How to decide whether a four-year degree is right for you.
In a post from May last year we pondered the question, should everyone go to college? And what might still be surprising to some, the answer was a resounding no. As eNotes editor and college professor Jamie described it then,
I believe anyone who wants an education should pursue one. But I also see many incredibly gifted students who have skills that they are actively discouraged from mastering because they are supposed to have a Bachelor’s degree. I see young people who have no real interest or desire to stay in school another four years who are miserable and many who are racking up debt when they could be doing something they enjoy, avoiding debt, and making money.
The prevailing opinion in America is that every student must go to college; if they don’t, they’ve somehow failed, or been failed by the system. Yet the cost of an American college education is among the highest in the world. So, if that college degree does you no favors in the job force, or if you drop out before completing your four years, you’re burdened with a mass of student debt to shoulder for the next twenty years.
That’s why it’s important to look at the costs of a college education, weighing out the pros and cons of each side and determining what’s right for you. If you plan to spend your life in academia, of course a university education is a necessity. But if you’d be better suited to a skilled trade, would the debt and time spent out of the workforce pay off? Here’s an excellent infographic from affordable-online-colleges.net to help you weigh your options. You might be surprised by what you find, like the high success rates of those who choose a two-year college over pursuing a Bachelor’s degree.
Read on and let us know your thoughts and questions!
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eNotes’ editorial intern shares his tips of how to make the most of your high school summer. Or any summer, for that matter!
I’m a huge Harry Potter fan. My grandma bought me the first book when I was 11, and from then on I read every book within the same week it was released. My extreme anticipation and excitement for the release of the final installment, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, back in 2007 should be understandable then. However, I was conflicted. The release date for the 7th book was set for the end of July, which is far too close to the end of summer from a student’s perspective. You see my dilemma. As a typical high school student, I wanted the long carefree days of summer to last forever, however, I now had this exciting event to look forward to at the end of summer. For the first time in my life, I was looking forward to summer ending. This turned out to be the slowest summer ever. My summer that normally felt like it was only 16 days long now felt like the setting of a slow-motion dream I couldn’t escape. Ultimately, I became comfortable with the pace of that summer in 2007 and learned to enjoy my time and stay in the moment up until that long awaited release of the Deathly Hallows.
That summer was a stark contrast to a typical high school summer, which moves way too quickly and is filled with sobs of students during the final weeks. The days meld together and may begin to pass you by. Let’s take a look at some tips to ensure that you’re making the most of your summer and emerge into the next school year after a productive and fun vacation.
1. Break it down. You have two and a half months ahead of you with no academic obligations. Plan your summer by answering these basic questions which will provide an outline for your time ahead: 1. What will I do with my time?, 2. What are my obligations?, 3. What will be fun?, 4. What will be beneficial?
2. Travel. One of my biggest regrets of high school is that I considered leaving my street to be “traveling”. Travel and learn to be comfortable making your own decisions, being your own boss, and not having your mother force you to clean your room. You will gain experience, confidence, and surely return a changed person. More importantly, you will be better equipped to handle college. And anyways, girls like well-traveled men (and vice versa). If a trip outside of the US isn’t plausible, spend a couple days in a neighboring city.
Success: “The accomplishment of an aim or purpose” (Merriam-Webster). Success is what every person should strive to reach every day. It is the backbone and motivator for all of our wants and needs. Achieving success in college requires hard work and a little bit of knowledge about how to beat the system. The university system differs from high school in a plethora of ways. You don’t have the same classes every day, there are up to 500 students in your classes, there is no mandatory attendance, and your grade can be based on your performance on one or two tests. If you just graduated from high school and are about to begin college, or are already in college and have a newfound resolve for success, read on to discover how to be successful at a large university.
1. Define your success. What are you looking to get out of college? Is this just the next step in your educational journey? Do you plan on using it as a stepping stone to a particular job or graduate program? Do you just want to have fun? Knowing what you want to get out of college before you begin is important. Perhaps you want to make a difference on campus and run for a position on student government. If you want a strong sense of fulfillment, giving back to the community and volunteering can get you there. I was recruited at UCLA to play baseball, so my goal was to be as successful as I could in the classroom and on the field.