What Are the Pros and Cons of Attending College?

What Are the Pros and Cons of Attending College?
  • Opening Intro -

    If you are considering attending college, you may have some ideas about what you want to study and even have plans in place for life beyond academia.


Attending college is the right decision for many students, but it may not be for you. We’ll take a look at five significant pros and cons of attending college and how each one may impact you.

Pro: You’ll broaden your horizons. Attending college can expose you to diverse people, new thoughts and fresh ideas. You’ll meet people you might otherwise never get to meet and make contacts that can enrich your life. College is where many young adults begin to strengthen their socialization skills and start networking. College can help you connect with people that will become your friends and may also help you launch and maintain your career.

Con: Lost opportunities. Each year that you are in college means that you’ll have little chance to make money beyond a token part-time job. For some people, losing the opportunity to work can prove disastrous especially if they have dependents or others that rely on their income.

Pro: Future opportunities. The opportunities you lose right now can be greatly offset by income that will come later. Indeed, if you stay the course and complete your degree, you stand to make far more money as a college graduate than what a high school graduate would earn throughout his career. Forbes notes 2011 college grads made $42,822 annually to the $23,528 earned by high school GED holders. The difference is 82 percent, what can translate to an earnings gain of more than $1 million for a career.

Con: Debt happens fast. For students that must borrow money to attend college, debt begins to pile up immediately and deepens until they graduate. Some students leave college with a mountain of debt, with loans of $20,000, $50,000, even $100,000 or more hanging over their heads. That’s a financial burden that should cause all college students to keep in mind as they explore their college options and choices.

Pro: Ease of employment. Although finding work in recent years has been challenging for college graduates, the unemployment rate for college students is lower than it is for the general population. As of Sept. 2013, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the unemployment rate for college graduates was 3.7 percent, but it was 7.6 percent for people with only a high school diploma or a GED. Clearly, there are many jobs that require a college degree, an employment booster that should be kept in mind.

College Considerations

Prospective college students should consider each point carefully. If you absolutely worry about debt, then consider starting off at a community or technical college before transferring to a four-year school. The cost savings over the first two years can make a huge difference, perhaps lowering your overall debt or eliminating the need to borrow money in the first place.

See Also Five Worst Reasons to Attend College


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Categories: Personal Advice