With the rising cost of getting a college education the question of whether or not going to college is worth it is still hotly debated. And one that I believe no one can give you the answer to. Rather, deciding what is best for you is an individual decision. There are compelling arguments on both sides of this topic and knowing what’s best for yourself can be a daunting question to answer and one I have given a great deal of thought to.
A few years back, I started in the mortgage industry as a loan officer. I worked for a guy named Brian that had a lot of thoughts on the subject of whether or not to go to school. His father told him that if he did not go to school and become a doctor, dentist or an attorney that he would not be successful and make any money. He started school and had taken the necessary test to get into dental school and not only passed, but did very well. However, he was not happy and did not want to be a dentist. Needing to make money he took a job doing cold calling for a mortgage firm and fell in love with the industry. He went on to do quite well and when I worked for him, he was very successful and made a lot of money and he did it on his own– learning from the real world.
This story has always stayed in the back of my mind. Brian had the grades, test scores and means to get into college and he decided to throw that away and try the world out for himself. I never had the same opportunities that he had. I had to face the world on my own and try to make something happen and did not think when I was younger that college was an option for me. What did I want to do and how to get there? In the book “Bound-for-career Guidebook : A Student Guide to Career Exploration, Decision Making, and the Job Search” by Frank Burtnett, he shares his ten thoughts to help guide the people the process of finding their career path. Number three on his list is “Seek to learn as much about yourself, your environment and the world of work as you can.” I am not sure that by giving up his chance at school that Brian was able to find out about himself and what he would not only be good at but world love doing. To some degree I took the same path as Brian in that I found a job as a loan officer that I did well in and enjoyed, but I never took the time to find out if that is best option for me. In the end, it did not matter for Brian or me if mortgage was the place for us because the housing market crashed and the mortgage industry changed and the good old days were gone and I was left wondering what to do next.
Once again I found myself asking the question of: “What is better for me–going to school or real life experience?” This time I had over 10 years of real world experience with a lot of success that led me back to starting over and with the economy the way it is I am not the only person that is finding themselves back at the beginning looking for a new opportunity in a very competitive job market. In an article posted on the California College San Diego blog from this past March they address this exact issue of which is better and the conclusion the article came to was this “The corporate landscape is getting more and more competitive. Employers are interested in acquiring talented candidates with demonstrated ability, and they look for a complete package. That’s why someone who has solid educational credentials as well as real-world experience stands a better chance of making the cut.”
I could give you all kinds of statistics about getting a college education and could even show you the math that college graduates make more money on average than those how do not but it all comes down to this: What is the best decision for you?
For me, the best decision was to go to college and I have not looked back since. I know it was the right choice for me. My question for you is: what is the right choice for you?
Bound-for-career Guidebook : A Student Guide to Career Exploration, Decision Making, and the Job Search by Frank Burtnett, 2010
The Great Debate – Education vs. Experience, Posted on March 2, 2011, California College San Diego Blog, http://www.cc-sd.edu/blog/the-great-debate-education-vs-experience