Is a College Degree Worth the Money?
It used to be that a college degree could take you places. College graduates were almost guaranteed a job that paid well enough to live on upon graduation. But nowadays, that no longer seems to be the case. Graduates are fighting with the unemployed and underemployed of the older generations for jobs – any jobs – even if it's not in their area of study. Does that mean that college is no longer worth the cash? Well, at the danger of over-using a favorite MomVesting phrase, let's go ahead and say it: It depends. Let's take a look at where college benefits graduates and where it becomes just another debt.
College by the Degree
An advanced degree can certainly be worth its weight in gold...if it's the right course of study. That doesn't necessarily mean that one diploma is worth more than another, but when graduates search for jobs, more specific courses of study can often produce better chances for landing a job in the field of choice. For example, there could be more job opportunities in computer science than in the English field.
The key to finding the right education path that can land a job is searching for the degrees that are most in demand. A simple Google search can tell you whether the degree you're interested in will offer jobs upon graduation, but to get started, here are a few of the high-demand fields: software engineer, pharmacist, registered nurse, physical therapist and accountant.
College as Life Experience
College doesn't always have to be the be-all-to-end-all. Instead of seeing college as the means to a degree, attending a university, four-year college or community college can be a means to obtaining much-needed life experience and social skills. Really, it's often the first time that young people are out on their own, and it can therefore be beneficial to youths preparing to handle bills, living with others and handling stresses on their own.
Here's where it gets tricky, though. How much is that life experience worth to parents? Or even to students? There may be a limit to how much time and money students and their parents are willing to put forth to learn about life. Maybe one year in a trade school or a few semesters at Job Corps could do the trick in lieu of the tens of thousands of dollars that it takes to obtain a four-year degree.
Whatever the case for your soon-to-be college student, it's important for both parents and students to weigh the potential degree and the need for life experience on a personal level. Not everyone wants or needs a four-year degree. But only you and your child can decide what's best in your young adult's life.
Good luck, parents! Weigh in below to help other parents decide if college is beneficial...or a bust.