Top 7 Reasons Why College is Important (2023)

Top 7 Reasons Why College is Important (1)

With more and more careers requiring advanced education, a college degree can be critical to your success in today's workforce. Research indicates that earning a degree can have a significant and expansive impact on your life. It also has the potential to help you positively impact your family—and the world.

Here are 7 reasons why college could be important for you.

1. Earn More on Average

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) notes that workers with a postsecondary degree typically earn more than those with only a high school education. The median weekly earnings—or the middle amount in a set of data—for people with an associate degreewas $963 per week in 2021. That's an increase of $154 per week or over $8,000 more per year than those with only a high school diploma.

Workers with a bachelor's degreeearned a median of $1,334 weekly—$525 more per week than workers without a postsecondary education and an increase of more than $27,000 per year. A master's degreehelped workers earn even more at a median of $1,574 per week, $765 more weekly than those with only a high school diploma and almost $40,000 more per year.

According to this data, if your professional career lasts 40 years, for example, you could have the potential to earn $320,000 more with an associate degree, over $1 million more with a bachelor's degree or over $1.5 million more with a master's degree than a worker without a postsecondary education.

2. Increase Chances of Employment

It's not uncommon to see "bachelor's degree required" on job descriptions or listed as a preferred qualification. A 2020 survey, done by the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) in collaboration with Hanover Research, found a growing number of employers deem college a good investment. Of those surveyed, 87% cited college as "definitely" or "probably" worth it (AAC&U PDF source).

An undergraduate program, which includes associate and bachelor's degrees, offers a combination of general education coursesand specialized learning in a discipline that interests you. With these degrees, you'll develop both broad-based and field-specific knowledge.

You may also have a chance to grow important hard and soft skillsby participating in experiential learning opportunities, which are relevant, hands-on experiences you can translate to the professional world. Experiential learningtakes many forms and may exist both in and out of the classroom.

For example, if you're earning a cyber security degree, you might join your college's National Cyber League (NCL) team to test your working knowledge of cryptography and other concepts you might encounter while working in a cyber security role.

Additional types of experiential learning you might take advantage of in college include project-based assignments that partner with real organizations, internships and student clubs and organizations. You can leverage these valuable experiences on your resume, in your portfolio of work and during job interviewsto show employers that you are a competitive candidate.

Earning a college degree could also lead to greater career stability. According to BLS data, 3.5% of workers with a bachelor’s degree faced unemployment in 2021 compared to 6.2% of workers with only a high school diploma.

3. Expand Your Opportunities

A college degree can be the extra credential you need to land the dream job you've always wanted. Getting your bachelor's degree may also allow you to view your work as a career and not just a job.

A 2016 Pew Research Center report states that 77% of workers with a post-graduate degree and 60% of workers with a bachelor's degree believe their jobs give them a sense of identity, versus just 38% of those with only a high school diploma or less.

This idea still holds today. The Lumina Foundation and Gallup noted in The State of Higher Education 2022 Report that 61% of students enrolled in higher education are getting their degrees to find more fulfilling jobs (Lumina PDF Source).

Top 7 Reasons Why College is Important (2)An example of this is recent graduate Victoria Meuse '22, who was able to advance to a teaching position with the help of her bachelor's degree. Meuse is a military spouse, and during the pandemic and her husband's deployment, she homeschooled her oldest daughter. This experience inspired her to continue teaching, and now with her degree, Meuse is starting a new role at her children's elementary school.

Meuse knows her bachelor's degree in psychologyhas helped her better understand her work, and she now wants to earn a master's.

"Right now, I love working at my kid's school. I think that the background in psychology has helped me a lot in understanding the students," said Meuse. "I'm deciding if I want my master's in psychologyor my master's in education, but I'm not done."

While working in your degree program, you're choosing to study something that interests you in a field you desire to work or grow in.

4. Prepare for the Future

You can also gain practical life skills as a college student. For example, you will need to meet regular assignment deadlines for each class. The discipline and time management strategiesyou learn along the way can be applied to all aspects of your life, whether you're navigating projects at work or your family's busy schedule.

Top 7 Reasons Why College is Important (3)A college degree can also impact your family members and their futures. For Tarah Theis '22, earning a bachelor's in communicationmeant setting an example for her sons. She said they all want to go to college now after seeing their mom do it. "That's the biggest success to me ... starting a legacy and showing them a good path to follow," Theis said.

Since your earning potential is typically greater as a college graduate, your degree may lead toward financial stability for you and your family. Your school's finance counselors can walk you through more than just how to pay for college. With their tips and advice, you may discover helpful budgeting techniques and learn more about financing options and processes that may be relevant to future investments—such as purchasing a car or a home.

Homeowners are increasingly more likely to be college educated. Point2, an organization that reports on real estate market trends, analyzed U.S. Census data to find that 70% of homeowners in 2020 had some college education. Forty percent had at least a bachelor's degree.

Top 7 Reasons Why College is Important (4)Marilynn Hymon-Williams '22 sees her education as a stepping stone to a better future—and a better retirement. After completing her bachelor's in healthcare administration, she was already thinking about a master's degree. "I'm invested in (the) future because a lot of people think that when you get older, it's over," Hymon-Williams said. "It ain't over. Uh-uh, nope. It's just started."

5. Build New Relationships

College can be more than just an education; it can be a place you build all types of new relationships. Initially, you may establish a connection with an academic advisor—someone who will be there to support you throughout your college experience by scheduling classes, providing direction to university resources, and encouraging and mentoring you for personal success, and more. Faculty—your course instructors—also can provide help with understanding your assignments and what's expected of you as a student.

Once classes begin, you'll be surrounded by peers. Engaging with your peers through activities like group work or class discussions can be a great way to start a professional network, meet your future partnerand make lasting friendships.

Top 7 Reasons Why College is Important (5)When Lydia Alonci '18 was offered a full-time position while attending the annual Grace Hopper conference, she told her prospective employer that she would only accept the job if they gave her friend from SNHU, Patricia Odani Mukuka '18, '21G, a chance too. This led to the organization offering Odani Mukuka an internship. That experience later turned into a full-time job, illustrating the power of the friendships you can make throughout your collegiate journey.

The relationships you build in college can go on to become the foundation of your professional network. You may connect with alumni during your time in college. After you graduate, from a you'll also become part of an alumni association. An alumni association is full of graduates, known as alumni, who play a major role in a university's community. They give back in a variety of ways including community service, participating and organizing events and mentoring current students, among other ways. Alumni work in a wide range of fields, and establishing a relationship with others in this network could lead to professional opportunities.

6. Achieve Your Personal Goals

Top 7 Reasons Why College is Important (6)While your degree can have many perks for your professional goals, finishing college can be an important personal goal, as it was for John Reck '22.

Reck is a 1% survivor of a rare infection called septicemia. He's also suffered a heart attack, been in a coma, undergone 18 surgeries and lost the ability to walk and talk.

"Life goes on around you," he said of his time in the hospital during his health scare. "It's lonely." Once Reck was on the road to recovery, he knew his next goal. After 30 years, he would go back to school and this time it was for him.

"School came upon me like a bell," Reck said. "I'm going to go finish my degree, and here I am, alive." He now holds his bachelor's in graphic design. In achieving his personal goal, he has also attained a professional one. He secured his dream job as a graphic designer for a Boston law firm.

Top 7 Reasons Why College is Important (7)In a recent survey*, 500 people were asked what the greatest benefit was in achieving their degree, and 57% said it was accomplishing a personal goal for themselves. For first-generationcollege students, achieving a degree is a major personal goal for themselves and their families.

Recent graduates Marlene Riley '22 and Michael Riley '18, wife and husband, walked across the stage together. Marlene is an immigrant from Peru, and Michael is a veteran, and both are first-generation college students. Finishing their degrees was a personal goal they were able to achieve together, and it was even more special sharing the stage at Commencement.

"He is my team, and we did it together," said Marlene.

7. Make a Difference

Earning your college degree can improve the lives of those around you, too. The College Board's 2019 report on the benefits of higher education for individuals and society notes that college graduates are more likely to donate money to charity organizations, volunteer and vote (College Board PDF Source).

Top 7 Reasons Why College is Important (8)Some colleges encourage students to give back by organizing volunteer opportunities. SNHU holds an annual community service initiative, Global Days of Service. Over 1,200 students served 135 organizations in 2022. A new nonprofit even formed as a result. A project's site leader, Cassi Key '22, who recently graduated with an online English degreefrom SNHU, was so inspired by her involvement with Global Days of Service that she started Bee Buddies, an organization focused on planting seeds and promoting environmental education.

Like Key, you might be galvanized to make a difference in the world after graduating from college. Many students learn about topics like social changeor environmental sustainabilitythroughout their degrees and go on to make an impact in an increasing number of ways.

A TIME magazine article notes that higher education is rapidly working to improve climate education in many fields, including architecture, economics and law. As a result of this new emphasis on ecology and sustainability in higher education, graduates from various areas of study are now applying their knowledge to improve sustainability practices and address climate change in several sectors. You can also get a degree focusing on these issues directly. For instance, SNHU offers a degree in environmental scienceand a degree in geoscienceswith opportunities to prepare for a career in sustainability and conservation.

Higher education can give you the chance to make a difference in other ways, too. You can get a degree in a field that will help you improve people's lives.

Some programs of study focused on helping others are:

  • Degrees in education
  • Degrees in healthcare
  • Degree in human services
  • Degrees in nursing
  • Degrees in psychology and counseling

College can also broaden your horizons by introducing you to a diverse range of perspectives. A chance to engage with other viewpoints can lead you to better understand people who are different from you and situations you have never personally encountered. This may lead to heightened empathy, improve your communication skills and help grow your confidence as you strive to make the world a better place.

A degree can change your life. Find the SNHU online college degreethat can best help you meet your goals.

Danielle Gagnon is a freelance writer focused on higher education. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

*Survey Methodology: This survey was conducted online within the United States by Kantar on behalf of Southern New Hampshire University in December of 2021. Opinions from 500 general population respondents were obtained using their omnibus survey. For complete survey methodology, please contact Megan Bond at


Top 7 Reasons Why College is Important? ›

College authorities want to know more about your academic interests and commitments. Talk about the specific educational, research, and other academic opportunities offered by the college that appeal to you. Expand on this idea by talking about how these opportunities help support your future goals.

How do you answer why college is important to you? ›

College authorities want to know more about your academic interests and commitments. Talk about the specific educational, research, and other academic opportunities offered by the college that appeal to you. Expand on this idea by talking about how these opportunities help support your future goals.

What are some reasons why college is important? ›

15 Reasons Why College is Important for Your Career
  • College prepares you for the workforce. ...
  • College can help you network with other professionals. ...
  • College can teach you how to think critically and solve problems. ...
  • College can help you stand out from other applicants for high-level jobs.
Dec 22, 2022

What are 3 reasons to choose a college? ›

Top 10 Factors for Choosing a College
  • Safety.
  • Academic Support and Career Services. ...
  • Campus Life. ...
  • Athletics and Extracurricular Activities. ...
  • Majors and Minors. ...
  • Class Size. ...
  • Cost and Fees. ...
  • Location and Distance From Home. ...

What are the 5 most important things to consider when choosing a college? ›

Before making your choice, consider these factors: cost, location, size, your interests, campus life, graduation rates, and the potential return on your investment. Once you make your decision, be sure to commit to the college by the deadline.

What is most important in college? ›

Courses and Grades

A student's grades in college-preparatory classes remain the most significant factor in college admission decisions. Highly selective colleges look for students who: Complete core academic requirements.

Why is your college essay important? ›

The essay is an opportunity for students to personalize their college application beyond grades and scores. It can also be one of the more nerve-wracking parts of the application process. Help your students learn the skills they need to write an application-worthy essay.

What are 5 benefits of going to college? ›

10 Benefits of a College Degree
  • Earn more money, experience less unemployment. ...
  • Raise your voice! ...
  • Call the shots—be your own boss. ...
  • Transform your family tree. ...
  • Invest in and shape our democracy. ...
  • Never stop evolving. ...
  • Pay it forward. ...
  • Bring your ideas to fruition.
Feb 28, 2022

What does college teach you? ›

But college is an important time for you to learn how to dress, speak, write and carry yourself like the professional you will soon become. Other important skills include day-to-day employment essentials, such as working on a team, handling big projects, and staying organized.

What are the pros and cons of college? ›

Is College Right for You?
Pros of Attending CollegeCons of Attending College
Higher earning potentialHigh cost
Access to more jobsOpportunity cost of time spent not working
More learning opportunitiesThe availability of high-paying, no-degree jobs
Networking opportunitiesUnderemployed college graduates
6 more rows
Jan 23, 2023

How do you say why you choose a college? ›

Be Specific. If a school supplement asks “why do you want to attend this university?” don't just say “because it's a great school,” or “because my parents went there.” Be as detailed as possible to demonstrate your knowledge of the institution and the aspects of the college and campus life that draw you to it.

What are the benefits of choosing the right college? ›

Importance of Choosing the Right University for YOU
  • Choosing the Right University Is Critical for Your Mental Health. ...
  • The Right University Has Your Desired Major. ...
  • The Right School Excels at Your Major. ...
  • The Right College Has Activities You'll Enjoy. ...
  • Choose Your College Wisely.
Aug 19, 2020

What are the three reasons college still matters? ›

Andrew Delbanco, a well-known author, wrote an article titled “3 Reasons Why College Still Matters” in which he argues that college still matters because of its economic advantage, political involvement, and the advancement of the community as whole.

What should I look for in a college checklist? ›


What are four aspects to consider when choosing a college or university which is most important to you and why? ›

Overall, the most important thing to remember is that you want to find the best fit for the student. Specifically, that includes considerations of cost, academic program, the make-up of the student body, the size of the school and the academic opportunities t that result.

Do you need college for everything? ›

Decide what career you want first and check if a degree is needed. Even if a degree is not needed in the beginning, it may be required in order for you to move higher up within your company or field. That being said, you can certainly be successful without a college degree — your skills and talents can get you hired.

What is the most important part of college essay? ›

The introduction of your college essay is the first thing admissions officers will read and therefore your most important opportunity to stand out. An excellent introduction will keep admissions officers reading, allowing you to tell them what you want them to know.

What should a good college essay be about? ›

Whatever subject you choose, make sure it's something that's genuinely important to you and not a subject you've chosen just to impress. You can write about a specific experience, hobby, or personality quirk that illustrates your strengths, but also feel free to write about your weaknesses.

How do you start a college essay? ›

Start with an attention grabber. The very first sentence of your essay should be the “hook” or “grabber.” This sentence “hooks” readers or “grabs” their attention, making them want to read more. This first sentence should provide rich details, engage a reader's curiosity, or otherwise stand out from the rest.

How college helps your future? ›

It prepares you, both intellectually and socially, for your career and your adult life. The benefits of a college education include career opportunities like better paying and higher skilled jobs, but studies have shown that it also leads to overall happiness and stability.

What is the value of college education? ›

Bachelor's degree holders generally earn 75% more than those with just a high school diploma, according to “The College Payoff,” a report from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce — and the higher the level of educational attainment, the larger the payoff.

How does college help with life skills? ›

Developing your communication skills, becoming more efficient at time management, and changing your approach to overcoming challenges are just some of the important life lessons you learn in college that can't be found in any textbook.

What I wish I learned in college? ›

Some Things I Wish I Would Have Learned in College
  • Passion is overrated. ...
  • Learn about behavioral psychology and human nature. ...
  • Don't just send out a bunch of resumes. ...
  • Avoid defeatism at all costs. ...
  • Think in terms of systems over goals. ...
  • Avoid lifestyle creep. ...
  • Become a lifelong learner. ...
  • Ask questions.
Mar 16, 2017

What skills are needed to be successful in college? ›

15 skills for college success
  • Assertiveness. That old saying “the squeaky wheel gets the grease” is an old saying for a reason — it's true. ...
  • Responsibility. ...
  • Self management skills. ...
  • Communication skills. ...
  • Collaboration skills. ...
  • Independent work skills. ...
  • Critical-thinking skills. ...
  • Study skills.

Is college necessary for success? ›

If you're wondering if college is necessary to have a successful career, it depends on what you want to pursue. You don't need a Bachelor's degree to succeed in most careers. Instead of four-year degrees, more companies are looking at a candidate's skills and potential.

How is college better than school? ›

In college, you will have more freedom and opportunities. You'll be able to choose classes that interest you and set your own schedule, unlike high school where you have set high school subjects that you must take and schedules.

Is it a good idea to go to college? ›

College grads generally earn more and have better employment opportunities than non-graduates. And for many students, college is an opportunity to gain financial literacy, begin networking and broaden their horizons. The investment is worthwhile for many.

How do you say a college is your first choice? ›

You can tell them in an interview that it is your first choice college, you can put it in your application in some cases, or you can start emailing your counselor at xxx college to introduce yourself, then eventually tell them it is your first choice. Even if you don't apply ED, applying early is always a good idea.

How do you choose the best college for you? ›

Here are some aspects to consider:
  1. Size.
  2. Location.
  3. Distance from home.
  4. Available majors and classes.
  5. Housing options.
  6. Makeup of the student body.
  7. Available extracurricular activities.
  8. Campus atmosphere.

Is the benefit of college worth it? ›

Investing in college has historically yielded significant benefits, including greater career opportunities, higher earning potential and a better quality of life for millions of Americans. The data has also reinforced the value of a college education, both financially and otherwise.

What 3 factors are most important for student success in college? ›

Factors That Influence a Student's Success in College
  • Family and Peer Support. No matter how independent the student, successfully transitioning into college often begins with strong family support. ...
  • Academic Habits. ...
  • Life Skills. ...
  • Decision-Making.

What are 3 reasons college should be free? ›

Reasons Why College Should Be Free
  • Universal Access to Public Education. ...
  • Less Student Debt. ...
  • Better Education. ...
  • Economic Uplift. ...
  • Equality of Opportunity. ...
  • A Stronger Workforce. ...
  • Helps Students Focus on Studying. ...
  • Other Countries Demonstrate that it Works.
Mar 9, 2023

What makes a college stand out from other colleges? ›

Affordable cost. Colleges vary in their "financial friendliness." Friendlier colleges offer more grants and scholarships, meet more financial need, and keep the average debt of graduates low. Retention rates. The number of students who return from year to year can indicate how happy students are with the campus.

What every girl should know before college? ›

10 things + extra tips every girl should know before going off to university:
  • Balance: ...
  • Stay focused and committed to doing your best: ...
  • Form good habits: ...
  • Surround yourself with the best people: ...
  • Mind your own business: ...
  • All is good in moderation: ...
  • Keep moving forward: ...
  • Make your own - smart - decisions:

What parents look for in a college? ›

What do parents consider important?
  • A safe environment — 74.5%
  • Acquisition of real-world marketable skills — 73%
  • The college is a good fit for my child — 72.5%
  • A first-rate academic experience — 70%
  • Affordability — 63%
  • Quality of career placement support services — 56%
  • Job placement rate — 55.5%
Mar 2, 2015

What classes do colleges look at most? ›

Colleges look at applicants' core classes: English, math, science, and social studies. Many colleges even calculate a separate GPA for these foundational classes. So, make sure you're focusing on these core subjects throughout your time in high school.

When should students look at colleges? ›

Summer Before Senior Year

There's only so much information available on a college's website, so it's vital for prospective students to tour a college campus either in-person or virtually. Experts recommend visiting schools either during the spring semester of junior year or summer before senior year.

What grade do colleges mainly look at? ›

Your junior year grades are essential: it's the grade a college will look at most, along with your senior year. Your grades predetermine your academic performance for your final year. Your GPA and the “sturdiness” of it matters.

What are two important factors when it comes to deciding on a major in college? ›

Your major should align with future job opportunities, so it's essential to consider what it will be like to pursue a career in the paths you're interested in. In addition to earning potential, job growth, educational requirements, and skills are all relevant factors in determining what could be a good fit for you.

What questions to ask when deciding on a college? ›

10 Questions to Ask Yourself About College
  • What Is Most Important to Me? ...
  • What Do I Want From My College Experience? ...
  • What Environment Is Life-Giving for Me? ...
  • Which Majors Spark My Interest? ...
  • What Are the Classes Like? ...
  • What Clubs or Activities Am I Interested In? ...
  • Do the Housing Options Fit My Lifestyle?

What are the factors influencing students in choosing their college course? ›

  • Peer's Influence.
  • Parent's Decision.
  • Job Opportunity.
  • Self Decision.

How do you answer the question what is important to you? ›

Address the question as directly as possible while also citing your specific interests, goals and the skills you want to exercise in your work. Doing so can set you apart from other candidates and gives the employer the information they need to decide whether the position is a suitable match for you.

Why is higher education important to you personally and professionally? ›

Why is higher education important? After going to college, you may have improved career opportunities, receive higher pay, experience greater cultural awareness, and have a life with more choices and possibilities. Read on to learn more about the benefits and importance of higher education.

What are the 5 most important things for you and why? ›

Never lose sight of these 7 critical things in life.
  • Peace. Rule #1, protect your peace. ...
  • Health. So many of us take our health for granted until something life-changing happens, and our health becomes at risk. ...
  • Family & Friendship. Our relationships are our foundation. ...
  • Purpose. Purpose is our “why.” ...
  • Time. ...
  • Learning. ...
  • Love.

How do you give the best answer to a question? ›

If you're feeling challenged, here are strategies to provide a response that limits your emotional reaction:
  1. Keep your answer short.
  2. Respond specifically to the question and avoid tangents.
  3. Use facts to support your answer.
  4. Move on from the question quickly to redirect your attention.
Feb 3, 2023

What are the three most important things for you in your next career? ›

There are three key employer characteristics a job seeker should look for in an employment relationship: reputation, career advancement and work balance.

Is college important for success? ›

If you're wondering if college is necessary to have a successful career, it depends on what you want to pursue. You don't need a Bachelor's degree to succeed in most careers. Instead of four-year degrees, more companies are looking at a candidate's skills and potential.

What are the social benefits of college? ›

Through volunteer work, leadership, and philanthropic contributions, public university graduates enrich the civic and economic life of their communities. They also contribute more in taxes and are less reliant on government services than their peers whose highest degree is a high school diploma.

How does college prepare you for your career? ›

It means building the skills and qualities you need to learn, think and create on your own — making you attractive to employers. You've already started learning these skills in high school, but college helps you fully develop them. Communication is at the top of the list of skills that employers look for.


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