The Value of a College Degree

Is a four-year degree the only path to a secure future?

Nowadays, high school graduates are facing the dilemma: they should decide whether they are going to college to obtain a four-year degree or choosing a more affordable variant like technical job courses or a two-year community college. It is hard for young people to decide upon this point, and knowing that the choice can influence their future lives dramatically make the decision even harder. Moreover, young people are often ill-informed about the peculiarities of higher education. Some of them are being told that without a four-year degree they will not be able to reach any success in life, while others hear that higher education is completely useless, and even a community college is a wrong option. However, it is more than obvious that even though there are few examples of successful people without any diploma higher than that of high school, their stories can barely be applied to all the people’s lives. Deciding not to continue education after graduating from high school is definitely a wrong option, but it is still an open question whether one should consider a four-year degree the first choice or pay attention to other variants as well. According to some researchers, a four-year college degree (bachelor’s degree) can sometimes be a pre-requisite for higher salary rates, but it is not the only option for one to be sure about one’s future. Those who do not want to get dependent on a student’s loan, which may take years to be paid out, can get a closer look at two-year community colleges, which offer a sustainable education that is affordable to most of the people with average income. Still, both options have its advantages and disadvantages, which should be observed before making any decision.

A four-year bachelor’s degree that one can get in a college can definitely offer good prospects to graduates. The researches have demonstrated that the salaries of those who have a bachelor’s degree are higher than of those who do not. Moreover, the unemployment rate among the first group is lower as compared to those with a community college diploma or without any diploma at all. A bachelor’s degree provides its owner with a vital experience, which is useful for the future life. Furthermore, it helps one to go for a lucrative career and create a great resume. These advantages are often used by those who persuade school graduates to make a turn for a four-year college. However, such a choice has a major disadvantage that cannot be disregarded. A study year at an average public college costs as much as 15,000 dollars, and this amount growing a bit each next year. The prices at private colleges are more than twice higher. Taking these facts into account, it becomes obvious that many families cannot afford such an expensive education. Therefore, the established loan system has been functioning for several decades already. Students who enter a college are often promised that they will be able to repay the debt because the career they will be able to build after graduating will definitely bring them great sums of money. Nevertheless, one can never be sure about that. Some people may succeed, while the others may not. Some people understand they have chosen a wrong way after a few years spent at college. They will still feel obliged to obtain a diploma in order to have a chance to give the money back to the state. Such a state of things can barely make an individual happy, so one should act wisely and be well-informed while making such an important decision.

Though the bachelor’s degree can often (but not always) offer a lucrative career, there are other options that can bring one to the dream job. Most of the employers nowadays do not require one to have a four-year college degree. They usually ask for an associate diploma, which can be acquired in two years at a community college. Such colleges are affordable and there are many of them throughout the country; most of them offer the courses for professions, which provide high salaries if employed – for example, computer science professions. Most of the employers offer initial trainings to those who have an associate degree, so in the end, one with a two-year community college diploma and an additional training can achieve success in the field one chooses. That is why Barack Obama has made the crucial decision of developing and popularizing community college as a great choice for an average American student. He has also mentioned that the government’s goal is to increase the number of jobs that require an employee to have an associate degree only. Taking all these facts into account, it can be stated that an associate degree is enough for a young individual to feel secure about the future job.

All in all, a four-year college degree can offer many advantages to the one who acquires it, but it is not enough to be sure that one’s working future will be sustainable. Associate degree, developed and publically offered by former President Obama, is a perfect analog of a classic college diploma. It is much more affordable and it does not make a student too dependent on the state. Moreover, many jobs are open for those with a two-year community college degree, so that is a great option for those who find it too hard to obtain a four-year degree.

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