned above about all the great things that come out of furthering education.

To summarize, college is an important factor in living a comfortable life. An experience of college education will provide the training and knowledge needed to go out in the real world and be successful. All of these writers have the same idea. Life without a degree and college experience would be more stressful than life with one. With more and more occupations requiring advanced education, a college degree is critical to your success in today's workforce.

Works Cited

  • Cohen, Patricia. “It’s a Tough Job Market for the Young Without College Degrees.” New York Times, 10 May 2016
  • ---. “College Education.” ProCon, edited by, 2018. 
  • Lewin, Tamar. “Value of College Education is Growing, Study Says.” New York Times, 21 September 2010, 
  • Owen, Stephanie, and Sawhill, Elizabeth. 'Should Everyone Go to College?” They Say I Say, 4th ed, Norton W. W. & Company, Inc, 2018. Print.
07 July 2022
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