\How necessary is it to have a college degree? I have often heard that a bachelor’s degree is the equivalent to a high school diploma. Meaning if you don’t have an advanced degree, i.e. Masters or PHD, those who have earned their high school diploma with some experience and others who have also earned their bachelor's degree will be considered for the same jobs. According to the College Board.org, the average private four-year college cost about $33,480 for it’s annual tuition and fees. A public institution cost about $9650 annually. If you are qualified for the same job as someone without the degree, is picking up a potential final tab of $132 thousand really worth it? This obviously doesn’t apply to the fortunate students that have prepaid college funds. For those that don’t, here is where you would have to consider:
Your earning potential vs. cost of investment.
Assuming one does not want to continue their education by earning a degree, another alternative would be to earn certification or licenses in a trade or vocation. Knowing what you want to do in life and what you enjoy is as vital as being passionate about something and remaining diligent with it. If you can pursue a career without starting your life with a mountain of debt, that would be ideal. I can’t begin to tell you how much I admire hairdressers. Having the ability to bring joy to someone by giving him/ her a new or polished look while earning a lucrative salary is so amazing to me.
There are many people who have earned advanced degrees and still find it very difficult to find work. Not only a career, but any work! My suggestion to those students considering the possibility of college, weigh your options and know what path you want to take. There are a great deal of resources available to help offset the cost of school to make it more affordable if that is the best route to your career. Fastweb and Scholarships.com provides many scholarship opportunities. In addition, some great programs exist that are cost efficient and will give you the experience you need in your field and the certification, an example is JobCorps. The best part about programs such as Job Corps is, you get to start your life, but not so much in debt.
If college is absolutely for you because of the experience, I would even suggest starting at a community college and transferring after two years. Currently, the cost of a two-year school would be $3,520 per year. That is a savings of over $30,000 a year if you were to transfer to a four-year university after completing your associate's. Wowzers!!!! I guess it’s true, hindsight is 20/20. I would have loved to have this insight prior to me beginning my education; Sallie Mae would have less of my monthly paycheck! Education is invaluable especially paired with an amazing college experience, which is why it is wise to have an idea on the return of your investment, as your education will be one of the most important investments you will make in life.