Top 5 Things No One Ever Told You About Getting a College Degree

Now with so many college graduates leaving college with more debts than opportunities of landing a job to pay for it, people start wondering about the cost and worth of a college degree.

First of all, people need to see college education as an investment. The cost of this investment is (1) time, (2) money and opportunity lost.

The financial damage to us is well known. The four years you devote to college are almost the best and more energetic years in your life. Instead of going to college, you devote these years to something more interesting, which might yield more far-reaching result. We went to college based on the assumption that in the long run, we will reap high returns from this time-and-money investment. This is a myth. Like all investment, there is no guarantee of anything. I know a person who got a Ph.D. with borrowed money and later had to do something else to pay for his Ph.D. cost.

Here are some points to consider if you don't want to lose money in this investment.

1) Not all majors are equal.

Depending on job market, some majors reward more than some others. It is no surprise that you might spend over $200,000 (50,000 each year) for an art major and end up in your parents' basement or something a little better than that. On the other hand, a person that I know had a degree in computer programming from a small, inexpensive university. Upon graduation he found a job that pays $120,000.

People have to take into consideration of the consequence or the return of their investment when they choose their major. The so-called "follow your passion" advice regardless of consequence is really for people like Mitt Romney's children or someone along that line.

2) Don't expect that the door of opportunity is automatically wide open to you upon graduation.

No, the reality is that on the first day you enter the college campus you have to prepare for the day you leave that campus. And that date comes sooner than you expect. It will be too late if you start thinking of where you are going when you are about to finish college.

3) Figure out what you're doing at college ... fast.

Many young people don't know what they want to do with their lives when they first enter college, which is not good, but things can improve if these people actively engage in both studies and activities, seeking to broaden their interests and find a good fit.

4) Sell your skill as soon as you learn it.

Nobody ever says you have to have a degree or a job to do this or that. Start selling your skill as soon as you possess it and as soon as you got a chance.

5) Don't take a summer break during your college years.

Instead, squeeze in as many as possible intern or volunteer in your summer. Internship and volunteer not only provide you an opportunity to gain experience, enrich your resume but also a chance to connect and build network for future job opportunities.

How much do you trust the information in this article?

Yanwen Xia

Research section at University of Kansas Hospital Cancer Center & Midwest Voices contributing columnist

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