More Than a Degree: What College Provides
Some of the benefits of a college education are easy to measure. For example, an analysis from the Hamilton Project suggests that a college graduate makes about $12,000 more each year than someone who has only a high school diploma. Similarly, research from the Bureau of Labor Statistics suggests that the unemployment rate is directly tied to the level of education a person completes. Statistics like this make it clear that getting a degree could have a big impact on a student’s bank account.
But there are other benefits to college that have little to nothing to do with money or employment success. These hidden benefits could provide students with the push they need to enroll and succeed in school.
Key Life Skills
Young students living at home are buffered from many of life’s stresses. They don’t have to fight hard every day to keep a job, beat out the competition or push through a difficult project. In short, they aren’t really required to develop a sense of commitment or perseverance in the face of challenges.
While college administrators work hard to ensure that students are supported as they learn, students are also expected to:
- Juggle conflicting deadlines
- Balance schoolwork and a social life
- Handle difficult classroom assignments with little supervision
- Stick to the class schedule, even if it’s inconvenient
Students are required, in other words, to develop a way they can use to push through a difficult time with a modicum of stress. This is just one life skill they’ll need to master, if they hope to succeed in their adult lives.
In addition to learning life skills involving stress, organization and perseverance, students are also asked to tackle tasks that could prepare them for the workforce. For example, many college-level courses require students to partner with other students.
These small-group exercises allow students to develop team-building, collaboration and sharing skills, and they can put those skills to good use when they enter the workforce and are required to work with a team of employees. They will have been through a significant amount of group work while in school, and that experience will allow them to walk into a collaborative job with just a touch of additional confidence.
College courses might also require students to give presentations in front of the class. Here, students are asked to demonstrate their knowledge about a particular subject, but they’re also learning how to develop a sense of innate confidence when they’re speaking to large groups. This is the kind of work many companies require of their employees, particularly if the organization is vast, and students who participate in these activities in school will have the public speaking skills they’ll need to handle those job demands with ease.
College might also provide people with the opportunity to interact with students who come from different parts of the country or even different parts of the world. Some students might choose to overlook these opportunities for diversity training, but those who do opt to make the most of their experiences might come away with a robust understanding of how culture impacts the way people work, talk and even interact. Again, that could be vital in some careers.
If you’d like to learn a little more about the funding options that could help you to pay for your college experience, please browse our website. We have a number of resources available that can help.
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