Pursuing a college degree

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Pursuing a college degree requires a significant amount of capital in terms of income, time, electricity, and other inputs needed to complete the academic course. A college degree is an investment with a high degree of ambiguity, with no promise of future results or direct benefits from learning a particular course. Many individuals have established occupations that do not conform to the college degree that they followed in the past. They have gained success without putting their college experience and expertise to use. Furthermore, some of the world’s wealthiest citizens are college dropouts who have established their fortunes without receiving a degree. Looking at such factors there comes the question as to whether it is worth devoting so many resources to a college degree whereas other people have done well in life without the certification. There are two sides through which to argue this question; the essay is in support of investment in a college degree. Investing in a college degree is worth it because education is a strong pillar of the modern society.

The cost of attending college and pursuing a degree is significantly high. The College Board indicates that the estimated expenditure of an educational year for an in-state community college in the academic year 2015/16 was $24061 inclusive of room and board. One academic year at a private university expenses average at $47381 (Oreopoulos, Philip, and Petronijevic 41). The Complete College America Alliance of States asserts that the number of students graduating having pursued a bachelor’s degree within four years ranges from 19% to 36% depending on the institution. It is clear that financially, one has to invest a lot of money, both in the private and public schools of higher learning in a bid to earn a college degree. A majority of students manage to go through the college degree studies through securing loans that they pay when they penetrate the job market and start earning. The students may not have a clear picture regarding the payback period that it takes the degree to compensate them for the investment they make.

The average student takes an extra half to full year (4.4 to 4.9 years) to graduate in addition to the base expenses of attending school. As a result, the typical expenditure of a full undergraduate degree is more than $100000 (Oreopoulos, Philip, and Petronijevic 41). This figure does not include the cost of foregone pay for the extra time in school, or the interest suffered when paying back the loan. Students are investing a lot of time and money in the college degrees. On top of this investment, they use their energy and the acquired skills to pay back the loans that they secured to finance their studies. It seems that an individual’s entire life revolves around the degree. Looking at these factors, it is important to establish a determination whether the exorbitant financial and non-financial costs of pursuing a college are worth the investment.

Statistics show that it is worth to invest in a college degree based on the potential benefits that graduates get from their pursued courses. The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that the pay difference between personnel with a four-year college degree is significantly higher than that of individuals with a high-school degree. Workers with a four-year college degree earn an average weekly salary of $1137 as compared to $678 of those with the high-school degrees (Oreopoulos, Philip, and Petronijevic 41). The difference becomes even bigger, comparing personnel with doctoral degrees with those having or lacking the college degrees. Not only with the college degree graduate make more money, but lacking this certification costs an individual averagely one million dollars in lifetime income.

The Economic Policy Institute statistics indicate that the advantages of college degrees do not just go to the graduates of the elite colleges. Instead, they benefit all the graduates regardless of the college that they attended. People with a high-school degree face 17.9% rate of unemployment while the degree graduates have 5.6% of the same factor (Maaz et al. 52). One in every seven high-school leavers has a freelance job with wages of an entry-level worker, with limited opportunities for employment on a full-time basis. After investing time, money, and energy in a college degree, the main incentive for the process is the money that one earns thereafter (Maaz et al. 52). Educated people have proved to be highly productive and strategic as compared to their uneducated counterparts. For this reason; degree graduated are accorded better opportunities as than those given to individuals with mere high-school education achievements.

On top of earning more money in the job market, college graduates have broad chances for personal development and benefits for themselves and their families at large. Although high income is the primary advantage of pursuing a college degree, most of the jobs that call for a master’s, bachelors, doctoral, and other professional certifications offer more incentives (Maaz et al. 52). They comprise of health care insurance, retirement benefits, and other spurs. Such paybacks are not often availed to high-school graduates. Employment benefits are important since they come with stability in different contexts, more so as it regards health care. The benefits go beyond a single generation limitation. Families of college degree graduates are better off socially and economically as compared to those of high-school graduates (Maaz et al. 52). In this sense, it is likely children of college graduates are also likely to attend to attend an institute of higher learning. This shows that college graduates have better social lives than those who did not pursue a degree.

College graduates enjoy high levels of job satisfaction and security in their careers. They are more valuable to employers as compared to their counterparts without degrees. It is easy to dispense and replace high-school graduates because they are not highly valued by the employers. However, this is not the case with college graduates as employers seek to retain their services for the organization for a long time. An educated discourse of members of staff is so imperative that employers offer to incur employees’ tuition fees to secure their services (Carnevale, Anthony, Cheah and Strohl 92). Statistics show that in case of layoffs, college graduates are less susceptible than the high-school ex-students.

The workers who suffer the most as a result of retrenchment are the lower-level personnel who have high-school diplomas. Although there are no guarantees, it is clear that individuals who pursue college degrees are less likely to face unemployment in the future (Selingo 87). A degree college is such valuable as it is deemed as an asset which will potentially bring significant compensation not only to the workers but the organization as a whole.

College graduates enjoy their jobs because it provides the opportunity to pursue various career interests. In this sense, pursuing a college degree is an investment into one’s future. It is a significant dedication of time and financial resources. However, it is an investment for future accomplishment. Pursuing a college degree allows a person to realize personal goals, dreams, and objectives in career and general life. It calls for hard work, but it prepares a person for a fulfilling profession and successful life in the future (Selingo 87). Without the degree, a person’s opportunities for growth and development are limited, and so it is essential to pursue academic progression.

Pursuing a college degree provides an individual with opportunities for building and keeping valuable networks. Attending a recognized college is a sure way of getting in touch with other peers seeking to fill open slots and achieve the similar sort of success in the same career. In a healthy learning environment, socializing becomes an added job recommendation which results in better opportunities in the future with a good support system. Creating and maintaining good networks is essential in the potential career progression of an individual. It comes with inter-personal capabilities that are instrumental in working well with other people (Carnevale, Anthony, Cheah and Strohl 92). Also through networking, it is possible to unleash career development and progression in the future. These are valuable connections with people that are not available without the degree certifications. For this reason; it is vital to pursue a college degree and add exposure to the outer world.

Other than the academic content that one gain through pursuing a college degree, there is the aspect of gaining life skills. In the modern world, graduates are earning degrees in times of economic downturn. In the end, they manage to weather any sorts of hardships in life. There is a huge difference between the manner in which people with a college degree and those without argue and come to the conclusion of matters. Graduates see the big picture of other people, events, and other factors in life as compared to the high-school ex-students (Bennett, John and Wilezol 28). The former reason well and take calculated measures when faced with different situations. It is not the case with the high-school graduates. They cannot reason fast enough and see the big picture of matters and situations that they face in life. College graduates interact with a wider range of people and situations, and so they develop various problem-solving skills that are not found in the high-school leavers.


Investing in a college degree is a risky affair which is not guaranteed to pay back the inputs advanced. However, statistics show that it is worth investing in it because graduates highly benefit from the degrees as compared to the high-school ex-students. College degree graduates earn higher incomes as compared to the high-school diploma holders. For this reason; it is important to go further and pursue a degree. Also, college graduates have wider chances of career progression in the future. They can advance to higher heights both in career and education. Further, they enjoy high levels of job satisfaction and security because they are valued by the employers. On top of that, pursuing a college degree provides for the creation and maintenance of a potentially beneficial network of professionals. Finally, college degree graduates tend to view things comprehensively and develop necessary life skills because of the diverse life skills that they acquire through pursuing higher education. Although pursuing a college degree is a huge endeavor, it is worth the financial and non-financial investments made.

Works Cited

Bennett, William John, and David Wilezol. Is college worth it?: A former United States Secretary of Education and a liberal arts graduate expose the broken promise of higher education. Thomas Nelson Inc, 2013.

Carnevale, Anthony P., Ban Cheah, and Jeff Strohl. “Hard times: College majors, unemployment and earnings: Not all college degrees are created equal.” (2013).

Maaz, Tai, et al. “Economic, policy, and social trends and challenges of introducing oilseed and pulse crops into dryland wheat cropping systems.” Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment (2017):pp52

Oreopoulos, Philip, and Uros Petronijevic. “Making college worth it: A review of the returns to higher education.” The Future of Children 23.1 (2017): 41-65.

Selingo, Jeffrey J. College (un) bound: The future of higher education and what it means for students. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.

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