Posted on 18 January 2012.
Katie Barger/ La Vista
Pro:College experience shows universal benefits
By Michelle McKenna
Despite rising tuition costs and admissions competition, having a college degree is a definite benefit to any student.
Concerns regarding the viability of college have been raised because the unemployment rate for college graduates is unusually high. Also, 40 percent of college students don’t get a degree within six years, according to TIME magazine. Although these figures seem dismal, having a college degree can prove an undeniable advantage when seeking jobs.
According to Bureau of Labor Statistics, the 2010 unemployment rate was more than 10 percent for those with a high school degree. However, it was 5.4 percent for college graduates.
Additionally, 74 percent of college graduates believe they grew intellectually and 69 percent believe it helped them mature, according to the Pew Research Center, all of which are vital tools to succeeding outside of the classroom.
College dropouts such as Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg are often brought up in arguments regarding successful college dropouts; however, it is important to remember that these are extremely rare cases and are not likely.
College is often seen as the pathway to a brighter future and a higher salary. According to the Institution of Education Sciences, the 2009 median earnings for young adults with a bachelor’s degree was $45,000, while the median was $30,000 for those with a high school diploma and $21,000 for those without a high school diploma.
The college experience is another factor that should be considered. According to a Wall Street Journal study, the “college experience,” the social life and non-academic activities, deepens and enriches one’s life. College graduates tend to be happier and more satisfied than those with less education, according to a Pew Research Center study.
Although it is important for prospective students to explore their options, college is the most reasonable and effective course to take. Mira Costa students should weigh their options and determine what will help them achieve their goals. United States Census Bureau statistics show college graduates tend to have more variation in job opportunities, as well as higher earnings, both of which are key components of a successful career.
The College and Career Center at Costa allows students to explore their options. Although some students may decide not to attend college, it is the suggestion of the CCC that all Costa students meet the eligibility requirements for college, should they change their minds.
The most important things college and higher education provides are more opportunity and an abundance of choices. Student loans lead to $27,200 debt on average, according to Esquire, but there are few other negative aspects of a gaining college education. According to TIME magazine, 86 percent of graduates felt happy with their investment.
College is an incredibly useful commodity that should not be cast aside without fully exploring the benefits.
A college education is an important tool to succeed in life. Not only does it bring about more job opportunity, it also gives young people a time to discover themselves and explore their intellect, which is
important when achieving any kind of career or life success.
Con: Many alternatives exist for different interests
By Alec Lautanen
Executive Opinion Editor
With tuition costs rising and the quality of higher education in the United States seeming to stagnate, many high school students are faced with the choice of whether to pursue a college degree or enter directly into the workforce.
While higher education proves beneficial to a great number of students, by no way is it reasonable or logical to expect all high schoolers to follow this track. By no means is a four-year degree the only path for young adults to start careers, and many alternate methods of employment exist.
The average cost of college tuition has risen over 900% since 1978, according to a study done by FinAid, a financial aid group. Not only is this figure almost 550 points over the rise of inflation, but it comes with a college experience that is declining in quality.
In a survey of college presidents conducted by the Pew Research Center, it was found that only 19% believe the United States’ system of higher education is the best in the world now, and only 7% believe it will top the global list in 10 years.
These figures alone do not justify a shift away from college by potential students. However, when considering four years of work experience and related earnings instead of an average of over $25,000 in debt due to tuition fees, alternate paths such as apprenticeships and vocational training seem more substantial.
For a large amount of students, seeking immediate training in a profession of their choice may seem like a better choice. Career and occupation- oriented programs are offered by many high schools, including Mira Costa, which provides this education through the Southern California Regional Occupation Center, free of cost to students. The College and Career Center recommends all students shoot for eligibility for four-year universities but also stresses this path is not a one-size-fits-all path for students.
There is also a compromise between four years of college and direct work after high school. Vocational and technical schools provide directly applicable workforce skills at a fraction of the cost of universities.
According to a Michigan State University study, these types of education programs can also earn students
certification in certain fields, such as areas of construction and technological jobs. Certification almost always results in higher pay and at a much lower time commitment and price than traditional college education.
Although the average lifetime earnings of those with college degrees can be up to $650,000 higher than those with only high school diplomas, figures vary wildly on a case-by-case basis and do not take into account those who pursued education other than colleges after high school.
Another stance proponents of high education take is the benefit of job security. Even though the average unemployment rate of those with college degrees is about half that of those without, job experience has been found to be more beneficial than school experience for older workers (those who have worked for 15-20 years) interviewing for jobs, according to a TIME study.
For the majority of high school students, the investment in a college education is a smart choice. However, for those who wish to start work immediately or who do not want to take on excessive debt, many alternate avenues exist.