1 Why College ?? Why Not!!

The choice is yours, but consider these good reasons for going to college and earning a degree: 
  • More career opportunities 
  • Greater earning power
  • More knowledge on a variety of subjects that interest and can be helpful to you
  • Improved quality of life
  • Greater ability to help others in your community

Good advice for parents and students from the U.S. Department of Education:
By going to college students:

Get (and keep) a better job. Because the world is changing rapidly, and many jobs rely on new technology, more and more jobs require education beyond high school. With a two- or four-year college education, your child will have more jobs from which to choose. 

Earn more money. On average a person who goes to college earns more than a person who does not. Someone with a two-year associate degree earns more than a high school graduate. In 1995, a man with a college degree earned almost 89 percent more than a man with only a high school diploma, and a woman with a college degree earned almost 73 percent more than a woman with only a high school diploma. 

Get a good start on life. A college education helps your child acquire a wide range of knowledge in many subjects, as well as advanced knowledge in the specific subjects they are most interested in. College also trains students to express thoughts clearly in speech and in writing, to make informed decisions, and to use technology--useful skills on and off the job. 

Students who are not interested in going to a four-year college or university for a bachelor’s degree can benefit from the skills and knowledge that two years of
college provide to compete in today’s job market. These students may want to pursue a technical program in a community, junior, or technical college, which
provides the skills and experience employers look for. Many high schools and some local employers offer career-focused programs called "Tech-prep," "2+2,"
"school-to-work,"or "school-to-career," which are linked to community and technical colleges. These programs coordinate high school course work with course
work at local colleges, and in some cases give students the chance to learn in a real work setting. This way, the high school material better prepares students for
college-level work, and also starts the student on a clear path toward a college degree.

Students interested in technical programs will probably want to take some occupational or technical courses in high school, but they also need to take the "core" courses in English, math, science, history, and geography.

What kinds of jobs can you get with a college education?
One of the major benefits of acquiring a college education is having more jobs to choose from. Parents and students should talk about what kind of work interests the
student, and find out more about the kind of education that specific jobs require. For instance, some jobs require graduate degrees beyond the traditional four-year
degree, such as a medical degree or a law degree. As students mature and learn about different opportunities, they may change their mind several times about the
type of job they want to have. Changing your mind is nothing to worry about--but not planning ahead is. For more information on the educational requirements of
specific jobs, contact a guidance counselor or check the Occupational Outlook Handbook in your library. 

Examples of Jobs Requiring College Preparation
Two-Year College
(Associate's Degree
Computer Technician
Registered Nurse
Dental Hygienist
Medical Technician
Commercial Artist
Hotel Manager
Engineering Technician
Automotive Mechanic
Administrative Assistant
Water Treatment Technician
Refrigeration Technician
Four-Year College
(Bachelor's Degree)
Insurance Agent
Computer Analyst
Bank Manager
Graphic Designer 
More Than Four-Years 
(Graduate Degrees
Agricultural Scientist 
University Professor
Guidance Counselor
Management Consultant

Chart:: Planning and Evaluation Service, U.S. Department of Education
Source: Getting Ready for College Early.  For more information on Why Attend College, also see Preparing Your Child for College and the Planning for College section.

$$$Earning lots of money may not be the most important thing in life, but did you know that the more education you have beyond a high school diploma, the more you can expect to earn?  By getting a college degree, you can earn nearly twice as much in average annual earnings as a high school graduate.  People with graduate degrees (masters’ degrees) earn more than people with bachelor’s degrees, and those who have doctorates and professional degrees can earn over three times as much.  Look at the chart below and see for yourself the economic benefits of going to college. 

 Education Level
 Avg. Ann. Income
Working Years
 Total Income
Less than high school
 $ 16,124
 30 years
 $ 483,720
High school graduate
 $ 22,895
 30 years
 $ 686,850
Associate's Degree
 $ 29,872
 30 years
 $ 896,160
Bachelor's Degree
 $ 40,478
 30 years
 $ 1,214,340
Master's Degree
$ 51,183
30 years
$ 1,535,490
 $ 77,445
 30 years
 $ 2,323,350
Professional Degree
$ 95,148
30 years
$ 2,854,440

*Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census, CPS P20-513, March 1998.

If you think that college is not for you... check this out:

What is YOUR reason??

“I can't afford college”
Neither can many of the students who are going to college today...on their own.  Over half of the students receive some type of financial aid.  You might be eligible, too.  Talk to your guidance counselor and your parents about your plans to go to college.  They can help you find grants, scholarships and loans available for college students.  There are many resources available to you in Rhode Island and at sites on the Internet (that you can click on and get to from here) that can offer you free advice and information on finding the financial aid you need to reach your educational goals.

“No one in my family has gone to college”
……College is more important than ever before for getting a good job.  Not only should you consider it, but you should help your younger brothers and sisters start planning for college too.

“My friends aren't going to college”
……Have they really made up their minds?  Maybe they will change them.  Anyway, you have your own choices to make and they have theirs.  Consider your own plans and dreams and see if you think college is necessary to make them happen.

“I have to go to work after finishing high school”
……You may decide, as many students do, to combine work and school.  Most colleges offer evening and weekend courses so that students can both hold jobs and go to school.  Why not see what is available?

“I want to enter military service”
……You can enter military service and go to college at the same time.  The military will also pay education benefits to veterans who go to college after they leave the service.

“I don't like to study”
……Like most things, studying gets easier with practice.  If you take challenging courses in high school you will get this practice.  Try to stretch yourself by taking the most demanding courses (honors, AP) available to you. If you really like a subject and have a special interest in it, talk to your guidance counselor about taking it, even if other people say it may be too hard for you.  It may spark an interest in other things for you to study.

"Four more years of school?” “No way!"
Why not try it out?  You may be surprised by how interesting college courses can be.  College is not like high school.  You will have many more choices of subjects that you study, and your major, which you choose, will be a subject that especially interests you.

"I’m so confused!.  How can I go to college if I don’t know what I want to do for a career?"
That’s OK.  Many freshmen start college and don’t know the career they want or what subjects they want to study.  And over 50% of the students who begin college with a specific career or major, change their minds.  You will have many opportunities in college to learn about new ideas, subjects, and careers.  Explore the possibilities and see how your horizons grow!

What kinds of post-secondary education exist?

Business, trade, and technical schools
These schools are typically open to all students who can benefit from the programs. The length of study will vary between a few weeks to two or more years. Students usually learn a particular skill or trade and earn a diploma, certificate of completion, or a license following the completion of the program. Some examples of occupations that these schools can provide instruction for are court reporting, hairstyling, computer repair, and secretarial skills.  For a list of proprietary business, trade and technical schools in Rhode Island, click here.

Community and junior colleges
Community and junior colleges award the Associate of Arts and Associate of Science degrees.  These programs usually take the equivalent of two-years of full-time study.  Most of the programs are designed to prepare graduates for careers or technical jobs.  However, many of the courses are designed for students who plan to transfer to four-year colleges to complete bachelor's degrees. Two-year colleges have agreements to allow a smooth transfer to other colleges and universities.  Short term training, certificate programs, and non-credit courses are also frequently offered at these colleges. 

Some students and their parents assume that community colleges are not up to the standards of four-year colleges. This is not the case. Take a look at why.

To see more of the advantages in attending a community or junior college, go here.

An example of a two-year college is the Community College of Rhode Island.

Colleges focus mainly on undergraduate education and award the bachelor's degree in arts and sciences and professional specializations (such as business, education, engineering, nursing).  Colleges may have some graduate programs and award the master's degree.

Take a look at Rhode Island College.

Universities are institutions of higher education that award the bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees, and may award professional degrees (such as law and medicine).  Universities are generally divided into schools or colleges based on the subjects studied (the School of Education or the College of Arts and Sciences).

Want to check out a university?  Try the University of Rhode Island.

Other Sections:
Why College
Thinking Ahead About College 
College Planning
RI Resources
Choosing a College
College Listings
Financial Aid
Sites About Sites
RI Opportunity Programs
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Rhode Island Office of Higher Education
Academic Affairs
301 Promenade Street, Providence, RI 02908-5748
(401) 222-6560

Website Developed in December 1998 by Timothy S. Chace and Phyllis Harnick
Site last updated December 2000