Why go to College?

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1 Why go to College? Whether you are uncertain about going to college or you just need some reassurance you're on the right track, here are a few reasons to go to college: Every bit of education you get after high school increases the chances you'll earn good pay. Most college graduates earn more money during their working years than people who stop their education at high school earn. The more education you get the more likely it is you will always have a job. According to one estimate, by the year 2028 there will be 19 million more jobs for educated workers than there are qualified people to fill them. Continuing education after high school is much more important for your generation than it was for your parents' generation. Today most good jobs require more than a high school diploma. Businesses want to hire people who know how to think and solve problems. Education beyond high school gives you a lot of other benefits, including meeting new people, taking part in new opportunities to explore your interests, and experiencing success. Consider these statistics: The average four-year college education at a public university in Texas (in-state tuition and fees) costs about $19,434 less than the average price of a new car. The annual income for a person with a bachelor s degree is nearly twice that of someone with only a high school diploma. You ll get more mileage out of a college education than you will from a car, and a four-year education will likely enable you to buy a car or two and many other things in your lifetime. In making the decision of whether and where to attend college, you and your parents should consider those four years as a lifetime investment, not just as annual expenses for job training. FACTOID A college education can challenge you to explore and broaden your interests, attain your goals and meet some of the best friends you'll ever have. Why go to college? Starting a new chapter Many high school students look forward to putting high school behind them and moving on with their lives. At college, you ll explore and broaden your interests, pursue your goals, meet lifelong friends and define yourself in ways you can only imagine now. This website will guide you through the sometimes confusing process of selecting a college so that you can concentrate on starting a new chapter of your life.

2 The big payback The competitive advantage is yours if you choose to graduate from college. Experts who have researched the performance and job success of college graduates have concluded that, nationwide, college graduates with a bachelor s degree earn 74 percent more per year than those who only complete high school. In fact, those whose education stops with a high school diploma may see their real wages decline over time. The big picture Right now, it s probably tough to imagine where you ll be in a year or two, much less 10, 20, 30 or 40 years down the road. Where do you expect to be, and what do you want out of life? By attending college immediately after high school, you get a head start on answering those important questions. But you don t have to sign a four-year contract, and you don t even have to decide immediately on a major area of study. College is a time to test yourself and to see what you can achieve. Academic advisors and professors are accessible on campus, and tutoring and other forms of academic support are available. At most universities, a counseling staff is available to help see you through tough times. You ll be able to pursue your own interests through extracurricular activities and perhaps discover a career direction you ve never considered or a talent that s been waiting to blossom. College gives you the chance to say yes to you. Which college is best? Two key words are missing in that question. It should read, Which college is best for you? Your choices depend on your interests, career goals and academic record. Talk to your high school counselor about your options and attend College Night at school. Most Texas high school seniors are allowed a certain number of days to visit college campuses. You may discover that you prefer the intimacy of a smaller campus or the setting of a community or church affiliated college. On the other hand, you may be ready for the swirling activity and myriad opportunities of a large university. The only way to find out is to visit.

3 U.S. Mean Annual Earnings by Education Education Annual Income No High School $28,881 High School $37,303 Some College $42,868 Bachelor's Degree $66,445

4 Are you better off going to college? A high school graduate is confronted with the choice of accepting a job or entering a four-year college program. Is the student better off going to college? Because college graduates can expect to earn a salary almost double that of high school graduates, the student is much better off going to college. The difference in salary earned compounds over a lifetime. Work life Earnings Education Earnings (in millions of dollars) Professional Degree $4.4 Doctorate $3.4 Master's Degree $2.5 Bachelor's Degree $2.1 Associate Degree $1.6 High School Diploma $1.2 Less than High School Diploma $1.0 Earnings for full-time, year-round workers by educational attainment for work life of approximately 40 years. Source: U.S. Census Bureau.

5 STUDENTS MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT PREPARING FOR AND ATTENDING COLLEGE An excerpt from Betraying the College Dream, Andrea Venezia, Michael W. Kirst and Anthony L. Antonio 1. I can t afford college. Students and parents regularly overestimate the cost of college. 2. I have to be a stellar athlete or student to get financial aid. Most students receive some form of financial aid. 3. Meeting high school graduation requirements will prepare me for college. Adequate preparation for college usually requires a more demanding curriculum than is reflected in minimum requirements for high school graduation, sometimes even if that curriculum is termed college prep. 4. Getting into college is the hardest part. For the majority of students, the hardest part is completing college. 5. Community colleges don t have academic standards. Students usually must take placement tests at community colleges in order to qualify for college-level work. 6. It s better to take easier classes in high school and get better grades. One of the best predictors of college success is taking rigorous high school classes. Getting good grades in lower-level classes will not prepare students for college-level work. 7. My senior year in high school doesn t matter. The classes students take in their senior year will often determine the classes they are able to take in college and how well-prepared they are for those classes. 8. I don t have to worry about my grades, or the kind of classes I take, until my sophomore year. Many colleges look at sophomore year grades, and, in order to enroll in college-level courses, students need to prepare well for college. This means taking a well-thought out series of courses starting no later than 9 th or 10 th grade. 9. I can t start thinking about financial aid until I know where I m going to college. Students need to file a federal aid form prior to when most college send out their acceptance letters. This applies to students who attend community colleges too, even though they can apply and enroll in the fall of the year they wish to attend. 10. I can take whatever classes I want when I get to college. Most colleges and universities require entering students to take placement exams in core subject areas. Those tests will determine the classes students can take. March, 2003 The Bridge Project Headquartered at the Stanford Institute for Higher Education Research,

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