Is College the Road to Success?


Enzo Goebel, Staff Writer

Picture someone who is successful. Now, think of some of the things associated with a successful person. Fictional or not, the person you just thought about is probably associated with a multitude of things. At a minimum, you imagined a stable income, a social life, and retirement plans. Perhaps you thought bigger: fame, fortune, glory. Now, try thinking realistically. What did this person do to achieve success?

Most of the time, we know what we want. It’s a question of how we get there that’s widely unknown. For the majority of us, getting a college degree is essential if not crucial to achieving success. Despite this, some of the most successful people in the world are college dropouts. The anomalies are Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Mark Zuckerburg (who managed to dodge the facts).

There are several good reasons why someone should not to go to college: student debt, financial crisis, pursuing a career that doesn’t require a degree, or not being prepared academically. Furthermore, having a college degree doesn’t guarantee success; “Nor should it,” states the Career Professionals of Canada. It continues, “employees need to bring marketable skills to the table, as well as the ability to continue learning, growing, and providing value for their employer.”

In short, while a college degree is not nearly as important as it is made out to be, having a “marketable” skill, or rather getting an education that provides you with skills that are in demand, are key. Taking an apprenticeship, internship, online classes, and doing your own research are all alternate ways to “get an education.” So, while college is certainly beneficial, it’s not always the only choice.

On the other hand, getting an education by going to college can be well worth it. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in 2018, people with college degrees earned on average $500 more than people with high school diplomas. In addition, college graduates were 1.9% less likely to be unemployed compared to people with high school diplomas. While these numbers may seem small, they add up. “Meaning non-college grads are missing out on $1 million in earnings, over a lifetime” reports the College Foundation of North Carolina.

Going to college has been proven to have long-term health benefits as well. A study by the Brookings Institution shows that an additional year of college “decreases mortality rates by 15 to 19 percent.” A Pew Research Center study found that college graduates were more likely to be “very satisfied” with their work, while non-graduates were less likely to be so. Overall, going to college offers “delayed investment” which can provide a brighter future to individuals in all areas of life

Whether you choose to go to college or not, what’s important to understand is that the future holds infinite possibilities. Every choice you make closes one door and opens another, therefore you must discover what the right choice is for you. Know your options, know your passion, and know yourself. For most, college is the right option, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only one. If you look at some of the world’s greatest minds, hardly any of them played by the book!


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