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If I have to read one more argument about why college isn't worth the cost anymore for the available jobs out there today, my head is going to explode.
College is worth it. Yes, I know: Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg all dropped out of college and now they are filthy rich. They are a rare breed. They are geniuses who were smart enough to get into schools like Harvard in the first place. If you are smart enough to get into Harvard, but know you can make a billion dollars by working on your tech startup, sure, college isn't worth it. But you can also go to Princeton, graduate, and then start Amazon.com like Jeff Bezos did. Or you can go to college and then get an M.B.A. and start eBay like Meg Whitman.
Need other arguments on why college is worth it? Here's a few more.
Studying the right field pays off
Certain majors have more earning power than others. Engineering majors, for example, learn technical skills that earn them median earnings of $75,000, so going to college to pursue these degrees are well worth it.
If the point of going to college is to get a well-paying job, don't become a psychology major — studies show that psychology alumni don't work in areas that pay a lot of money. Of course, money isn't everything. Students should study what they're passionate about — they just need to be realistic about whether their passions are worth their earning potentials.
Read on for more reasons to go to college.
The average college degree has a decent rate of return
In the Los Angeles Times, researchers from the Brookings Institute say that putting money into a college education is a better investment than if you were to put the same amount of money into the stock market.
Say you're a graduating high school student and have $102,000. You could either use that money to pay for your college education, or put that money in stocks or bonds, in addition to earning whatever salary you can common as someone with a high school diploma. The researchers say a college degree will get you a rate of return of 15.2 percent a year over your lifetime — double the rate of return in the stock market during the last 60 years, which has been 6.8 percent.
Over a lifetime, college graduates earn more than $570,000 more than the average person with only a high school diploma, the researchers argue.
College degrees pay off for jobs that don't even require them
If we're going to have some real talk for a moment, there are a good number of waiters/waitresses, bartenders, plumbers, and so on who have college degrees and are working in jobs that don't require advanced degrees.
The New York Times looked at a study earlier this year that showed that college graduates working in these fields earned much more than those with just a high school diploma. A cashier, for example, earns $19,000 on average, but with a college degree, earns $29,000 on average. Similarly, plumbers without a degree earn $37,000 on average, but earn $52,000 with a degree.
In a tight job market, a college degree will push you towards the head of the pack
I completed my master's degree in 2007 — right before the height of recession. To my surprise, I was able to interview with a lot of different companies for different types of positions. The truth is people are always hiring — it's just that the number of jobs available are limited during hard times, and the competition is fierce. My college degrees gave me an edge above the competition, with one employer even offering me a short contract job on the spot. Employers can expect to be bombarded with hundreds of resumes the minute a job is posted, and you can be sure that resumes without a college degree are quickly eliminated first.
I don't think any of us want parents, teachers or counselors telling high school students to aim low and skip college. College is expensive, but it doesn't have to be. If you have to take out more than $50,000 to go to college, you should seriously consider your options and think about whether or not an education at a college that will put you in debt for most of your adult life is worth pursuing. This doesn't mean skipping college — it just means considering the second, third or sixth college on your list and making a smart decision about what you can actually afford to do.
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