Going to college really does open a new chapter in your life, the beginning of new friendships, opportunities and growth. As a college student you’ll be introduced to new areas of interest, broaden your vision of possibilities, establish and accomplish goals, develop lifelong friendships and define yourself in ways that you can only imagine.
The Financial Benefit of College
Attending and graduating from college with a degree in a relevant subject, with a mastery of real-world skills and knowledge, will position you at the forefront of your field, and help you realize your career aspirations. Research analysts and experts have concluded, based on sound statistical analysis, that college graduates with a bachelor’s degree earn up to 75% more per year than those with a high school diploma only. Additionally, college degree holders can expect their real wage to increase over time while those with a high school diploma may experience a decline.
The Bigger Picture
It’s hard enough imagining what your life is going to be like in a year or two, let alone 10, 20 or even 30 years down the road, but it’s something you should consider right now. Where do you want to be today, tomorrow and in the future? Attending college will help you answer these questions, develop a realistic plan for accomplishing your goals, and equip you with the knowledge and skills you’ll need see your goals through to the end.
Don’t look at college as a long-term contract that you’re not going to be able to get out of once you start. And don’t feel like you need to decide on a major area of study before starting college. College is a time for you test yourself, explore your interests, see what the possibilities are, and to see what you can achieve. And don’t worry, you’re not alone. Most other students attending college are going to be in the exact same boat you’re in. There are also a variety of resources, provided by most universities, to help you through college, including academic advisors, professors accessible on campus, tutoring academic support, full-time counseling staff and more.
While the prospect of attending college may seem a bit daunting and even suffocating, don’t forget that you still get to live your life. You’ll be able to participate in a variety of extracurricular activities, social groups, maintain a job, or even pursue a career while completing your studies. You may even find that college ends up being much more enjoyable and fulfilling than you ever expected.
Deciding Which College is Best
There isn’t necessarily a “best” college. Each college offers a difference experience and unique educational opportunities. Your task shouldn’t be to identify the top ranked colleges but rather to figure out which college is best for you. Your choice of college will depend on your personal and career interests, occupational goals as well as past academic record. If you’re still in high school you should talk with your high school counselor about all your options. Consider attending any open houses provided by local colleges in your area, use the Internet to research colleges that fit your expectations and requirements, and contact individual colleges to speak with their guidance and admission counselors.
Sometimes larger, prestigious or “Ivy League” type universities can seem very attractive. However, you may discover (hopefully sooner rather than later) that you prefer a smaller, less prestigious, community of church affiliate college. Bigger isn’t necessarily better, especially when it comes to a college education. There are a large variety of smaller colleges and community colleges that can provide you an excellent education without the big school feel. The only way to find out what you really want is to take the time to visit each college campus, meet the people, and experience the atmosphere. You’ll get the most out of your college experience if you take the time now to investigate your options and stay open to any possibilities.
It’s also important to know that earning a degree from an Ivy League school or private college can be very expensive and there is no guarantee that you’ll get a great job once you get your degree. In fact, there is typically only a marginal difference in future earnings for those who earn their degree at an Ivy League school versus those who earn their degree from another reputable college.
Maintain Realistic Expectations
As you make plans for your future, spend some time considering what it is you want to do with your life, what you want to accomplish long-term. As with any major decision, you’ll want to consider all your options, compare costs and benefits of attending one college over another. Think about what’s most important to you and which school can provide it. College doesn’t ensure happiness or success, but its opens up a lot of doors and helps you create opportunities for the future.
Where there’s a will there’s a way. If you’re really interested in attending college but don’t have the funds right now don’t get overly concerned. There are several ways to finance your college education. Financial aid programs include scholarships, grants, students loans and prepaid tuition. At many larger colleges and universities you’ll also find on-campus jobs that offer flexible schedules to accommodate your personal life and studies.
Featured Online Schools
|University of Phoenix At University of Phoenix, we understand that you're juggling the demands of family and work while you earn your degree. That's why we provide working learners like you the tools you need to succeed. Our commitment to you begins even before you enroll with a one-on-one personalized consultation in which we answer your questions and develop the right plan to help you reach your educational goals. Learn More >|
|Everest University Online Everest University Online, a division of Everest University, makes career education convenient and accessible. With courses tailored for working students and others who need a more flexible class schedule, Everest University Online allows students to learn from home and offers the same well-respected curriculum available at our traditional campuses. Learn More >|
|American Intercontinental University (AIU) AIU is the Serious U, and with your busy schedule, we understand that it's hard work finding the time to work hard. At AIU you get pacing options that work around you and a 24/7 support system by phone, email or live chat. Our classes are taught by industry specialists who bring their real-world perspective to students and will work with you one-on-one when you need it. Learn More >|
|Colorado Technical University (CTU) A degree from Colorado Technical University can connect you to what matters most – a powerful professional network, real-world faculty and accessible, innovative technology. So once you earn your degree, you can hit the ground sprinting. Learn More >|
|Strayer University After 120 years of educating working adults, Strayer University has become the expert in helping students like you continue your education in a timely manner by giving you many choices regarding when, where, and how to take your classes. We schedule our campus classes during evening and weekend hours to make continuing education possible for hard-working professionals. Learn More >|
|Grand Canyon University (GCU) Grand Canyon University, in the heart of Phoenix, Arizona, is a private, for-profit Christian university that offers a full range of undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degree programs. Though boasting a traditional college campus with all the spirit and sports to go with it, GCU also offers a wide variety of courses online. Learn More >|
|The Art Institutes The Art Institutes is a system of over 50 schools throughout North America. Programs, credential levels, technology, and scheduling options vary by school, and employment opportunities are not guaranteed. Financial aid is available to those who qualify. Learn More >|
|Kaplan University Kaplan University's campus locations provide the facilities, faculty, staff and career programs to help you achieve your personal goals. You can learn from professionals specializing in identifying career opportunities and preparing students for a brighter future. Learn More >|
|Westwood College Westwood College's degree programs provide you with the knowledge, tools and support you need to earn your associate degree in as little as 17 months, your bachelor's degree in as little as three years, or your master's degree in just over a year. Learn More >|
|Virginia College Graduates of Virginia College can be confident in the skills and training that they've received because programs are designed for their success. Virginia College focuses on the needs of the job market of each industry, creating programs that meet the needs of students and future employees alike. Learn More >|
|Brown Mackie College At Brown Mackie College, you don't need to wait for a traditional 'Fall Start.' Because our students aren't always living 'traditional' lives we offer new starts each month with day or evening classes that fit your schedule. We keep the focus on one course, one subject at a time to help you succeed. Learn More >|
|South University As a student at South University, you will learn from accomplished faculty members who have real-world experience in the subjects that they teach. Our small class sizes allow you to receive personalized attention from instructors, and the encouragement to recognize your goals for the future and the means to achieve them. Learn More >|
|Northcentral University Northcentral University (NCU) was founded to provide accessible, high-quality, online graduate degrees to working professionals. As a regionally accredited, online university, NCU serves students worldwide, focusing on Doctoral and Master's degree programs in the Schools of Business and Technology Management, Education, Psychology, and Marriage and Family Sciences. NCU utilizes a One-to-One Teaching Model-one student paired with a member of NCU's 100% doctoral faculty in each course- to create a more personalized education experience for adult students who share a passion for excellence in higher education. Learn More >|
National American University (NAU)
National American University is about personal development and community. When you choose to attend NAU, you don't just join a group of diverse students and faculty; you join a group of people from all walks of life sharing a unique experience.
Our staff is devoted to helping you balance your education with your personal and professional obligations – it's our commitment. Through flexible class scheduling, dedicated career advisors and quality programs, NAU strives to provide a caring and supportive learning environment to ensure your success as a student. Learn More >
|Liberty University Liberty University offers more than 100 degree programs at the associate, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral levels. Such diversity allows you to focus on exactly the program of study you want, as well as add minors to round out your educational portfolio. Learn More >|