Do the Benefits of College Outweigh the Costs?

Samantha Bender, Assistant News Editor

For as long as I can remember, it has been drilled into my head that in order to have a successful career and financially support myself and my future family, I must attend college.

But why is it that, from such a young age, parents and teachers alike put so much pressure on college and preparing for it? Especially in a time where tuition is increasing and wages are falling, is it even worth it? 

According to a study conducted by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, data consistently shows that, in terms of dollars, attending college is the practical decision. 

The study found that, in 2017, median weekly earnings for those with the highest levels of educational attainment —doctoral and professional degrees— were more than triple those with the lowest level —less than a high school diploma. Along with this, workers with at least a bachelor’s degree earned more than the $907 median weekly earnings for all workers.

I am not sure I have met a student, yet, who hasn’t felt the stress of student loans and expenses at some point. For me, this study has helped to slightly put my mind at ease and has confirmed that all of my hard work and money should eventually pay off.  

But money and expenses aside, what is college doing for us besides giving us a piece of paper as proof of our four years beyond high school? 

As a junior with three years of college under my belt, I could not be more grateful for the sense of independence and the communication skills college has taught me and allowed me to acquire along the way.

We go about our whole lives having little to no say in the schools we attend. Most of us are thrown into the elementary school, middle school and high school that is closest to where we live or to schools of our parents choosing. 

So I know that, in my case, I had a huge invigorating feeling when it came time to pick a college to attend. Having the ability to choose the setting, size and location of where I wanted to spend my next four years of school was extremely exciting.It was the first time I had felt a true sense of independence and responsibility for the direction in which I wanted my life to go. I remember stepping foot onto Central Connecticut’s campus for the first time and feeling an overwhelming sense of possibility. 

My freshman year of college was the first time I had lived away from my parents. It was the first time I was completely on my own and had the freedom to make my own choices. This also meant I had to grow up and figure things out for myself, because I did not have my parents right there to help me solve my problems.

I am certain that had I not lived on campus with people I hadn’t known prior to college, I would not be as mature as I am today. It pushed me out of my comfort zone and taught me how to communicate my feelings in order to address any problems that came my way.

At the end of the day, there is only so much that high school can teach us. College is really where students are given the opportunity to express themselves fully, make their own decisions and find their own footing in this world. For me, the benefits of at least my personal college experience outweigh the costs of it. There is no way I would be as well-rounded, mature and independent had I not made the decision to attend a university.