College is more expensive than ever, and although a degree may set the average student back tens of thousands of dollars, opting for a degree is still the wise thing to do from a financial perspective.
As reported by Business Insider, even states with the least difference between degree and non-degree-holding workers, college graduates take home a 38% higher salary on average.
The situation is even more pronounced when it comes to Master’s degrees: those with an MA earn around 18% more than undergraduate degree holders. What other reasons exist for investing in a college education?
You Can Work And Study
You don’t have to set aside four or five years of your life to spend 100% of your time studying. As stated by Degree Planet, there are many ways to shorten your study time. These include completing an online degree, studying a shorter degree (such as an Associate’s degree) or even doing an accelerated course.
Some classes last as little as eight weeks, though the average accelerated course lasts between 12 and 20 months. You can also opt to work while studying, thereby reducing or nullifying the need for a student loan.
Building A Network
Many great entrepreneurs met the co-founders of their businesses while at college. Think Mark Zuckerberg and the Winklevoss twins, or Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, who also met while both were students (in this case, though, Jobs was in high school and Wozniak was already a college freshman).
Regardless of the subject you are studying – be it law, technology or business, college offers a wonderful opportunity to start building networks that will stand you in good stead upon graduation, or even open doors for future work or entrepreneurial opportunities.
Choosing The Right Degree
If you are studying mainly to improve your earnings, then choosing a degree that will provide you with a good return is vital. A recent INSIDER/Morning Consult survey showed that many millennials (64%) felt that their college degree was not worth the money and time spent. Primarily, this is because getting a degree can actually be a net negative financial investment if your earnings are in the bottom quarter.
This is where guidance and mentorship can fill the gap; find out what earnings are like in your area of interest. If you are interested in science, for instance, one speciality may offer a significantly greater return than another. Making slight adjustments in your major or speciality may therefore reap major rewards, so choosing intelligently is key.
If you are wondering whether or not college is worthwhile or you are worried about racking up significant debt in order to obtain a college degree, know that there are many quick, cheap alternatives that can get your foot in the door of your chosen industry. From part-time study to accelerated courses, there are many ways to bolster your CV without giving up your savings to the bank.
Lifelong learning has been shown to be a wise investment both professionally and personally, so if you are lucky enough to have a mentor or coach that can help you make the right choice, know that all-up, a college degree is still considered a good investment to make.