If you’re wondering whether or not going to university is worth it, you may be thinking of super-successful people who never even graduated. People like Virgin Airlines founder Richard Branson, singer/songwriter Lady Gaga, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and actress/entrepreneur and billionaire Mary-Kate Olsen, among other people, either never went to college or dropped out. But such people are rare.
We don’t have any statistics to go by when we say that your level of education is linked to your success. But for every successful CEO, entrepreneur and entertainer, there are probably a large number of others who would not consider themselves successful. What percentage of the latter group went to college? It’s difficult to quantify success, and therefore it’s usually difficult to put a value on the level of education that can get you there.
Having said that, and despite the cost of university education, there are plenty of reasons to get one.
You’re Likely to Earn More
Various government statistics show that if you go to college and get at least a bachelor’s degree, you’re likely to earn more. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics has found that the more you study, the more you are likely to earn.
Bureau data from 2017 suggests that those who have the highest educational qualifications – professional degrees and doctorates – earn more than three times as much as those who have less than a high school diploma.
The numbers are huge and telling. Those with a professional degree earned over $1750 (median earnings) in a week. More than half of those with a doctoral degree earned marginally less than $1750 a week.
In contrast, more than fifty per cent of those with a high school diploma and no college education earned less than $750 a week. The median weekly earnings for an associate degree holder was less than $900 a week. But even a bachelor’s degree holder could earn over $1300 in the same period.
As you can clearly see, going to university can fatten your wallet significantly. The costs of going to university usually payouts in the long run, as long as you choose your college carefully and do a lot of researches before you enroll.
You’ll Have the Power to Do What You Enjoy
It also appears that most people who go to university do so largely because they enjoy the subject they study and are really passionate about it. At least, that’s the conclusion of a survey of over 60,000 students carried out by the Times Higher Education.
At a university, you get to dive deeper into your subject, whether it is from a research perspective or academic perspective. It applies whether you’re studying zoo animals, consumer psychology, archaeology, ballistics, oil painting or the Higgs boson.
At university, you’ll have the opportunity to learn more about the subject you’re interested in, and more significantly, learn more about contemporary knowledge on the subject. That’s an excellent reason to pursue higher education.
You’ll Learn Essential Life Skills
One of the most popular reasons to go to university is to learn important life skills, and sometimes by default. For many students, the university becomes the start of “adulting.” You have to learn to pay your own bills, get a job to pay off your student debts and learn valuable lessons in budgeting and independence.
You have to worry about yourself at university – no one will do it for you. You may learn to multi-task, prioritize what needs to be done over what you want to do, and you’ll definitely learn more about yourself, such as what works to get you motivated about things (like coursework or even an unwelcome but necessary social outing.) University will also throw you in the midst of group work, so you’ll learn to work with others.
All these are valuable life skills that will prepare you not just for the rest of your career but also your relationships and life in general.
You’ll Continue Learning and Develop
From the perspective of your career and your engagement with the subject of your choice, the university will help you discover and apply new knowledge on your own. Unlike school, where you learn facts and a little problem solving guided by your teachers, the university will throw you into an arena where you have to figure things out without being spoon-fed.
Whatever your subject, you’ll be faced with complex contexts and you have to learn to solve problems on your own, applying the knowledge you’ve learned so far. You’ll learn critical thinking and you’ll learn to question. University is where you will come into your own if you put in the hard work that is required to get there.
You’ll Expand Your Network
There is a cliché that goes like this: success depends on who you know, not what you know. And with social media such a huge boys’ club of people who know each other, it can be hard to get noticed if you don’t know someone in your university or an influencer in your industry when it comes to landing a job or getting your business off the ground.
University is an excellent place to start networking, whether you’re looking for internship leads, career advice or insight into the industry. You can turn to your seniors for advice, get involved at the campus, go to club fairs, sign up for the newsletter, and keep an eye on the bulletin boards.
A visit to the career centre on campus could open up a lot of resources for you. You should start visiting job fairs as early as your second year if only to pass around your resume and shake hands with people in the industry. You’ll also find out more about which way your career could potentially go.
Invest some time in maintaining the relationships that you build, and the bigger your network, the bigger the chance that you could find a job-search help when you need it.
You’ll be Intellectually Stimulated
Many people go to university to be intellectually stimulated. Research has shown that surrounding yourself with people who you find intellectually stimulating will keep your memory strong and creative. At university, creative and intelligent people surround you and ideas are always flying around. Such an environment will help you come up with better ideas for your own business or the profession that you want to pursue. You’ll learn from the best students and professors at university, and this will have a huge influence on your output.
You’ll be Able to Pursue the Career of Your Choice
Lastly – and this point probably should have been first – you’ll be able to pursue a career of your choice. Studies have shown that success comes with doing what you love. A distinguished Hungarian psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi says that being able to enjoy your work is the main factor in getting into the state of flow that lets you reach the peak of your potential.
Going to university for a subject you love will help you pursue your career in that direction. In our competitive world today, you’re more likely to land a job if you’ve been to university. So, it follows that you’re more likely to land a job of your choice when you’ve been to university.
Going to university will help you land a better, more well-paying job in a field of your choice. You will be more productive when you enjoy what you do, and your quality of life will definitely improve. The major deterrent for most people when it comes to applying for university is the cost.
Any time that you spend researching financial aid positions will be well worth spent, when at the end of four years, you’re hired into a company that you’ve always dreamed of joining or when you’re launching your own products and watching your ideas take flight.