In high school, all the adults in a student’s life will be asking them about their future plans.
Most students will begin studying at a college or university while others will go on to trade schools, apprenticeships, and even straight into the workforce.
Every student is different, and their plans for the future are going to depend on what they want from their lives.
College may not be for everyone, but it definitely isn’t a waste of time.
Is College A Waste Of Time?
No, college is not a waste of time.
Any time spent learning is never wasted.
Learning doesn’t have to be in the college environment, but there are many valuable lessons that you learn while attending college.
These lessons happen in and out of the classroom.
There is more to college than just the degree you end up with.
While your degree is your primary focus, there are other valuable parts of college that aren’t going to be taught by a professor or a textbook.
College is a massive investment, but the result and all of the experiences you gain along the way make it well worth it.
Here are 10 reasons why it is not.
1. Teaches You Independence
College can be the first step towards your independence.
You get to decide just about everything in your schedule, depending on the degree you want to earn.
You get to choose what time you want to start and end your school day, which is perfect for night owls.
College also allows you to decide how you want to go to school under normal circumstances.
Although online classes may seem intimidating, those who are self-motivated and are independent learners tend to thrive in the online classroom setting.
This newfound freedom means that you’ll have to be the one to speak up when you’re struggling.
A professor will rarely come up to you when you’re struggling.
Your high school teachers weren’t kidding when they said that college professors won’t be holding your hand.
However, you should never be afraid to talk to your professor when you are having a hard time in their class.
By you showing the initiative to come up and talk to them, it shows your professor that you care about their class.
Depending on the professor’s schedule, they may or may not be able to help you personally.
If they are unable to help you, they can always help you find a tutor.
Sometimes, professors will have students from higher-level classes tutor lower-level students.
In college, there isn’t anyone breathing down your neck to get your schoolwork done, which can be great for some students and the downfall of others.
You are completely responsible for your own grades.
Failing a class is an expensive mistake to make and will result in you needing to retake the class.
College is where many people learn that your actions determine your future.
You are capable of doing even the hardest tasks.
2. Introduces You To New People
In classes, you will often have to be grouped up for class assignments and projects.
While not everyone in your group is going to be the kind of person you normally hang out with, don’t be afraid to give new people a shot.
College will introduce you to all sorts of different people.
You’ll meet people from different cultures, backgrounds, and stages of life.
Strike up conversations with the person sitting next to you before or after class, and you may find a new lifelong friend.
At your college or university, you’ll meet all sorts of people.
There are military members, confused high school graduates, working professionals, parents returning to school, slackers, overachievers, and more.
You could even find someone just like you.
Making friends at school is especially helpful if you attend school all day.
It’s nice not having to sit all alone in a giant cafeteria while eating lunch or dinner.
Waiting around campus in between classes is made much more enjoyable when you have pleasant people to talk to.
The students you meet won’t be the only people who show you a world of different people and beliefs.
Over the course of getting your degree, you may find professors who show you a new way of thinking or a new perspective on the world.
Joining one of the clubs available at your school is a great way to find people with the same interests, hobbies, or passions as you.
While not every club is going to be perfect, you will eventually find one that fits your personality and interest.
3. Teaches You Time Management Skills
In college, you are going to be incredibly busy, especially if you are also working.
The key to being able to manage work, school, and life responsibilities is good time management.
Keeping a schedule will help keep you from becoming overwhelmed or falling behind in your responsibilities.
Many students who previously never kept schedules find themselves relying on them in order to know how they’ll be spending their day.
The more classes you take, the harder it will be to manage your time.
For the best beginner’s schedule, start by opening your phone’s calendar.
Your phone is constantly near you, so you might as well use it to help keep on track rather than letting it become a distraction.
First, plug your work schedule into your calendar.
Use this information while scheduling your classes to make sure that the two don’t overlap.
Then, apply any classes with specific times to your calendar.
Fully online classes are extremely beneficial for working students because they lack actual class time and instead rely on you teaching yourself through their computer program.
Online classes that are labeled as “remote learning” will still have class or lecture time.
Once all of your classes with lectures are plugged into your calendar, then take time out of your day to put towards any fully online classes.
After this, add a couple of hours for studying at least a couple of times a week, and you’ll be completely planned out.
While this may be a skill that you can learn in many parts of life, college will always teach you this lesson, especially if you care about your grades.
Your time management skills will be used in the future when you have your own career and life responsibilities to attend to.
4. Teaches You Professional Etiquette
College is all about preparing you for your future career, based on your degree.
It is just as important to know how to act while you are doing your job as it is to know how to do your job.
Professional etiquette is a requirement for success in the working world.
During college, you will learn how to deal with difficult coworkers, employers, and employees.
You will also learn what you should expect from the proper authorities when other workers are giving you trouble.
During these same lessons, you’ll learn what happens if you aren’t following the rules and regulations for your profession.
Colleges want their students to do incredibly well in their field of work so it can reflect positively on the school and bring more students in.
There is more to professional etiquette than just being respectful and responsible.
There are small things that are expected of professionals that are typically unspoken.
In college, your professor’s expectations will typically align with the expectations of their studied field.
For example, in the business world, you need to be five minutes early for every meeting.
During these five minutes, you should be preparing yourself for the meeting and chatting with meeting members lightly.
If you arrive on time for the meeting, you are considered late and unprepared.
The same can be said about business classes.
Many law and medical classes have constant dress requirements that will require that you dress in your best “business casual” or “business formal” wear.
This will consist of loafers, slacks, a dress shirt, and possibly a tie at a minimum.
You may also wear heels or flats, dresses, skirts, blouses, and suit jackets.
This makes sense when you consider what these students of these fields will wear for their careers.
5. Hire Working Professionals To Teach
Not all of your lecturers are going to have a teaching degree or a history of teaching.
This doesn’t make them unfit for the job.
Oftentimes, you will find that these are the professors or lecturers who are the most helpful.
On the first day of your class, you are probably going to hear from your professor about their history in the field that they are teaching.
More often than not, their work history will include more time in the profession you are trying to enter than time teaching.
These professors will teach you the lessons that they wish their professional peers remembered better.
They will help carve you into what employers are looking for.
Many professors are also employers.
Finding out exactly what employers are looking for will help you land your dream job sooner.
Remember the things that your professor almost obsesses over because it is probably the biggest problem in their field.
For example, many professors will make a large deal about ethics.
Talking to these professors or just carefully listening to their lectures often reveals that they worked for an unethical company or organization.
Making a good name for yourself among your professors is also a great way to earn yourself job opportunities.
There are plenty of professors who teach after they retire.
They’re often on good terms with their last employers or are friends with other employers, so if you ask, they may be able to help you land a job.
Although it may be easy to vilify professors due to the stress from their classes, most professors want to help you succeed.
It reflects poorly on them when their students aren’t doing well or don’t have good things to say about their professor.
6. Helps You Create A Network
No matter what career you’re looking to get into, having a network of people you can trust to do a good job is irreplaceable.
A network is especially necessary for those who want to start their own business or work independently.
Knowing a whole variety of different people will help you jump-start any business idea you have.
These people don’t even need to work in similar fields in order to be helpful.
Quickly being able to recall the right person for a job you have can open up many doors.
Aspiring entrepreneurs are going to want a few key members in their network.
First, you’re going to want to befriend someone who is good with technology.
Businesses cannot survive without websites or computer systems in the modern world of business.
The next person you’re going to need is a business major.
These are the people who can help you make your dream business a reality.
They will be able to keep you afloat and functioning in a way that is consistent, effective, and efficient.
You are also going to want to find an accounting major, in particular.
Accounting is extremely tedious, and it is easy to mess up.
Messing up your accounting can have legal ramifications, so it is best to have an expert on call.
The next person you’re going to need is a digital artist or photographer.
You will need both, but there are many photographers who do both.
Artists help you look more professional through their digital designs for websites and logos.
Photographers will take professional photos of you or your products.
The final key member of your network should be a law student.
Having a lawyer you know you can trust can help give your company or business plan stability.
7. Gives You More Job Opportunities
If you’ve ever been job hunting, then you’ve seen the educational requirements for many jobs, regardless of pay.
After the recession, 11.5 million of the 11.6 million jobs that have returned require some amount of education after high school.
Many of the jobs that don’t require a high school degree are already taken, with the exception of working in the food or retail services.
Sadly, many of these jobs don’t pay enough to allow people to make ends meet.
When trying to decide whether college is worth the time to you, try looking through all the available jobs in your area.
Every time you find one that you can imagine yourself doing, look at the educational requirements.
Thirty percent of jobs will require you to have an associate’s degree or certification from a trade school.
Thirty-five percent of jobs will require you to have a bachelor’s degree.
There are many jobs that won’t even ask for a specific type of degree, but rather that you simply have one.
Employers want to ensure that you know the basics of their work environment.
You should plan on learning more about the field you’re entering once you start your job.
You can still apply for a job even if you don’t have the exact requirements they are looking for.
Don’t be afraid to apply for a job or internship if you only have your associate’s, instead of your bachelor’s.
The jobs that will be firmer about their educational requirements are those requiring a master’s degree.
Jobs that require degrees are also easier to find than jobs that don’t require degrees.
Many people who take on apprenticeships rather than schooling are people who know someone looking for an apprentice.
8. Can Help You Earn More Money
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, people who get their degrees earn more money.
It’s not just a couple of thousand more dollars annually, but rather hundreds of dollars more per week.
Degrees are an investment that pays for themselves each year you work.
The average worker who does not have a high school diploma makes an average of $520 per week.
The average monthly expenses for an American total $5,102.
This number includes having a spouse and one child.
Even by just graduating high school and getting your high school diploma, you will earn an average of $712 per week.
That’s a nearly $200 jump that you can get done with zero cost to you.
All it takes is time and dedication.
By having your associate’s degree, you will earn an average of $836 per week.
You will be able to apply for more jobs and better-paying jobs with just your associate’s.
The biggest jump is between associate’s degree holders and bachelor’s degree holders.
The average worker with a bachelor’s degree will earn $1,173 per week.
This means you will be making more than $60,000 per year.
Although college can burn a major hole in your spending, it is an investment that pays off financially as much as it pays off socially.
If you’re dedicated enough, it doesn’t even have to put you in debt.
9. Offer Scholarships
While many students may not be able to afford to go to college, there are still ways of achieving your dreams of earning your degree.
There is a multitude of scholarships that you can apply for.
While most scholarships are based on your grades or athleticism, there are many other scholarships that you can potentially earn.
If you or your family cannot afford the high price of college education, see if you can apply for grants.
There are grants provided to students who come from households that make below a certain level of annual income.
Go to the Federal Student Aid website to see what scholarships you can apply for.
If you choose to go to a community college, you could have your entire degree and textbooks paid for through these grants.
You can also earn additional scholarships if necessary.
You should go to your college of choice’s website to see what scholarships they have available.
If you can’t find them on their website, feel free to call a counselor from the school to discuss potential payment programs or scholarship programs they have available.
Just make sure that you know what type of financial support you are applying for.
You will not have to pay back grants or scholarships, but you do need to pay back loans.
The sooner you pay back loans, the less interest you will have to pay.
10. Helps You Find Your Passion
During your time at college, you will figure out if your career choice is really the one you want to spend your entire life doing.
It is not uncommon to change degrees after taking a class that sparked an interest in you.
College courses can help you find passions and talents you didn’t even know you had.
You may even find that your passion is simply learning, which can lead you down the path towards your master’s or doctorate.
College is all about helping create the best version of yourself.
College will chisel at your strength only to show how much tougher you are than you thought.
It is a time of self-improvement and self-discovery that nobody can truly put a price tag on.