As a high school student in your final year of high school you are probably debating whether you want to go on and pursue a college or university education. Sometimes the thought of four more years of school can be a daunting prospect. The temptation to get out there and start earning some money and living your own life can appear to be the better option.
As with all decisions there are pros and cons which need to be considered in order to make the right choice for you! Talk to your family, teachers, guidance counselors, and people who are working in the field you are interested in, to find out what qualifications are required for your career choice. This is a very important decision in your life and you should take the time to consider your options. If you feel you are not ready to make this decision or your grade point average is not high enough to get you accepted in to the school of your choice you can decide to do an extra year at high school. Some students choose to take a gap year to do something fun like traveling in Europe or volunteering in a 3rd world country before settling down to their next phase of life.
A college education will help you compete in a fiercely competitive job market. With the introduction of computers and the internet, jobs are constantly changing. The job market is going through a major overhaul. There was a time when a high school diploma was sufficient qualification to secure a job or you could become an apprentice and learn a skill on the job. Nowadays, employers are looking for workers who come fully trained in their profession. Having a college education is becoming a necessity in today’s global job market.
In the past, it has always been considered that having a degree will mean that you will earn more money than someone who only has a high school diploma. As more and more entry level jobs require a degree this may still be the case as people with only a high school diploma cannot compete and may get pushed out of the workforce. Having a degree may open more doors for promotion into higher paying positions so over the long run this still could be true. On average, college graduates are believed to earn over a million dollars more over the course of their lifetime, than those people with only a high school diploma.
There are now many more options available for you to earn a degree. You no longer have to attend college or university on a full time basis. These institutions have become much more flexible in accommodating people’s schedules and are now offering on-line classes, part-time courses at night or on weekends, as well as traditional full- time courses.
The most obvious disadvantage of a college education is the cost. It is so expensive, that most people can not afford to pay upfront and have to take out a loan. This means that when you graduate you have to start paying back this loan with interest!! Most student loans have a six month grace period, but if you are not able to find a job in that time you will be facing high payments without an income.
If you are gifted in a certain area, have a great business idea, or want to become an entrepreneur you may not even need a degree. The money you would have invested in your education may be better spent in starting your own business. Many young people have done extremely well with internet based businesses.
Attending college does give students time to mature, get used to living away from home, and to be responsible for their own life in a relatively protected environment. Some might say that this is only delaying the inevitable. The options available outside of college are limitless. You can travel, volunteer, study abroad or join the services.
The decision to go to college or not is a very personal one. You should way the advantages and disadvantages as they pertain to you. It has been said that “if you do what you love to do, then you’ll never work a day of your life” You shouldn’t feel rushed to make this decision, explore all avenues and decide what works best for you!