What are you reasons for going to college?
I’d like to discuss one question that we never really think about in great detail. Why are you going to college?
Here are some of the common answers:
- To get paid more
- To live better
These reasons will be the three you hear most when talking to college students.
College is often seen as a ticket to a better life. All you have to do is get accepted and get through your classes and after graduation you will make more money. But there is more to it than just that, and I’d argue the above isn’t even true.
So why did I go to college? Here’s my list of reasons…
Education is one of the most common reasons for going to college.
Getting an education means that I don’t care to just learn a basic trade skill and make some more money. Getting an education means learning about a variety of subjects, this is what you hear many college students complain about.
“Why do I have to take a science class when I’m going into business? It will never be useful!”
Colleges have you take a variety of classes that aren’t directly related to your field. This is the concept of “liberal arts” and its purpose is to expose you to a variety of subjects or “get an education.”
Liberal arts colleges are focused more around this concept than other colleges. This is in contrast to vocational schools which offer training exclusively for jobs.
Changing the way you think is one of the advantages of going to college.
To refine the way I think, what does that even mean? To me this is a combination of 1) the knowledge received in college, and 2) methods of analysis.
- The knowledge you receive includes general knowledge gained from all classes along with the field-specific knowledge you may gain from your more specialized classes. While you may not have everything you’ve learned memorized, you know the general concepts and more importantly, you know what type of information you need even if you may not know exactly what it is (you can look it up).
- The tools are the way by which you think. These include rationality, analogy, and context among wide list of others. With a good education you will be better at making connections, evaluation situations, and making informed decisions. Having a better understanding of the world allows you to more quickly and effectively do all of these things. This not only makes you better at your job but also better at other things in life and happier in general.
Why should I go to college? To become more qualified!
This doesn’t refer to having a piece of paper that tells someone what I’m capable of doing.
Here’s a little secret: Once you graduate college, you will be nowhere near fully prepared to do what job you take.
A college degree is only the starting point. Then you have to figure out what to do after college.
As an example let’s take a look at the education of a doctor. First they get an undergraduate degree in a scientific field. After that, they apply for medical schools. Assuming they get in on their first try, they then spend 4 years in medical school. So far they have spent 8 years in school. Now they move on into a college internship and residency at a hospital, depending on their specialty they could spend up to 8 years in this stage.
The internship and residency portion can be compared to getting a job in a different field, wherein they work but are doing fairly basic tasks while learning more complicated ones. During every single stage of this process they are constantly learning to do their jobs, only many years after the academic portion of their education are they ready to be on the job. Even graduates of specialized programs at radiation therapy schools still have a lot of experience to gain after school.
Now, using a doctor as the example may be a little more extreme than other professions but principal still holds true. Getting a bachelor’s degree in accounting will land you a job. But it won’t be as the senior accountant of the firm. You would get a job as an entry level book keeper entering numbers all day.
During this you will learn more complicated tasks and more intricate workings of the company. If you excel at your “on the job training”, you qualify yourself for a better position.
I will repeat this because it’s very important; a degree is only the starting point.
Why you should be going to college?
If you have an outlook of college being a way to make more money with no goals beyond that, it might not be the right place for you. This doesn’t mean a college education doesn’t make you more money, it definitely does. But the route to doing that is to first find your passion and what you love to do. Then you go into your college career with that in mind (don’t worry you don’t have to decide right when entering, you have some time).
Aside from this, you may also want to consider attending an online school, especially if you are concerned about saving money. Online institutions like Benedictine University allow you to enroll in a dual Master’s program. As the name suggests, you earn two Master’s degrees in half the time it would take via conventional University. Double degree programs such as a Master of Public Health and Master of Business administration, or a Master of Business Administration and a Master of Science in Nursing are right at your fingertips if you’re online, and it only takes a few moments to look into your options.
After college you will have the right type of education and passion to be the starting point of a successful career. If you go into it hoping to just get through and be handed a job and never change that mindset, you could be in for a nasty surprise. You won’t have the ingredients to excel at a career let alone get accepted in a good position over someone who does have the ingredients. You can consider starting an online business.
Now I’d be interested to hear your opinions. Why are you or did you go to college and how has that worked out for you? What were your reasons for going to college?
This was a guest post from Edwin.