WOMAN: I’m sure many of you have heard about the recently released report on college graduates in our country…you know, the one that demonstrated that around 85 percent of college grads are still living with their parents. Right, so I can tell by the looks on your faces that these statistics have already made the rounds. As freshman college students, I’m sure you are now wondering, is this university education really worth it? So today I want to tackle that question with some hard facts and realities, as well as break down the education debt myth that we’re, uh, inundated with these days.
Let’s start with the recent study. I know it’s easy to interpret the statistic as meaning that 85 percent of college grads don’t have jobs, but that’s not the case by a long shot. In fact, of that 85 percent, about 65 percent had some form of full-time employment. Another 10 percent had part-time. Then why are the grads living with their parents, you ask? They are simply doing the smart thing and saving money. Let’s face it, getting a college degree is expensive. So even if you get a good job right out of college, most of us are still going to have to pay off student loans. One way to do that quicker is by not paying rent, which accounts for around 40 percent of your monthly expenditures.
But a lot of people say that young people shouldn’t have to pay so much for their education in the first place. There was a survey in 2011 that showed the majority of Americans…um, around 57 percent…thought that the United States higher education system fails to provide students with good value for their money. And in that same study, 75 percent of respondents said that college is too expensive for most people to afford.
Well, it’s clear what people’s opinions are on the topic, but I’m going to give you some of my thoughts as to why getting a college education is still the best option. First of all, even when the job market is tough, you still have better odds of getting a job with a college degree. This is actually even more true in a hard job market because suddenly tons of young educated people are applying for unskilled labour positions. Even if a job doesn’t require a degree, an employer is of course going to prefer to hire the more educated applicant.
Secondly, you’re better off in the long run with a college education because you’ll be in a better position to demand promotions and raises. I was reading somewhere that a person with a college degree is three times as likely to be promoted as a person in an identical position without the degree. So the long-term dividends can really pay off.
I also want to bring up that an education is more than just the piece of paper you get at the end. It’s more than a mere credential. An education is a learning experience, first and foremost. I think back to my days in university and wish I had paid more attention to the vast knowledge that was shared by my professors. If you are really immersed in your studies, it can be a very mind-expanding time in your life. You not only receive new information, but you learn different ways to critically think about the world. And this is invaluable in any job.
Lastly, let’s not forget that college is also a social experience. Young people often meet the best friends of their lives in college, and have exchanges and interactions that transform the way they see the world. It’s also the time when most young adults start life on their own, away from their families’ homes. They become independent, self-sufficient people…well, ideally, anyway. So personally, I wouldn’t recommend any young person miss out on this incredibly period of self-growth. In the long-run, you’ll be the one to suffer.