THE SEMINOLE NEWSPAPER

IS COLLEGE ACTUALLY WORTH IT?

Some+students+may+find+college+to+be+unnecessary%2C+others+may+think+their+future+depends+on+college.+
Some students may find college to be unnecessary, others may think their future depends on college.

Some students may find college to be unnecessary, others may think their future depends on college.

Some students may find college to be unnecessary, others may think their future depends on college.

Kierstin Phillips, Photographer

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The classic American life: go to college, get married, and have children.

Recently, this lifestyle has started to change, mostly among millennials who are questioning traditional ideals. In previous decades, young women everywhere began rejecting the ideas of marriage and kids. Now, because of economic, health, and personal reasons, some students are questioning whether or not to even go to college.

Senior Katelyn White believes that while college can help high school graduates chart out their careers, it’s not the only path for success. 

“It can give you an advantage getting to know what you want to do, but some people don’t go to college and end up with fine careers,” said White.  

The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that of the 30 projected fastest growing jobs, such as detectives and commercial pilots, five do not require a high school diploma and nine require only a high school diploma. That makes almost half the jobs eligible for non-college graduates. 

Four-year public college tuition has risen dramatically in the past decades, increasing by 271.2 percent between 1967 and 2017. College graduates had an average of $37,173 in loan debt and 45 percent of people with student loan debt claimed college was not worth it.

Along with a growing tuition, a college degree does not guarantee workplace benefits and college stress can lead to health problems later in life. In 2013, 68.9 percent of employed college graduates did not receive health insurance through their employers and, in 2011, 27.2 percent received retirement coverage. That is a 41.5 percent decrease from 2000. According to the Director of Student Health Services at Biola University, college stress produces a number of physical and mental problems: depression, anxiety, insomnia, increased blood pressure, weight gain, and more.

Despite the stress that goes along with it, there are many downsides to not going to college. Only 64 percent of high school only graduates are homeowners, down 70 percent from 2000. About six percent of college graduates belong to labor unions which contribute a lot to raising pay for workers. College graduates are more likely than high school graduates to contribute to a 401(k)-style retirement plan by 26 percent.

Guidance counselor Leslie Mulet explains that in her case, college was definitely worth the money and time. To her, college gives young people an opportunity to adjust to the working world. 

“I’m still paying off student loans, but college is so much more than just learning the material,” said Mulet, “It’s an opportunity to live on your own. It gives you the life skills you need.”

While student debt and college stress may make college very off-putting, a degree could be very helpful in the long run. In 2016, the average income for people 25 years or older with only a high school diploma was $35,615, whereas those with a bachelor’s degree made between $65,482 and $92,525. Thus, people are more likely to get a good job with a college degree than only a high school diploma–in fact, only 34 percent of American jobs require a high school diploma or less. 

The college experience gives young students real-world lessons that simply cannot be taught in a high school environment.

“You don’t know diversity until you’ve stepped on a college campus,” said Mulet.

College not only gives people an economic boost in the working world, but it also provides young people a small but powerful step forward into adulthood. In college, people are given the right to make way for new ideas and lifestyle choices that were not available to them in high school. There are some careers where someone can be quite successful and not need a college education, but overall college graduates are economically favored in the professional world. 

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