Many students drop out of college or simply decide not to join at all. The decreased rate of college attendance can be attributed to a number of factors. Some of these factors include the rising cost of college and the question surrounding the usefulness of a college degree. Despite the relatively high dropout rate of first-year university students, going to college remains as beneficial as ever. If a friend who was seriously considering dropping out of college came to me for advice, I would tell them stay in school and complete their college education.
The main reason why a student should complete their college education is for career reasons. A college degree is valuable because it increases a person’s earning potential. On average, people with a degree tend to out-earn those without. According to recent data, workers with a college degree earn $468 more per week than those with a high school diploma (Bureau of Labor Statistics). Over the course of a worker’s lifetime, this translates to a difference of approximately $1 million. Further, the rate of unemployment is higher for people without postsecondary education. Some employers specify that a college degree is required to obtain an interview to be considered for a job opening. Therefore, obtaining a college degree increases career stability, especially in the current economy. If a person wants to increase their earning capacity and ensure their job security, they should advance their education level.
Another reason why an individual should obtain a college degree is to develop new skills. College is an ideal place to learn new abilities or improve existing ones. In the first year, students usually have the freedom to take a diversity of classes. One should take this as a time for exploring their interests. Aside from technical skills, college teaches core skills such as communication, problem-solving, teamwork, critical thinking, and stress management (Busteed). When done right, college gives people the opportunity to grow personally. For instance, a person who does not know how to make friends gets the opportunity to work on their shyness, become a better communicator, and even work in groups. Therefore, attending college gives an individual the chance to develop, not just professional skills, but also critical life skills.
A college education is also important because college is a time for transition from childhood to adulthood. Ideally, people go to college between their late teenage years and early twenties. This is the transition period where people define the kind of adults they would like to be. For instance, some people discover themselves on a meaningful level in college. Additionally, it is useful to be exposed to people from different backgrounds and cultures (Busteed). This gives one a sense of the world beyond what they are accustomed to. For instance, some schools have a study-abroad program that allows students to experience living in a foreign country. Attending college is a mind-expanding experience that people should not forfeit by dropping out.
In summary, I would advise my friend to complete their college education and obtain a degree. A college degree would enable them make more money during their career. It would also increase the career stability and decrease the likelihood of being unemployed. In addition to the benefits of a degree, the college experience is in itself rewarding. It would give them a chance to grow as a person and develop important professional and personal skills. Finally, college is a preparation for the outside world as it teaches people how to coexist with others.
Busteed, Brandon. “What’s The Purpose Of College?”, Forbes, 2019.
US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Employment Projections, 2021.