Is A College Degree Worth It?

by Broke Grad on January 31, 2012

Over the past few years, we have seen the price of college tuition continue to rise and the unemployment rate of recent graduates reach new highs. With college students and their parents paying more money for college to earn a potentially useless piece of paper, it’s hard not to ask — is a college degree still worth it?

Those who argue that a college degree isn’t worth it usually mention a few names of college dropouts who became billionaires, like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Mark Zuckerberg. However, these cases are outliers if you compare them to average college dropouts.

In my personal experience, paying for a college degree was worth it because it helped me land my dream job. Going to college helped me learn the skills and make the connections that gave me the opportunity to apply for my dream job, but that alone wasn’t enough. I wanted to work at arguably the top company in my field. Needless to say, thousands of other people did too. And so I was rejected the first time…and the second time…and the third time. That’s right — I applied four times (and spent a couple of extra years in grad school) before I finally got the job.

On the other hand, one of my coworkers told me the story of how he made it to the same place as me without going to college at all. In high school he was failing his classes, and his teachers told him he wouldn’t succeed. Tired of the negativity, he decided to drop out of school, but instead of giving up, he decided to prove his teachers wrong. He discovered something that he loved to do and learned how to do it on his own. He got good enough to get a job at a smaller company and gradually worked his way up to bigger companies until he finally made it to his dream job.

As you can see, there are many ways to achieve your goals whether or not you go to college. In the end I think the true worth of a college degree is what you make of it. For some people, college will help you figure out what you want to do and how to get there, but for other people, college will leave you just as confused as you were at the start (with a lot more debt).

Now it’s your turn to share. Do you think a college degree is worth the money?

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