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Is College Worth It? How to Decide

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A college education can be extremely valuable. Obviously, in many cases, it can offer a pathway to a lucrative and rewarding career. Additionally, many find that the experience of attending college is enriching in a way few other experiences can possibly match. There are many reasons young people should consider attending college after high school.

That said, it’s also important to remember that there are many ways to make a decent living without attending college. If you’re asking yourself “Is college really worth it?”, keep the following points in mind. While you still need to carefully consider this decision, they’ll help you better understand whether college is right for you and your goals.

How to Decide if College is Worth the Investment

Assess Your Academic Strengths

Research indicates college is worth it (from a financial perspective) for most people who attend. However, there are exceptions worth being aware of.

College is academically demanding. And, the truth is, not everyone performs well in academic settings. That doesn’t mean they don’t have any other strengths. It simply means the classroom may not be the ideal environment for them to showcase those strengths.

Specifically, research also shows that people who graduate from high school in the bottom 25% of their class usually don’t reap the financial rewards of a college investment. Consider that when deciding whether college is for you.

Have a Sense of Your Future Plans

Don’t make the mistake of assuming you absolutely need to know what you want to do after college or what you want to major in before attending. Contrary to what some believe, many (if not most) first-year college students aren’t entirely confident in their future plans. It’s entirely acceptable to make adjustments once you get a better sense of your options.

On the other hand, it does help to have a basic sense of why you want to go to college in the first place. Asking yourself “Is college worth it?” is really not very different form asking yourself if any other purchase or investment is worth your time and money. If you don’t have even a basic idea of why you want to make a particular investment, maybe you should consider other options.

Don’t Go to College for the Wrong Reasons

You need to be careful with this particular point in regards to your college plans. Yes, many people who probably don’t need to go to college do so anyway because they feel pressure to from their family, society, or both. However, there are also people who feel that same pressure, but nevertheless benefit from a college education. The fact that they could go to college for the wrong reasons doesn’t mean they are.

You simply need to make sure you’re going to college because you can honestly say it feels like the best choice for very practical reasons. If you’re thinking about going solely because others want you to, it’s time to step back and reconsider.

Is college worth it? For some, absolutely. For others, maybe not. Deciding whether it is for you can understandably be difficult. It just doesn’t need to be as difficult as you might assume.

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