How Important Is a College Education?

Dec 11, 2019

Students who gain a college education often have higher lifetime earnings and experience a variety of other benefits, including a better quality of life. Let's take a look at the importance of a college education.

Importance of College Education

People who lack college degrees are more likely to be limited to basic jobs in service, manufacturing and construction industries. While employees with a high school education may secure jobs with good benefits, college graduates typically fare better, entering higher-level careers with greater salaries. They are also more likely to receive promotions, earn raises and develop reasoning and communication skills that can be applied to their jobs.

Higher Salaries

A college education may be one of the best investments of time and money for a person's career. A 2011 report produced by the American Community Survey that was released by the U.S. Census Bureau stated that those who held a bachelor's degree were expected to earn a 40-year lifetime salary of about $2.4 million dollars on average, while high school graduates only took a lifetime salary of about $1.4 million dollars (www.census.gov). On average, those who held master's degrees earned $2.8 million dollars. Holders of professional degrees could expect lifetime earnings in excess of $4 million dollars.

Better Life Skills

During their classes, college students often develop the reasoning skills needed to make life decisions, ranging from buying a home to helping their children choose their own college. In fact, college graduates are more likely to have children who also complete a college education. Other advantages of educational degrees may include better study habits and so-called 'soft skills' which spells out into communication and collaborative and cooperative behaviors that enables humans to not only de-escalate dangerous and potential fatal situations, but also negotiate for advantageous placement of self and those close to oneself even in the face of overwhelming obstacles or unfair disadvantage. When others react with anger or despair, those who have a broad palate of interpersonal skills and coping mechanisms, will be successful by persevering, analyzing and assessing the status quo and strategizing towards a new outcome. These are all skills taught in college in various courses such as Algebra, History, Sociology and Philosophy for instance, also known as General Education, or the Humanities.

Expert Contributor: Christiane Warren Christiane has M.Phil & PhD degrees in American Intellectual History. She's been an academic/career advisor, assistant dean and higher ed consultant.

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