University educated in the UK, Paul worked for many years teaching digital media studies. He now works and lives in Florida.
Although there are certainly some downsides to a college education, most individuals, employers, and educationalists believe that a high quality higher education provides many more positives than negatives.
The advantages are not always obvious to the casual observer, but reports by organizations such as the US College Board show the contribution that a university education pays for learners in the long run, as well as contributing to the general well being of both individuals and society as a whole.
1. Knowledge is Power
The more you know, the more chance you have to form thought out opinions and make informed decisions. Education supplies you with and gives you access to more knowledge.
A good education also doesn't just feed you information, it shows you how to interpret and treat that knowledge, giving you different ways to think, approach, and analyze situations and data.
2. Health Insurance and Pensions
Besides increased earning power, college graduates are more likely to land jobs with employer-provided health insurance and pension plans. This improves their overall standard of living and future financial security.
3. Specialist Knowledge and Expertise
There is often no substitute for the expertise that the educational experience can give graduates in certain fields. University students often get direct contact with some of the great minds who work in their fields of study. We expect our doctors, architects, lawyers to be college graduates and we wouldn't trust them if they weren't.
4. Social and Networking Skills
Other advantages include the opportunity for students to develop social skills and fraternize with new and like-minded people. These can turn out to be invaluable skills to have later in life, especially with regard to employment. These skills are more easily picked up in an academic atmosphere.
5. Research, Reports, Discussions
Some of the skills learned at college, such as how to research a topic thoroughly, write detailed essays and reports, and engage in vibrant discussions can also be invaluable in later life. Even if the graduate goes on to work in a field that is unrelated to their college subject area, skills like this are transferable and extremely useful.
6. Job Satisfaction
On average, studies show that graduates achieve greater job satisfaction than those with only a high school education, essentially because they obtain the more interesting and engaging jobs. They also often have greater choices over employment, so can pick an occupation that interests them.
7. Career Boost
Many careers allow those who are college educated to leapfrog into at a higher rank or position when they begin their chosen profession after graduating. This often means that graduates start straightaway with higher earnings, status, job satisfaction, and avoid some of the drudge jobs.
8. Benefits to Society
As well as benefits for individuals, there are many benefits for society generally when it comes to people receiving a college education. Graduates are far less likely to end up living in poverty or end up on public assistance programs. Plus they contribute more to the overall tax revenue.
9. Health and Fitness
On average college graduates are healthier than their less educated compatriots. They have been shown to be much less likely to smoke than their high school educated equivalents and are far less likely to be overweight or obese.
Really, the potential for, first of all, any college graduate today is enormously good. These are good times for anyone with a college degree today, particularly African Americans. With a college degree today, you really breach the unemployment rate.
— Alexis Herman
A college degree is the key to realizing the American dream, well worth the financial sacrifice because it is supposed to open the door to a world of opportunity.
— Dan Rather
Education is the key to the future: You've heard it a million times, and it's not wrong. Educated people have higher wages and lower unemployment rates, and better-educated countries grow faster and innovate more than other countries. But going to college is not enough. You also have to study the right subjects.
— Alex Tabarrok
Life is the most exciting opportunity we have. But we have one shot. You graduate from college once, and that's it. You're going out of that nest. And you have to find that courage that's deep, deep, deep in there. Every step of the way.
— Andrew Shue
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2013 Paul Goodman