Whether or not to go to college is a major decision. There are numerous factors to consider, including the cost of tuition, the time commitment involved, and the availability of financial aid and loans. And while the price of a college degree continues to increase, it’s an investment that can have major pay-offs, both financially and otherwise.
Going to college can open doors to new experiences, both during and after getting a degree. While the financial opportunities that college can bring are certainly worth considering, there are so many other advantages to getting an undergraduate degree. Here’s a look at some of the top benefits to becoming a college grad.
Explore Areas of Interest
Some students enter college already knowing what they want their major to be. Whether someone’s a star chemistry student going pre-med or a drama nerd ready to delve into theater, college can be a time to deepen the interests students have cultivated throughout their education.
Declaring a major sets a student up to explore a particular subject from all angles, becoming somewhat of an expert in their chosen field. A student will take numerous courses in their major, sometimes culminating in a thesis project on a specialized subject.
There are often clubs and activities in each major field, allowing students to develop communities with others who have shared interests, broadening the scope of their education.
College can also be a time to explore new areas, and can give students the chance to discover subjects they may not have known much about before.
College students are often encouraged to explore new subjects, especially in their freshman year, in order to experiment, and perhaps find a new and promising area of study.
Going to college can be a way to deepen one’s understanding of a particular subject, whether it’s something a student may have studied previously, or a completely new topic.
Either way, getting a degree is a way to open your mind and tap into a sense of intellectual curiosity in an environment conducive to rigorous and serious academic exploration.
💡 Quick Tip: You can fund your education with a low-rate, no-fee private student loan that covers all school-certified costs.
One of the most practical arguments for going to college is to improve your earning potential. The Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities reviewed the impact a college degree could have on someone’s earning potential and found that millennials with a high school diploma earned just 62% of what their counterparts with a college degree earned. And while actually achieving that college degree may cost a lot, a majority of college graduates believe it was worth it.
Like any investment, there has to be money put in up front, unless you get a full scholarship or a college loan. Ideally, that upfront investment of time and money will pay off in the long run.
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Open Up Potential Career Paths
While a college degree may have been a way to stand out from the crowd in the past, today it’s proving to be a prerequisite for most jobs. Research suggests that people with a Bachelor’s degree earn roughly 75% more than those with just a high school diploma, and that, generally, the higher the level of educational attainment, the larger the payoff.
While going to college can be a highly rewarding experience in itself, it can be wise to consider possible career paths while selecting courses and deciding on a major. However, there is nothing wrong with getting a liberal arts education. Employers may not necessarily be looking for a specific specialization when hiring, but often may appreciate someone with a well-rounded academic background.
Certain fields, however, like business and medicine, may require that students’ major field corresponds to their choice of career. When exploring different subjects during college, you might find out about a new area you want to pursue as a career, a huge benefit of getting an undergraduate degree as well.
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Expand Your Circle
College can be a time to build the relationships that will greatly affect your life — and possibly your career. Over the course of the four years it takes to complete a bachelor’s degree, there are countless opportunities to make new connections — from the people in your dorm, to your classmates, to those you meet through extracurriculars.
College can be a time to develop a wide and varied circle, or to simply grow several deep and lasting friendships. It can also be a time to meet a romantic partner, whether the relationship is short- or longer-term.
Having a wide circle can help out in a variety of ways. From finding post-grad roommates to knowing people in the field of work you’re trying to get into, college connections can be an invaluable resource in life.
Improve Critical Thinking and Communication
The so-called “soft skills” of being a good listener or critical thinking are also in high demand by employers, and college can be a prime time to develop them. These are skills that can be honed both in and outside the classroom, and college aims to give students a well-rounded experience that helps them develop both socially and academically.
College is the first time many people live away from home, and it can be a nerve-racking experience. But once you’re over the hump, living on your own can be an extremely fun and rewarding experience.
College can be a chance to dip your toes in the waters of independence, experimenting with living alone, gaining some financial independence, maintaining a budget, and deciding what classes to take.
College can be the ideal stepping stone toward independence, and is a helpful way for young adults to see what adulthood can be like.
💡 Quick Tip: Need a private student loan to cover your school bills? Because approval for a private student loan is based on creditworthiness, a cosigner may help a student get loan approval and a lower rate.
While making the decision whether or not to go to college is not always easy, there are a host of good reasons to continue your education. The benefits can be financial, social, and intellectual, and can continue to be felt throughout your life.
The friends and connections you make during college can enrich your life and help you to network in your chosen field of work, while the financial security a college degree can offer is a major factor in the decision-making process as well. It’s important to make an informed decision, taking all of these points into consideration.
If the high cost of college is holding you back, keep in mind that there are a number of funding options that can help you manage the costs. To apply for financial aid, you simply need to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This will tell you whether you are eligible for grants, scholarships, work-study programs, and federal student loans.
If you still have gaps in funding, you can also apply for a private student loan. Private student loans are available through private lenders, including banks, credit unions, and online lenders. Rates and terms vary, depending on the lender. Generally, borrowers (or cosigners) who have strong credit qualify for the lowest rates.
Keep in mind, though, that private loans may not offer the borrower protections — like income-based repayment plans and deferment or forbearance — that automatically come with federal student loans.
If you’ve exhausted all federal student aid options, no-fee private student loans from SoFi can help you pay for school. The online application process is easy, and you can see rates and terms in just minutes. Repayment plans are flexible, so you can find an option that works for your financial plan and budget.
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SoFi Private Student Loans
Please borrow responsibly. SoFi Private Student Loans are not a substitute for federal loans, grants, and work-study programs. You should exhaust all your federal student aid options before you consider any private loans, including ours. Read our FAQs. SoFi Private Student Loans are subject to program terms and restrictions, and applicants must meet SoFi’s eligibility and underwriting requirements. See SoFi.com/eligibility-criteria for more information. To view payment examples, click here. SoFi reserves the right to modify eligibility criteria at any time. This information is subject to change.
Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.