Should You Go to College or Get a Full-Time Job?

By Danielle Wirsansky on March 9, 2017
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Everyone knows that college can be hard. It is often lauded as the best time of your life yet it is recognized to have its struggles as well.

However, according to PBS and the Lumina Foundation only around 40 percent of working-aged Americans actually hold a college degree. You might be thinking, how great a time can college be if only 4/10 people choose to experience it? It might make you wonder, is college for me?

You might be trying to decide between going to college and jumping straight into working. What is the right choice for you? It is hard to say. The situation is different for each person but you can read on to help you figure out whether you should go to college or get a full-time job. Here, we will lay out the pros and cons, both of going to college or getting a full-time job.

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Pros of Going to College

Networking

When you go to college, you get to meet the most extraordinary people. It is a time to explore all the different kinds of people society has to offer and have access to people who are different both from you and from what you have encountered in the past. People of different races, genders, religions, sexualities, with different interests, hobbies, passions, and skills are out there and you can meet them when you go to college.

You can make new friends and be in a new and different environment than the one you spent the first 18 years of your life in. You can meet people with the same interests as you, studying in the same program and heading into the same professional field as you. This does not just mean your peers, either. Your professors are great resources and great connections to help you get ahead in your field after you graduate (or even before). If you do not go to college, you might miss out on the opportunity of growing yourself as a person or networking in order to have a triumphantly successful career once you do enter the workforce.

Better Wages When You Work

Getting a degree can help you to get a higher wage when you enter the workforce. The degree shows that you have been specially trained for your job. You paid a lot of money towards getting that degree, so they need to pay you accordingly. You have four years of training that someone just entering the workforce from high school without going to college does not have.

More than the training, you bring your expertise and connections developed at college with you, which is something else those who do not go to college lack. You can earn back the money spent on your college experience more quickly because you will start off being paid more from the very beginning.

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Cons of Going to College

Incredibly Expensive Tuition

College can be incredibly expensive. From in-state versus out of state tuition, the fees you have to pay, the living expenses of going to college, even the textbooks, it can all seem overwhelming. Perhaps you have a specific career in mind that requires you to go to a specialized program, should you decide to go to college for it.

However, no local colleges offer that program. You might have to study at a private institution or one that is out of state, which makes the price exorbitant. Is the college degree worth it then? What if you do not have the grades for a scholarship to help you pay for college? Just tuition is thousands of dollars a year, and you need to be able to support yourself without going into debt. If you can start a career that you are interested in and passionate about without the college degree, why not?

College Might Not Prepare You for the Real World

Perhaps you already know how to take care of yourself. You can cook, you can clean, you can live on your own and take care of all your responsibilities right from the start. You are responsible and you do not require the kind of support many new high school graduates do in order to subsist on your own.

Or perhaps you are the opposite. You cannot take care of yourself at all. You can’t cook (you cannot even microwave yourself some chicken nuggets),  you cannot do laundry, the idea of taxes gives you hives. Being pushed out into college might not be the best way to launch you into the world. You might instead need hands-on experience, being guided and shown how to take care of yourself by being a real adult that has to take care of themselves. College might not be the best fit for your growing up needs.

Whether college or work is the right choice for you is a personal decision that only you can make. But as long as you are determined to succeed, you have a pretty good chance of doing so no matter what path you pick.

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Danielle Wirsansky graduated from FSU with a BA in Theatre and a BA in Creative Writing with a minor in History. She is a first year graduate student in FSU's History department. She studied abroad in London, England for the Spring 2015 semester at FSU's study center for the Playwriting Program and interned for the English National Theatre of Israel in Summer of 2015. Her first musical, City of Light, opened as part of FSU's New Horizons Festival in Spring of 2016. She has also won the MRCE and URCAA Research grants from FSU. In the past, she served as the Marketing Director for the FSU Student Theatre Association, the intern for the Holocaust Education Resource Council, and the research assistant of Prof. Nathan Stoltzfus. She has previously written for Context Florida (Contributing Writer), USA Today College (Contributing Writer), Sheroes of History (Contributing Blogger), No(le)Reservations (Contributing Blogger), Female, Reloaded (Arts/Entertainment Editor) , I Want a Buzz Magazine (intern), Mandarin Newsline (youth arts update columnist), Distink Designs (Guest blogger), whatscheaper.com (associate editor), escapewizard.com (associate editor), Spark TLH (Contributor), the Tallahassee Democrat (contributor), Elan Literary Magazine (Head of Marketing), and the Improviser Newspaper (Opinions Editor).

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