Going to college requires a great deal of sacrifice in time, work, and finances. Is it worth it? I believe a college education is a good investment for anyone who has the aptitude and commitment. Here’s why:
Career Preparation. This reason for a college degree continues to receive more and more attention in our society. In fact, some people believe it is the only real reason for going to college. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the median wage for young adults with a bachelor’s degree is 64% higher than those with only a high school diploma. While there are certainly exceptions to this, it does suggest that a college education goes a long way to help individuals financially.
Apart from financial potential, a college also provides access to a well-designed educational program, quality teachers and mentors, and an atmosphere of intellectual pursuit. These elements help prepare students to excel in their chosen career.
Joining the Conversation. College has never been all about getting a job. In the liberal arts tradition especially, it is also about learning to think, the exposure to new ideas, challenges to poor preconceptions, and learning about our world and others who live in it with us. It is about joining the conversation of the best thinkers and practitioners in a variety of subjects which has been going on for thousands of years. Christian higher education goes further and spotlights the faith aspect of the conversation.
Character and Maturity. Education is transformational. Graduates leave college different people from when they entered. Some of this is simply the result of the formative years in which college is often attended, but it goes beyond that. Knowledge and the cultivation of the mind changes us. The apostle Paul speaks to this in a faith-forming way when he says, “…be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Ro 12:2).
Let me also say that the environment in which this happens is vitally important. One’s education can transform one into a morally corrupt, self-seeking, proud individual. College experiences can ruin lives. On the other hand, one’s education can be a tool for God to transform an individual into a loving, faith-filled, servant of Christ who is equipped to serve the Church and the world. This is part of why I believe in Christian higher education.
Lifelong Connections and Friends. Bare-bones information can be gleaned from books alone for those who are dedicated to pursuing it. What is missed, however, is the encouragement, challenging thought, and wisdom of professors who have thought long and deeply about the subjects they teach. It misses the comradery of fellow students that goes beyond the classroom into living and experiencing life together in community. The experiences, mentors, and friends gained in college last throughout life and into the one to come.
If you are exploring Christian colleges, consider Biblical Life Institute for an intimate Christian community that offers challenging academics, practical ministry experience, and an environment of devotional holiness.