As the cost of higher education rises and the competition for spots at top colleges and universities steepens, you might wonder if it’s even worth it to make such a large investment in a college degree. The value of a college degree might be that it’s a means to get a spot at a nicely paying job and ultimately increase employability.
There may have been a time before online certificates, and technical training programs were readily available when colleges were the best place to learn employable skills. But now that almost every piece of technical knowledge is online and accessible for negligible costs, it may raise questions regarding why to spend so much on a college degree.
While many colleges compete to be the best place to learn technical skills, one of the main values of college isn’t to train for technical skills. In other words, colleges aren’t trade schools. Rather, colleges are places where young adults are taught how to think, not what to think. College is a place to learn valuable life and work skills that teach you how to grow as a human being—an employee, a founder, a decision-maker, a teammate, a wife or husband, a friend, and more. Many of these skills can help them be the ones that get promotions or help them gain the prescience to know when to get out of a bad situation, whether it is a relationship, job, or something else. College is also a place to learn about how the world works and how to question things while at the same time appreciating and respecting those who disagree. These are all valuable communication skills that can help in one’s professional and personal life.
Skills like this can have an immense impact on success and happiness in a young adult’s life and can all work together to show them the forest through the trees in any life context. As a result, they become equipped for financial success in whatever endeavor they choose. And at the end of the day, still, a college degree opens a considerable door for career options and overall economic mobility. So, when it comes to college, the value may not be so that your kid or grandkid can learn the trendiest new skill just to replace it with a new one in a decade. Rather, it equips them to adapt effectively as times change; something a how-to online class or textbook can’t teach well.