What Everybody Ought to Know About the True Benefits of a College Degree
The benefits of a college degree today mean much more than some spare change in your pocket when you do finally land a job. According to a recent article over at Yahoo, this little piece of paper equates to extra spending power to the tune of $23,000/year.
How much is a bachelor's degree worth? About $23,000 a year, the government said in a report released Thursday.
That is the average gap in earnings between adults with bachelor's degrees and those with high school diplomas, according to data from the Census Bureau.
College graduates made an average of $51,554 in 2004, the most recent figures available, compared with $28,645 for adults with a high school diploma. High school dropouts earned an average of $19,169 and those with advanced college degrees made an average of $78,093.
I would agree these numbers are probably fairly accurate, but do not demonstrate the fact that the true value of a college degree spans much farther than $23,000/year. Here is what I think.
The extra time and effort spent in school does more than simply add a few dollars to your paycheck. It helps you develop as a person and create bonds (both personally and professionally) that will last throughout your life. These network connections are often the reason you get a job after college in the first place. It was through these interactions that you learned the real skills needed to not only land a job at a higher price but also to be successful at that job. After all, what good is a job if you can't keep it right?
In life, being book smart is only half the battle. College can teach you that directly (that is what you are paying for). In the real world however, most of the time these book smarts are not what will land you that dream job. What will land you that dream job is your ability to communicate in a way that parallels those with whom you are interviewing. Your communication skills are critical when it comes to the real world and all the book smarts in the world will not help you here. These are the hidden benefits of college that most do not recognize are even being developed and fine-tuned throughout their experiences in academia.
Looking solely at the monetary benefits of a degree, you would realize an extra $805,000 dollars over the course of your 35-year career. Hopefully this would be enough extra money to pay off those college loans and in the end you should come out ahead :-) No matter what way you look at it, the entire college experience coupled with that little piece of paper all add up to big benefits in both the short and long term and with respect to book smarts and personal development.