Why Go to College – The 9 Biggest Benefits [INFOGRAPHIC]

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Why Go to College - The 9 Biggest Benefits

Why go to college? College is more than an extension of high school. The experiences associated with getting a college degree will shape you in many different ways, unlocking doors that would be difficult to open otherwise. As Aristotle said, “Education is the best provision for life’s journey.” Here are nine of the biggest benefits associated with going to college.

9 Biggest Benefits of College

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  1. Increase Your Career and Salary Opportunities
  2. In today’s economy, jobs are not only competitive, but they are also harder to find, especially without a college degree. Even those individuals who do find work may find it difficult to get promoted or to earn more money down the line, without the educational credentials to back up their hard work.

    College graduates stand out among other job applicants because many businesses prefer to hire people with the types of skills developed during an undergraduate degree program, such as:

    • Analytical thinking
    • Organization
    • Self-discipline
    • Communication
    • Responsibility
    • Problem-solving
    • Collaboration
    • Leadership

    College Facts and Statistics

    Median Weekly Salary

    • High School Graduates: $678.00 a week
    • Bachelor’s Degree: 1,137.00 a week

    Today’s High School Graduate…

    Earns 40% less than those with a bachelor’s degree. In 1965 that difference was only 19%.

    By 2020, 65% of all jobs will require education beyond high school.

  3. Boost Your Job Security
  4. College graduates tend to have an easier time finding jobs – and keeping them. In tough economic times, worrying about whether your job might be eliminated can be a big stressor. College graduates are in a better position when it comes to job cuts. Generally, it’s easier for employers to replace an employee who has a high school diploma than it is one with a college degree.

    In addition to having higher job retention rates, college graduates also have an easier time finding new employment due to their marketability. In fact, a degree can be just as valuable to an employer as it is to an employee. Some businesses will even fund all or part of their employee’s undergraduate coursework through tuition reimbursement programs.

    College Facts and Statistics

    Unemployment by Degree Level

    • High school diplomas: 9.1%
    • Associate degrees: 5.8%
    • Bachelor’s degrees: 3.8%

    Unemployment Rate for 25 Years and Older

    • High school diplomas: 7.3%
    • Bachelor’s degrees: 2.5%

    College Graduates Who Expect to be With Their First Job for at Least Three Years

    • 2013-2014: 43%
    • 2014-2015: 74%

  5. Raise Your Job Satisfaction
  6. Most people spend their whole lives working, so why not make it a job in a career path that brings joy and satisfaction? One clear benefit of completing a degree program is the opportunity to investigate different majors, learning your likes and dislikes before entering the labor force, increasing the likelihood of job satisfaction.

    High school graduates often go back to school after entering the work force because they grow tired of being paid by the hour for a non-challenging job that they don’t enjoy. With a college degree, they are 43% more likely to find a job and career that brings greater satisfaction; contributed to continued on-the-job learning, solving complex challenges, and enjoying increased job security.

    College Facts and Statistics

    Claimed to be Very Satisfied With Current Job

    • High school graduates: 37%
    • Bachelor’s degree: 53%

    Current Job is a Career or Stepping Stone to a Career

    • High school graduates: 57%
    • College graduates: 87%

    Work is “Just a Job to Get By”

    • High school graduates: 42%
    • Bachelor’s degree: 14%

    Graduates Believe Their Job Requires Continued Learning

    • Bachelor’s degree: 56%
    • High school graduates: 30%

  7. Upgrade Your Employment Benefits
  8. Although higher income is a big benefit of earning a college degree, people are attracted to more than just a steady paycheck. Most jobs that require a bachelor’s degree also provide benefits – such as retirement accounts (401k), travel reimbursement, expense accounts, and good health insurance – benefits that are typically unavailable to those with just a diploma. In some cases, benefits can be worth a good portion of an employee’s base salary.

    College Facts and Statistics

    Full-time Employees Offered Pension Coverage

    • High school graduates: 52%
    • Bachelor’s degree: 65%
    • Advanced degree: 78%

    Employees Offered Health Insurance Benefits

    • Bachelor’s degree: 74.5%
    • High school graduates: 53.3%

  9. Find More Independence
  10. Earning a college degree creates independence as students transition from living with their parents and family to managing life on their own terms. To be successful in college, students will learn to make choices and develop skills that will help them in their personal and professional lives as students and as future employees. In college students learn skills such as:

    • When to wake up and go to sleep
    • What to eat
    • Which classes to take and when
    • How to communicate and collaborate with fellow students and teachers
    • How to budget and pay bills
    • When to study and take tests
    • How to balance school work and social life

    College Facts and Statistics

    Students That Attend College 50 Miles or More From Home

    64.6% live 50 miles or more from home

    People Living at Home With a Parent

    • High school graduates: 18%
    • Associate degree: 16%
    • Bachelor’s degree: 12%

  11. Further Your Personal Development
  12. College exposes students to a wide range of general subjects: arts, history, psychology, science, and more. As students develop interests and choose which subjects and extracurricular activities to explore, they develop greater self-knowledge and a greater understanding of their passions, talents, and strengths. Overall, college is a time to learn what careers are most appealing and most fitting for student’s preferences and skills.

    College Facts and Statistics

    Individuals Who Spent at Least 50 Hours a Year Volunteering

    • High school graduates: 17%
    • Bachelor’s degree: 42%

    Percentage of Individuals Who Served on a Committee or as an Officer of a Group

    • Bachelor’s degree: 17.5%
    • High school graduates: 5.4%

    Students Feel College is Important Because it Allows You To…

    • Learn about your favorite topic: 85%
    • Improve self-confidence: 76%
    • Learn more about world: 74%

    Percentage of College Students Who Say College Promotes…

    • Self-knowledge: 85%
    • Soft skills: 93%
    • Values and ethical standards

  13. Improve Your Work and Life-skills
  14. Learning about diversity and the world is an integral part of growing as a human being. Students in college create lifelong bonds with people from different backgrounds and often different countries. Meeting people from all over the world helps students to develop a broader view of life and stronger cultural understanding.

    College Facts and Statistics

    Education is “Very Useful” in Preparation for a Job or Career

    • High school graduates: 34%
    • Bachelor’s degree: 47%

    Marriages by Degree Level

    • High school graduates: 55%
    • Bachelor’s degree: 67%
    • Advanced degrees: 72%

  15. Enjoy Better Health
  16. College students are healthier overall because the more information you have about living a healthy life, the better choices you can make. Earning more money gives you access to better health care and healthier food options. Education also provides you with the information necessary to make better food choices, to exercise, and to avoid bad habits such as smoking and drugs. There may also be some unquantifiable correlation between the perceived availability of opportunity, accomplishment, and personal progress (all of which increase with education) and the motivation to maintain a healthier lifestyle.

    College Facts and Statistics

    Graduates, Ages 25-34, That Exercise Vigorously

    • High school graduates: 40%
    • Bachelor’s degree: 68%

    Graduates That Smoke

    • High school graduates: 22%
    • Bachelor’s degree: 8%

    According to the Commission to Build a Healthier America, college graduates can expect to live at least 5 years longer than individuals who have not finished high school.

  17. Grow Your Professional Network
  18. As you meet new people, a college experience provides a platform to improve social skills and build a professional network. Students have the chance to create and nurture relationships with people who are successful in their own careers, such as instructors and professors, and those who will find future success, such as their class peers, roommates, and fraternity or sorority friends.

    College Facts and Statistics

    37% of college students and recent college graduates network with their faculty, advisors, or department heads to discover career opportunities.

    Forbes Job Survey – Best Way to Find a Job
    Internet job board25%
    Agency/search firm11%
    Direct approach8%
    Office network (2010)4%

    41% of new jobs come from networking. Of the 60,000 respondents in this Forbes study, 24,000 found new jobs through networking

    Joining a College Fraternity or Sorority Can Expand Your Network

    • There are over 9 million Greek members nationally.
    • 71% of those listed in “Who’s Who in America” belong to a fraternity.
    • 85% of the Fortune 500 executives belong to a college fraternity.

A college education has many benefits, including exposing students to more opportunities and helping them find greater satisfaction. It is often a stepping stone to pursuing further postgraduate degrees which offer even more benefits. Most of all, college offers you the freedom to find out what you love to do and an environment in which you can gain the knowledge and skills to pursue it.

  • U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Earnings and Unemployment Rates by Educational Attainment 2015.
  • Carnevale, Anthony P., Smith, N., and Strohl, J., (2014). Recovery: Job Growth and Education Requirements Through 2020. Executive Summary. Georgetown Public Policy Institute.
  • Pew Resource Center The Rising Cost of Not Going to College http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2014/02/11/the-rising-cost-of-not-going-to-college/.
  • U.S. Census Bureau figures 2013, U.S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau. American Community Survey (ACS), 2011, 2012, and 2013, unpublished tabulations. Table published 2015. Retrieved from https://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d14/tables/dt14_501.10.asp.
  • U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics from graph on Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis blog.
  • https://fredblog.stlouisfed.org/2014/03/unemployment-rates-by-educational-attainment/, March 2016.
  • Accenture Strategy 2015 U.S. College Graduate Employment Study.
  • http://trends.collegeboard.org/education-pays.
  • http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2014/02/11/the-rising-cost-of-not-going-to-college/.
  • https://trends.collegeboard.org/sites/default/files/education-pays-2013-full-report.pdf.
  • http://www.careerprofiles.info/benefits-of-college-degree.html.
  • https://trends.collegeboard.org/sites/default/files/education-pays-2013-full-report.pdf.
  • Pew Research Center tabulations of the March Current Population Survey http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/files/2014/02/SDT-higher-ed-FINAL-02-11-2014.pdf.
  • Chronicle of Higher Ed, Original Source: Cooperative Institutional Research Program, Higher Education Research Institute, U. of California at Los Angeles.
  • http://blogs.uvu.edu/blog/2011/02/personal-growth-not-just-jobs-are-important-to-college-students/.
  • College Decisions Survey: Deciding to Go to College.
  • https://trends.collegeboard.org/sites/default/files/education-pays-2013-full-report.pdf, 2012.
  • http://blog.cengage.com/how-college-promotes-students-personal-development/ Original Source: Staley, Constance. 2015. FOCUS on College Success, 4th ed. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.
  • Pew Research Center tabulations of the March Current Population Survey. http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/files/2014/02/SDT-higher-ed-FINAL-02-11-2014.pdf.
  • Referred to in https://www.luminafoundation.org/files/resources/its-not-just-the-money.pdf. Original Source: 2012 American Community Survey Ages 27-66.
  • Baum, S., Ma, J., and Payea, K., (2013). Education Pays 2013: The Benefits of Higher education for Individuals and Society. Trends in Higher Education Series. College Board.
  • CDC, Office on Smoking and Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.
  • http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/adult_data/cig_smoking/.
  • Commission to Build a Healthier America, Education and Health.
  • http://www.commissiononhealth.org/PDF/c270deb3-ba42-4fbd-baeb-2cd65956f00e/Issue%20Brief%206%20Sept%2009%20-%20Education%20and%20Health.pdf
  • Commission to Build a Healthier America, Education and Health.
  • 2014 AfterCollege Career Insights Survey.
  • http://www.forbes.com/sites/susanadams/2011/06/07/networking-is-still-the-best-way-to-find-a-job-survey-says/#3114d0da2754.
  • New Jersey Institute of Technology, Fraternity and Sorority Facts. https://www5.njit.edu/greeklife/directory/facts.php.