A college education is often the best way to get ahead in America. While there are always exceptions, such as successful dropouts who go on to create billion-dollar companies, for the vast majority of people, a college education opens up more opportunities in life than anything else.
The career benefits are the most well-known opportunities. A college degree is a requirement for many jobs, especially the ones that pay better. On average, college graduates earn about $20,000 more per year than high school grads.
In fact, that’s one of the main reasons people go to college. In one Pew Research Center survey, almost half of respondents said that the purpose of college is to teach you what you need for a job.
But is that really all there is to a college education?
In reality, many people believe that there’s much more to it than that. In the same Pew survey, 39 percent of participants said college also helps a person grow personally and intellectually, and 12 percent said that it’s beneficial for both professional and personal growth.
A college degree is great — it looks great on a mantel and will open the door to plenty of career opportunities. But there are many more reasons to go to college besides just getting that piece of paper. Here are five of the best:
- You grow from challenging yourself.
Every good teacher knows that learning happens when students push themselves outside of their comfort zone, which is why they strive to make their classes challenging for students.
College is challenging. You’ll learn new, difficult subjects and face unfamiliar experiences. It can be daunting, but you’ll have people in your corner to help you along the way. In the end, the challenges you face in college will help you grow into a stronger, more knowledgeable person.
- You learn how to prioritize and manage your time.
Part of the challenge of college is time management. Like the direction of your study, the way you spend your time is mostly left up to you.
Successful students effectively balance their academic, personal, and often professional lives as well. College will teach you about managing priorities and sticking to a schedule. And those time management skills will help you in whatever you do after you get your degree.
- Your peers and professors expose you to new ideas.
Higher education will give you the knowledge you need to succeed in the next step of your life. But just as importantly, it will give you the chance to see the world in a different way.
Your peers and professors may all be interested in the same subject as you, but they will come from different backgrounds, have different personalities, and view things in different ways. The interactions you have with them will open you up to new perspectives that are just as valuable as any fact or equation you learn.
- You learn how to network.
By sharing those diverse opinions, you’re building relationships. College puts people together — you’ll need to work in groups and participate in class discussions, so it’s a great environment for meeting new people.
After college, the network you create will be incredibly valuable. Your degree can help you find jobs, but a recommendation from a former classmate is sometimes even more effective. As the old saying goes, “It’s not always what you know; it’s who you know.”
- You gain connections to experts in the field.
Your professors in college will be knowledgeable about the field you’re studying. At Concordia University Chicago, for example, all of our professors have extensive professional experience and often still work with professional sports teams or manage their own businesses.
To go far in any given field, you have to learn from the best. As a college student, you’ll have the chance to ask questions and chat with experts in the field you’re interested in, which is an opportunity that’s hard to find outside of college.
A college education is a major commitment, and it’s a serious investment of both time and money. However, if you’re serious about your professional development, it’s almost always a wise decision. A college degree will certainly set you up for success in the professional world, and on top of that, your college experience will open you up to new people and new ideas, helping you grow personally as well.
How does Concordia University Chicago prepare students to be successful in their career? Read our article, “Concordia Goes the Extra Mile to Prepare for Career Success.”
Ready to take the first step? Request a program guide or get in contact with one of our representatives at 708-888-2031 to learn more about the program at Concordia University Chicago and see how we can help you get started on your journey.
Concordia University – Chicago has been educating students for over 150 years and when you enroll in our online programs you earn the same campus quality degree. Ready to advance your career in health and fitness with a degree in Exercise Science? Contact one of our Admissions Advisors to learn more or download our program guide now.