PCP: Is college worth it?

An investment in the future by Mckinley Huffman


Everybody hates school. At least, that’s how it feels for many students who struggle through hours of studying, doing homework, and sitting in class day after day, year after year. More often than not, education is received as pointless, tedious, and the subject of dread. After high school, it would be easier to simply be done and head off into the world untethered by another four or more years of expensive learning. 

Nevertheless, going to college is truly a crucial step after graduation, and a great way to achieve success in a long-term career. Students should plan on continuing their education after high school to ensure that their future looks how they would like it to. 

College offers students further expertise in their field of study, thus preparing them for their careers. It provides the opportunity to focus on learning necessary and relevant skills for employment. Individuals receiving higher education can spend their time on what they are passionate about, and are immersed in their future field. 

For example, students interested in engineering are surrounded by others who share those interests, and opportunities such as internships, unique classes, and connections that can later help them to reach their career goals. On the other hand, art students are surrounded by other artists and opportunities such as chances to appear in galleries or publications. 

Attending college allows students to make connections with individuals that they would not have otherwise. They can meet others who are studying the same subjects that they are, creating lasting relationships as graduates head into the workforce. Friendships, such as those with roommates or peers met in non-major classes, can also be formed with others from different areas of study. Most universities feature a student body with a diverse background–unlike high school, everyone that one meets comes from a different place in the world, with different interests, experiences, and perspectives on life. 

Lastly, college develops overall skills that will be necessary in the future, such as work ethic, time management, and communication, through studying for classes, learning to balance social life and academics, and getting help from and working with professors and peers. Besides the content learned in classes, these things are essential to success throughout life, no matter how that looks for each individual. 

One major con to attending college or university is the cost and the time that it takes to earn a degree. Though it may not be affordable to all individuals, financial aid is offered by many educational institutions to help to make higher education available to everyone, regardless of income. And though spending years dedicated to education while earning little to no money can be undesirable, individuals can expect to see a much higher level of success after graduation than they would without a degree. According to Research.com, college-degree holders have a higher median income as well as higher lifetime earnings overall than those who enter the workforce directly after high school. 

Overall, college is worth the time and money that it takes to get a degree. It is an important and valuable experience overall that greatly increases the chances of financial success moving forward, and equips students with skills and connections that they will have for the rest of their lives. As cliche as it may sound, attending college truly is an investment in the future and is a choice that everyone who is able to, should make.


Doing what’s right for you by Olivia Grefenstette

So, do you know what college you’re attending next year? 

This is the question of the season for high school seniors as graduation is approaching quickly. While it’s an earnest question, it reflects the standards held by communities like LT. It’s never a question of whether or not you’re going to college, but an assumption that everyone has the money, time, or even interest in attending a four-year university. 

In many ways, college has become more accessible with programs for first-generation college students, financial aid programs, and other accommodations to give more marginalized groups extra assistance and guidance. Nonetheless, the price of tuition, room and board, textbooks, and more are skyrocketing at a rate disproportionate to the amount of aid currently available. The thought of not attending college evokes fear, anxiety, and self-consciousness for many people. Immediately enrolling in a university after graduation has largely become the norm, yet there are more paths to success than getting a degree. 

Many argue that college sets students up for future success by providing them with specified expertise and connections within their field of study. However, these crucial factors in occupational success are not mutually exclusive to universities. There are plenty of other ways for students to grow their knowledge in their field without having to dedicate four or more years of their lives. 

Alternatives like trade schools, online courses, and apprenticeship programs are all more affordable and flexible options for higher education. Students will still be able to delve deeper into subjects they are interested in and develop helpful skills for future careers. Many of these non-traditional education alternatives don’t have requirements like colleges that force students to spend extra time and money learning content they will never use in the real world. While people tend to view these options as secondary to a college education, they can actually provide more applicable and realistic insight into occupations.

Moreover, part time schooling or apprenticeships allows students more free time and flexibility within their schedules. This allows students to start working or interning much earlier in their careers than college students which provides them with more time and opportunity to learn the ropes and work their way up within the workforce. This extra time is also beneficial for students who have other responsibilities such as caregiving for family members, parenthood, and more. Many of these alternatives to full time enrollment at a university are more realistic and manageable for students. 

Finances are also a factor that influences many students’ post-graduation plans. College is expensive and taking out tens of thousands of dollars of student loans can be daunting if not gut wrenching. With annual tuition going up to $100,000 at some institutions, it poses the question: are the opportunities provided by this education worth the decade of debt after graduation? For many students it isn’t. That is why alternative education or going straight into the workforce are the better option, if not the only option, for students who don’t have the finances to make such a weighted investment. 

Overall, it is okay to stray away from expectations or standards of what post-graduation should look like. College can be the best four years for some, however, it can be stressful and almost impossible to manage in regards to time and money for others. For students who feel that college may not be the best fit for them for any reason, keep in mind that college is not the end all be all. Make the decisions that make sense for you and your life, not decisions that other people may want or expect of you.