There are things implied about college all the time; the facts, however, tell a different story. Achieving a post-secondary degree not only produces more money in the long term—it also makes for a longer, healthier, and better life.
1. More money
College is an investment, and it’s one that pays off better than almost any other. In a Washington Post article from 2013, Dylan Matthews reasons that college graduates make between $500k and $1 million more than their high school graduate counterparts over the course of their lifetimes, which is around 15% annual return—a far better return on investment than the stock market, with an average 6.8% annual return, or housing, with a 0.4% return. College costs money, but there are ways to afford it, and its return on investment is bar none.
2. More job options
College provides much better networking opportunities, and, according to the Harvard Business School, networking gets 65-85% of jobs. Moreover, market growth is providing more jobs in careers that require college degrees. A Georgetown Public Policy Institute report projects that by 2020, 35% of jobs are projected to require at least a bachelor’s degree. Perhaps more importantly, as of 2015, jobs provided by a changing market that paid more than $53,000 per year were taken by those with a college diploma at a rate of 97%, according to a report from Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce.
3. More success
EDsmart reports that, according to the Pew Research Center, individuals who achieve a four-year degree are less likely than their high-school graduate counterparts to be living at home with their parents and are more likely to be married. Additionally, they are more likely to be satisfied with their jobs.
4. More health
Having a bachelor’s degree is linked with a longer life—nine years longer than that of those who didn’t go to college, on average, per Nanci Hellmich’s report of a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This could be a result of better health; in 2010, the College Board reported that college education corresponds with healthier lifestyles, including lower obesity and smoking rates than those who don’t have a college degree.
5. More of what really matters
College is a sea of difference and alterity. Being around difference changes people (for the better, we’d argue): ProCon reports that a 2004 study found 79% of college graduates, vs. 64% of high school graduates, placed value in understanding other people’s reasoning and perspectives. Parallel to this, according to a New Yorker article by Rebecca Mead, college enhances critical thinking skills and the ability to listen and respond to real-world issues. Not only are these the soft skills employers are looking for, they’re also the signs of self-improvement and a dynamic character that make for a deeper, richer, and more spiritual life.
There are lots of successful and fulfilling paths in life, but college makes success that much easier to reach.