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Top 10 Advantages of a College Education

Updated on November 22, 2016
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Since completing university, Paul has worked as a bookseller, librarian, and freelance writer. Born in the UK, he now lives in Florida.

Studying is a crucial part of the education process and can help you later on when you need to do research as part of a job role.  Although computers and digital information has increased in popularity, reading traditional books is still important.
Studying is a crucial part of the education process and can help you later on when you need to do research as part of a job role. Although computers and digital information has increased in popularity, reading traditional books is still important. | Source

Although there are certainly a variety of opinions out there in the world about the advantages a college education, there are many individuals, employers and educationalists who believe wholeheartedly in the virtues of a strong and solid education.

The advantages can be manifold and not always obvious to the casual observer, but reports by organizations such as the US College Board show the contribution that a college education can make to the well being of both individuals and society as a whole.

I thought that it would be useful, instructive and fun to list what I believe to be the 10 main advantages of a college education below.

Arizona State University in the USA, known as "ASU" for short.  Founded in 1885, the institution is the largest public university by enrollment in the United States.  It is also one of the highest ranked research universities in the U.S.
Arizona State University in the USA, known as "ASU" for short. Founded in 1885, the institution is the largest public university by enrollment in the United States. It is also one of the highest ranked research universities in the U.S. | Source

To compete in a global economy, our students must continue their education beyond high school. To make this expectation a reality, we must give students the tools they need to succeed, including the opportunity to take a college entrance exam.

— Jennifer Granholm

1. Knowledge is power. The more you know about things, the more that you are able to form thought out opinions and make informed decisions. Plus a good education doesn't just feed you information, it shows you different ways to think, approach, and analyze situations and data.

Although going to college can be very expensive, study after study has shown that the money invested pays off over the course of a lifetime.  Earning power is increased for the average student, wherever they choose to end up working.
Although going to college can be very expensive, study after study has shown that the money invested pays off over the course of a lifetime. Earning power is increased for the average student, wherever they choose to end up working. | Source

3. Besides earnings, other advantages include benefits and pensions, with college graduates consistently doing far better at being in jobs with employer-provided health insurance and pension plans. Mainly because they get higher qualities of job.

That's the value of a college education... I don't know anywhere in the world where you can make an investment and make that kind of return.

— Gaston Caperton
College exam hall.  Examinations are a key part of college life for most students. One of the key things that employers like is that students have been assessed for their aptitude regarding specific skill sets and range of knowledge.
College exam hall. Examinations are a key part of college life for most students. One of the key things that employers like is that students have been assessed for their aptitude regarding specific skill sets and range of knowledge. | Source

4. There is often no substitute for the expertise that the educational experience can give graduates in certain fields. As well as the qualifications, graduates often get direct contact with some of the great minds who work in the area of specialist knowledge that they are interested in. We expect our doctors, architects, lawyers to be college graduates and we wouldn't trust them if they weren't.

Really, the potential for, first of all, any college graduate today is enormously good. These are good times for anyone with a college degree today, particularly African Americans. With a college degree today, you really breach the unemployment rate.

— Alexis Herman

Benefits of College Education

5. Other advantages include the opportunity for students to develop social skills and fraternize with new and like-minded people. These can turn out to be invaluable skills to have later in life, especially with regard to employment. These skills are more easily picked up in an academic atmosphere.

A college degree is the key to realizing the American dream, well worth the financial sacrifice because it is supposed to open the door to a world of opportunity.

— Dan Rather

6. Some of the skills learned at college, such as how to research a topic thoroughly, write detailed essays and reports, and engage in vibrant discussions can also be invaluable in later life. Even if the graduate goes on to work in a field that is unrelated to their college subject area, skills like this are transferable and extremely useful.

The Benefits of College

7. On average, studies show that graduates achieve greater job satisfaction than those with only a high school education, essentially because they obtain the more interesting and engaging jobs. They also often have greater choices over employment, so can pick an occupation that interests them.

Education is the key to the future: You've heard it a million times, and it's not wrong. Educated people have higher wages and lower unemployment rates, and better-educated countries grow faster and innovate more than other countries. But going to college is not enough. You also have to study the right subjects.

— Alex Tabarrok

8. Many careers allow those who are college educated to leapfrog into at a higher rank or position when they begin their chosen profession after graduating. This often means that graduates start straightaway to get higher earnings, status, job satisfaction, and avoid some of the drudge jobs.

Princeton University, one of the most reputable universities in the United States of America, and indeed, the world.  Other notable institutions include Harvard, Yale, and the University of Oxford.
Princeton University, one of the most reputable universities in the United States of America, and indeed, the world. Other notable institutions include Harvard, Yale, and the University of Oxford. | Source

9. As well as benefits for individuals, there are many benefits for society generally when it comes to people receiving a college education. Graduates are far less likely to end up living in poverty or end up on public assistance programs. Plus they contribute more to the overall tax revenue.

Our youth deserve the opportunity to complete their high school and college education, free of early parenthood. Their future children deserve the opportunity to grow up in financially and emotionally stable homes. Our communities benefit from healthy, productive, well-prepared young people.

— Jane Fonda
Studies have shown that college-educated people tend to have healthier lives and suffer fewer health related problems.  Educated people, believe it or not, have also generally found to be happier than other sections of society.
Studies have shown that college-educated people tend to have healthier lives and suffer fewer health related problems. Educated people, believe it or not, have also generally found to be happier than other sections of society. | Source

10. Other social advantages of education, that are sometimes overlooked, are in areas like health. College graduates have been shown to be much less likely to smoke than their high school educated equivalents and they are far less likely to be overweight or obese.

College education benefits: Graduation student.  Besides anything else, college graduation gives most people a sense of achievement, after the challenges of study and evaluation.
College education benefits: Graduation student. Besides anything else, college graduation gives most people a sense of achievement, after the challenges of study and evaluation. | Source

Life is the most exciting opportunity we have. But we have one shot. You graduate from college once, and that's it. You're going out of that nest. And you have to find that courage that's deep, deep, deep in there. Every step of the way.

— Andrew Shue

Top 10 Most Reputable Universities in the World

According to Forbes the top 10 most reputable universities in the world are:

No. 1 Harvard University USA

No. 2 Massachusetts Institute of Technology USA

No. 3 University of Cambridge UK

No. 4 Stanford University USA

No. 5 University of California, Berkeley USA

No. 6 University of Oxford UK

No. 7 Princeton University USA

No. 8 University of Tokyo Japan

No. 9 University of California, Los Angeles USA

No. 10 Yale University USA

© 2013 Paul Goodman

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