| Hi Taylor
- My son just started high school, and I'm beginning to have some
doubts about college. I've been saving and have a modest college fund
for him, but I keep hearing a college education isn't really worth
the expense. What do you think? - Camila
Hi Camila - This is one of the more important questions for the
next generation of parents. 20 years ago, no one had to think about
whether or not college was the right move. Now, with exorbitant costs
and a changing workforce, you can't just assume paying a university
tuition is the best option. Let's discuss the pros and cons of higher
education to see if that provides some clarity.
percentage of degree earners continues to rise, but that hasn't
changed the fact that college graduates typically earn more than
people who only have a high school diploma. More and more people
are working freelance jobs and negotiating their own wages, and
owning a four-year degree can be a great bargaining chip in that
scenario. It's also still the case that most of the highest paying
jobs require at least a bachelor's degree, and many still want applicants
who have earned a master's or doctorate.
Looking past the dollars and cents, college can be an invaluable
experience for young adults. If your son isn't sure what he wants
to do professionally, going into college without a declared major
can open his eyes to fields and occupations he's never heard of.
Most towns create a little bubble around their citizens, and attending
college is a great way to broaden one's scope.
Cons: As I'm sure you're aware, college tuition is astronomically
high; public universities cost around $20,000 a year on average.
Unfortunately, these institutions need to make money in order to
stay open, and that sometimes becomes more of a priority than the
education being provided. Students often spend $100,000 earning
a degree and come out feeling like they didn't learn all that much.
Job market is another issue that degrees don't address. While you
can pay through the nose to get a BA from an amazing university,
that doesn't come with guaranteed employment. I've seen people earn
law degrees and pass the bar, only to struggle finding entry-level
work at a firm. Before deciding on a college program, it's really
important for high school graduates to have an idea of what employment
opportunities might be available down the road.
As you can
see, I don't have a clear answer as to whether or not you should
send your son to college. I feel everyone has a unique situation
and people can thrive with or without a secondary education. I would
suggest you talk with your son about career paths, student loan
debt and any other pressing matters. If you're honest with yourself
and have faith in your decision, you can both make the best of it.
Thanks for writing in, Camila!
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