The Debate: College Still Worth it?

With college graduations across the country about a month from starting. The question that almost every former or current college student has asked themselves. Is a college degree still worth in 2016 due to the cost and other factors answering this question can be perplexing for some. Many advocates for college would have us to believe that college is one the best options to consider once graduating high school. But with the unemployment rate for college graduates increasing every year and the value of a undergraduate degree losing worth.  Therefore causing students to contemplate enrolling in a maters or doctoral program to keep up in the competitive workforce.  Some would say students should seek out other options like entrepreneurship or vocational school which often times are cheaper than attending a four year university.  This debate requires us to have an open-mind to see both sides and to attian a clear understanding.

 College is a Safe Bet

Many aficionados of college would side with the sentiment that college is a  “safe bet” especially when you’re fresh out of high school and probably have no idea what you want to do with your life. College gives us a great opportunity to learn, explore and figure out what we want to do in life. Plenty of evidence from two creditable sources suggests that “on average, a college degree is worth it”. College graduates make an average of 84 percent more over the course of a lifetime than those who only attend high school. This concept has been told to many of us by family, guidance counselors or peers that going to college is the best option to find a good job.  Some would suggest that college is still worth it, but there is not one size fits all. College should be a person to person evaluation on their skills, what they’re trying to achieve and socioeconomic factors.  For example, if a student isn’t to sure what they want to major in when they first gradate high school. The student should consider  apprenticeships or going to a community college instead of a four-year institution.  This will help lower the debt a student might occur if they went to a university and the first two to three years  trying to figure out what they want to major in, because they had no idea what they wanted to do.

Downsides of a College Degree

The cynics of college tend to question the value of a college degree with the rising of tuition and slim job opportunity. The prospect of going to a four-year university can look like more of a risk than reward. Also adding to their suspicions are a few outstanding examples of college dropouts who are wildly successful, such as Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg to name a few. Students begin to wonder whether they might have been better off working instead of racking up debt for a college degree. The high cost of tuition, the uncertain job market, and the new wave of young entrepreneurs are out weighing the cost to attend a university. Also many publications point out since 2010 less than 60 percent of students at four-year institutions graduate, and many who do are in fields that don’t require a degree two statistics that indicate a potential over subscription in college. This shows up in the increase of people going and graduating from college with an undergraduate degree. Causing the degree to be undervalued and consequently cause students to be underemployed.

Final Thoughts

Determining if college is still worth the cost for students is a very subjective and will differ from who you ask. In the end not going to get a bachelor’s degree right out of high school does not necessarily mean most non-degree seeking students should simply go to work. Many would benefit from a community college education or taking an associate degree.

What do you think is college still worth the high cost of tuition?  Comment Below & if you enjoyed this post please share!

Copyright ©2016 Jay Colby All Rights Reserved


About Jay Colby

Some would categorize me as an entrepreneur, life coach, son, friend and all of the above. I’m just another person trying to find my way in this world. Until recently, I was unsure what my path in this life would consist of. Like many others I was between I know what I want to do but not sure if that’s what I’m supposed to do. I am currently finishing my degree in something that has nothing to do with becoming a writer or entrepreneur so automatically it qualifies me to become one right! Follow me as I go through this journey called life to impact and encourage one person at a time.
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72 Responses to The Debate: College Still Worth it?

  1. Wes Maynard says:

    very well thought out and written

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Only worth it for doctors and lawyers and *physical therapists* lol other degrees are pretty useless. Internships or volunteering are better :))

    Liked by 6 people

  3. Dear Jay, I have been teaching at a community college for 28 years, and I have seen my students getting older and older. Most of them tell me that they had not valued education and wanted to go to work right away, to make money and feel independent. Now, with work and family responsibilities, they have realized the value of a degree and came back to school, but it is so much harder! Most of them also plan to go on to a Bachelor degree, and some of them want to continue to a graduate or professional degree. Again, it is so much harder for them now than it was right after high school, but they persevere. Many community colleges, including the one where I teach, now offer Bachelor degrees in some fields. My best advice to you is to go talk to an adviser at your local community college. Good luck to you in all your future endeavors!

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Max says:

    To degree or not to degree that is the question.
    Education is the key ingredience to a fulfilled life.
    Society sets the temperature and we have to turn up the heat so we are not be left out in the cold.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. College is worth the cost of tuition, if one is in attendance to to “learn how to learn.” Once that is established then knowing the expected outcome of that goal – allows a college to be 100 percent worth the time and money. Today’s economy requires intellectual capitalist – people who get paid to put into use information they’ve acquired and will acquire. Very few students entering college today are prepared for that type of learning. I’ve read, however, the discipline is in the works.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. Thank you for this topic! Education is one of my favorites.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Jdub says:

    The proverbial noncommittal answer is it depends. This is me thinking it over. 🤔
    No guarantees in life degree or no degree. One just has to figure out what she wants to do. Then figure out what the steps are to get there and then go for it! That decision may or may not include a college education.

    I sometimes joke that I did everything backwards because I didn’t go to college right out of high school. Instead I took a course here and there on the 23 year degree plan. Eventually I finished and my degree is just a piece of paper that didn’t assist me at all in my career. I’m still paying off student loans 😳.

    My money was wasted on a perception that obtaining a degree demonstrated persistence. Nice trait perhaps but really?!? My street cred makes me good at what I do and that should have spoke for itself. The truth hurts but that was my case anyway.

    Liked by 4 people

  8. Good points and the story is the same over the pond.

    Now how old is bill and what year did he drop out.. bill is an entrepreneur but not everyone has that in them.. as for same question but he has to be younger than bill.. some have got the xfactor to drop out and do well..

    As you said not everyone knows what they want straight out of school.. but there needs to be something to get out of bed for.. even if its an internship that might turn into work, volunteering.

    I believe college or some sort of further education is a must for the majority… some few are special like bill and mark.

    Anyway life should be one big learning session..never stop learning… i think it the best..

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Great article Jay. Back in the 80s one of my college professors said “College does not determine what you do from 9 to 5. It determines what you do from 5 to 9.” I never understood that until now. That being college educated enhances our critical thinking skills, our communications skills, our thirst for knowledge, our ability to interact effectively with others in the world. Therefore, it is worth the cost.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. The Rambler says:

    I often ask myself this question being in my 40’s now. I didn’t finish college but instead went with what became my career for 20 years. (Gah, that makes me feel old). Anyway, I was in upper management with some of my corporate bosses having degrees and some who worked their way up the company over time without a degree. I understand that won’t be the case for most other fields who require that paper in hand. Well written post 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  11. As someone who has one year left of undergrad, I’ve been told so many times by employers that having a degree will always land you at the top of the resume pile. I do think it depends on what you’re majoring in also, if you’re not in the medical field, engineering, IT, Computer Science or law, then most likely you will have a hard time finding a job if you find one at all. I majored in IT because I love programming and technology and I know that I’ll have a job for sure when I get out because technology will never die anytime soon. I think college is very well worth it if you pick the right degree.

    Liked by 4 people

  12. lghiggins says:

    Good analysis. It seems you and everyone who commented is pretty much in agreement that “it depends.” The price of a college education has gone up proportionally since I got my degrees. I was adamant that my son should get a college degree, but he was learning more in his part time job in software programming than in his college classes. He dropped out and found he was not very employable as a programmer, but still had debt. When he finally got a job in his field, he probably made less than if he had a college degree. As he was promoted into management, his income went up. When I found out he was making more than I was with my Master’s degree plus 45 hours and a lifetime of experience in my field, I shut up about the degree. It should be noted that I was a teacher–a profession that requires multiple degrees without appropriate compensation considering the responsibilities that go along with the job. ….”it depends.”

    Liked by 3 people

  13. lghiggins says:

    Congratulations on your upcoming graduation representing a lot of hard work and determination!

    Liked by 2 people

  14. renxkyoko says:

    ” Education ” is most important , especially to those who are into the sciences…. medicine, physics, chemistry, nursing, engineering, biology, high technology. Some can take vocational courses, or 2 year associate degrees , To me, education is first and foremost. The uncertain job market is no excuse to dump education, in my humble opinion. If not going to university or college is useless and unnecessary becomes a widespread perception, then what will happen to the country ?

    Liked by 4 people

  15. sebby29 says:

    I wish I knew this when I first was contemplating university study but to anyone going onto university/college please make sure your university course offers some form of practical placement or training as a course in some industries only gets you an interview and no job offers. A lot of employers want some form of practical experience.

    Liked by 3 people

  16. I don’t find a college degree necessary but unfortunately in this society this piece of paper has a great value. I believe it is only a measurement of the level of thinking you have. How many successful businesses are there around with someone at the top that probably never finished school but at a young age already started to work on what they love and are now successful 🙂 a lot. You can do a lot on paper but it’s the practice that makes one great I believe. I’d rather have four years of working experience (like internships) than 4 years of theory in school and not knowing how it works in real life. There are company’s that hire people with no degrees at all and they often find that those people are very creative and are very responsive and they immediately take action instead of figuring out how to do it. I do have to say high school is a must because that is basically still basic knowledge which you should at least know a little bit 🙂 but further than that, if you have at a young age a passion for let’s say starting an own business then you should go for that a full 100% along the road you can take different little courses that match more with what you want 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Taureenia says:

    I’ve been weighing this in my mind for a few months now. I’ve been in community college since I graduated high school in 2012. And as I am watching my classmates receive their degrees, I feel regret. And shame. Because all my life that’s all I wanted to do. With every dilemma keeping me from finishing (finding a 4 yr, crazy prerequisites in community college— I’ve taken one class 5 times and am still not finished with it), I’ve been asking God if this is the road he wants me on. I mean honestly if God wanted me to have it, why does it feel so impossible? Meanwhile, I’ve rediscovered my genuine interests from childhood—the arts, acting, knitting, cooking, blogging! Things that don’t feel like work. For this reason, I will be taking next semester off to pursue these goals. I think job security is what stopped me in the past from taking these things up, but I’ve been blessed with a secure job, so what will the excuse be now? Exactly.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jay Colby says:

      That is an interesting situation. I know of several people in this same predicament. I’ll tell you what I was always tell them “follow your heart”. If you believe that the arts are what you want to do with your life. Then go after it and don’t let college or anyone else stop you from doing so. I look forward to seeing what you can accomplish!


  18. David Becker says:

    This question has literally been on my mind during my first semester at Iowa State (technically a junior, went to a community college first). I am majoring in journalism and I have to say that based off of ISU’s program, for me, it feels more like a waste of time. Out of the 5-6 classes I took last semester, only one of them was truly journalism related. Technically on-record there were two journalism related classes, but one of them was just a glorified history class. Most of the stuff I have to teach myself, such as learning how to use WordPress, video editing, and the essentials of writing and blogging. I’m not even sure if I’ll even be back for the 2017-2018 year.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. As someone who has spent most of her career working in higher education, I do see the value of going to college, even though it is expensive. Instead of focusing on getting a job, a good question would be the following: What critical thinking and decision-making skills do you need in order to grow into the job that you ideally want to have? Also, there are those who say that attending college is a rite of passage of passage – a shared experience that cultivates strong bonds and creates opportunities for people from all walks of life to connect with one another. Is it cheap? No. Is it valuable? Absolutely.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. For the most part, YES, depends on your chosen career partly though

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Shubham Paul says:

    That’s great and really questioning. I’m studying in the college and this question had flashed in my mind some 5 months ago. I decided to quit the college. Not because of my interests, but because of worthiness. I chose the path of my passion. I came here because of my passion. But the ambiance over here is totally changed. I say, they are preparing us for the past, not for the future(leave the top universities). But my mom told me,” You’ve already came so far. Go with it. You don’t need any external source to make your future. Keep learning new things apart from your academics. Create things even though you don’t have enough resources. Your time will come”. And I followed that. So, in short, it depends on the individual. Whether you are interested in that field or not, but be passionate. It will lead you to the places where your degree can’t even concentrate.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Pingback: The Debate: College Still Worth it? — Jay Colby – Welcome to LexiOutLoud

  23. lynraa says:

    Here is what college and university are all about.
    Discipline. And the self-discipline it takes to FINISH.
    Once you go through the entire schtick, you are ready for the world.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. f1helpme says:

    For many people full time college/university just isn’t an option directly out of high school if they have to support them selves. These days many of our parents are suffering financially and can’t support their children through a degree, and sadly once you start working full time (often more than one low paying job to get by), the odds of completing a degree that lands you with an employable skill in a timely fashion gets less and less. Most people who find themselves in this situation end up going up the ladder from wherever they are in whatever way they can, even if they hate the work and the pay sucks because it’s their only practical option.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Angela Ng says:

    I struggled with this question a few years ago. I eventually opted for the college degree route and don’t regret it. Like you said, getting a college degree is subjective. Some people are born with the gift of gab and could easily make a very decent living being a car salesman, personal banker, real estate agent, etc.. in their early 20s. I strongly believe it partly comes down to knowing yourself. This means honestly assessing your strengths and weaknesses. Why? Because reality speaking, not everyone has what it takes to be an entrepreneur – the willpower and determination to keep striving through the lows. This is the part everyone forgets. It may sound pessimistic to say, but not everyone is a Zuckerburg, Oprah, Gates or Dangote either. We’re in an age where every other person wants to be an entrepreneur. This isn’t to say you shouldn’t work toward that if that truly is what you believe you’re cut out for. Just know yourself. The landscape overall is favorable for individuality and creative expression because technology (i.e., the internet most especially) has drastically changed the way we view occupations and evened out the playing field. We’re living in a time where someone can make a living solely doing something they like (You tubers and social media content come to mind here) or sharing their life to the world. The present time has sort of cut out the middle man. You don’t need a record label to become a known world singer/performer. You don’t need Food Network to call you in order to have a successful food/cooking show. You don’t need a renowned publishing company to knock on your door saying “yes we’ll publish you”in order to have a best selling book, or one that at least leverages some sort of an income.

    To summarize, although subjective (because again, know yourself), it would be delusional to state that college is no longer necessary for very many jobs. At the end of the day, yes it keeps getting even more absurdly expensive, but a college degree is a fundamental credential for a majority of employers – unless of course your resume stands out very uniquely somehow, which by all means you should toot! As far as which path to take, don’t be afraid to try anything because that’s the only way you’ll learn and/or know. In which case still, also be self aware and know when to reroute if need be. We often know what we SHOULD do and will often simply ask others in form of validation because we care too much what others will think. Trust yourself. If there’s one thing I have learned in the last few years and would tel my younger self, it’s this:

    1. Have or sharpen some sort of valuable skill – and do it well.
    2. Network! It is very true that your network determines your net worth – this I have seen happen.
    3. Brand Yourself. This is especially true in creative arenas.. because perception matters. Sometimes unfortunate but true.

    .. I ended up writing way more than I set out for Jay! lol.. I might actually make this a blog post on my page as well 🙂

    Ps. Happy Holidays! Xo

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jay Colby says:

      This was some great insight. One of the best explanations of the knowledge and power college gives us. I’ve tend to agree with all your points. Especially since I had to chose the college route to pursue my passion. In the end it comes down to what are you willing to sacrifice for the level of success that you want. Thanks for sharing!


  26. Pingback: The Question of Going to College .. | Fig + Pepper

  27. SD Gates says:

    Having a college degree opens doors of opportunity. Better to have that piece of paper in your back pocket, it may be that one will not need it, but when an opportunity comes up that requires that degree, it sure would be nice to have it in hand.


  28. S-Badu says:

    I personally think college is so worth it. I graduated 2 years ago and this was the best thing I’ve ever done. I came to the full realization after college that this higher education is the theory to life that is very essential. However learning doesn’t stop after college because sometimes what you learn is only a stepping stone to the actual practicality of life. So even though it was worth, on its own without further application it becomes only. knowledge. You have to take a further step after college to test what you’ve learned and prove it for yourself because knowledge without application is only information and we all know the Internet is filled with information and with education you can debunk and filter otherwise you believe everything. College is the foundation so it’s worth it

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jay Colby says:

      Great insight I tend to agree is college is worth it in the end. But I might be a bit bias since I just graduated a few weeks ago!

      Liked by 1 person

      • S-Badu says:

        Yeah it’s like that , when you initially finish but then as you start pursuing your goals and make it your aim to never stop learning you will see the benefits of it. Since I started writing my education is what’s given me the understanding and drive coz am more confident. You can definitely tell the difference between those who are educated and those who are not. Those who have been to college seems to analyse and understand quicker depending on the work they’ve done on themselves and those who are not educated seem to think a certain way. The foundation from college is essential no matter what people may say, those billionaires who made it without going to college still did further training, studying and mentoring equivalent to college that’s why they say the more you learn, the more you earn because each knowledge brings great confidence to the next level.

        Liked by 1 person

  29. I think is worth it! Yes it may be a financial worry but if you want to learn more about what you’re passionate about and want to do for the rest of your life, why not go to school and master it?!

    Liked by 1 person

  30. If you ask me 5 or 10 years ago I would definitely say it is still worth it but now, it isn’t. If you stay employed you would aim to get further education to get promoted and not everyone had a sure shot of the promotion.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. sargondorsai says:

    I feel that college has been looked at the wrong way for a lot of people. With more and more technical fields, as well as competitive entry level positions, it’s more about what you can show that you know, rather than a piece of paper. Colleges that focus on practical work and building portfolios towards your chosen career are the best ways to go. Technical institutes or focused programs are a better alternative for the most part I feel. Things that have been privatized and focus on just the work and skills you need to have for your chosen field. Especially in technology.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Pingback: The Debate: College Still Worth it? | Wanda D. Jefferson

  33. Artesia says:

    As someone who is successful in my career without actual degree completion, I definitely think society puts way too much value on a single piece of paper that unfortunately isn’t a magic pill for success. Therefore, I am an avid supporter of non-traditional education. As you mentioned, I believe the value of college really depends on the person. It’s funny because growing up, I always knew what I wanted to do and what college I would attend, etc. Only to get there and be miserable but flourish with actual hands-on experience outside of the classroom.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jay Colby says:

      Great insight I tend to agree college is such a subjective concept. That can differ from person to person depending on a various number of factors. I have a question for you once you determine college wasn’t for you. Did you go straight to the career you’re in today or did you try a few different jobs before you ended up finding success in your current career?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Artesia says:

        Yes, I actually held a few different jobs to pay the bills before finding one that was a fit for my desired career and also willing to allow me to grow within my role.

        Liked by 1 person

  34. lisakunk says:

    If we had more technology and other varied courses provided in high school I think it would help students have more of a clue about their interests. People are too different to put in the same mold.

    Liked by 1 person

  35. halfapurpose says:

    I feel like education has to up their game. They keep charging more and more but I don’t see the added value that we are paying for this money. I’m in an engineering course and the number of classes where the teacher is practically useless is ridiculous. However you can’t get anywhere as an engineer without a degree so you get stuck paying these insane fees and then mostly teaching yourself

    Liked by 1 person

  36. astoldbymua says:

    I think it all depends on what you are trying to do in life. Obviously, you can’t be a teacher without a college degree. However, if you want to open up your own business you don’t HAVE to have a college degree. You would need good credit, some money saved, and have a lot of networks. I worked for someone whose son owns a million dollar business and he dropped out of college.

    Liked by 1 person

  37. larryzb says:

    The purpose of education (actually found in the inside cover of some of the Cliff Notes way back in the 1970s or so) is to develop the student’s critical thinking abilities and not to instill loyalty to one particular viewpoint (paraphrasing from memory). The downside to higher education today in the US is that it is very difficult and rare to get a liberal arts education (as that was known prior to the 1960s). What I am saying is that students go into debt big time just to be indoctrinated in the currently dominant paradigm of political correctness. Unless and until we break this stranglehold on education that the “progressive” Left currently has, we will never have open and honest debate about the problems in this country. Consider what goes on on the campuses when any dissenting viewpoints are raised, such as in Berkeley, CA.

    Liked by 1 person

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