51 Reasons to Consider Going or Going Back to College

While the NHF looks to support pre-college endeavors, its main focus is helping housing residents, through its celebrated Scholarship Program, to prepare and pay for college (either for the first time or to reenter). Below you’ll find 51 good reasons to attend college, but we think that number 22 is the best one—you’ll get to be yourself while meeting all kinds of people from all walks of life. In college, all that matters is your desire to learn and your ability to learn, not who you are, what you are, or from where you come. It’s all about learning, achieving, and succeeding.

Courtesy of CollegeTransfer.Net (where you can go to learn more about attending college), here are 51 reasons to consider going or going back to college.  Thinking about finishing your degree?  Or are you considering a new college degree possibly?  Don't forget, if you have prior coursework and academic credit already completed, you can get a jump start satisfying degree requirements. Read more about the steps to request college credit for prior learning.

  1. Be more qualified: Many jobs require specialized skills, knowledge and practical training that only a college degree and program can provide. Granted not all jobs require a college degree, but many employers look for the most qualified - and having a college degree often puts you in a better position than not. A college degree demonstrates you have what it takes to finish what you start.
  2. Make more money: It is a common cliché that College graduates make more than those who only complete high school or their GED equivalent. That means, over a life-time of earnings, college graduates on average earn more than a million more than their high school counterparts. That is a pretty significant chunk of change. Don't believe it? Well, check out this article on employment opportunities and wages related to level of education then. We have to think of college as an investment - costing X today with Y payback over Z years. Do the math. If it costs $100K to finish your degree over two more years and you could earn $1M over the next twenty years with the college degree behind you, that would result in adding $50K to your W2 per year on average. Plug in the real numbers.
  3. Demonstrate success: Employers are expecting more education because jobs are more sophisticated due in part to complexity and specialization. Finishing your degree may offer you a $10K annual increase in salary because you can demonstrate how you handle multi-tasking. If your employer pays for all or part of the coursework and fees to finish, it is even better. It is like a raise that continues to pay you down the road. Check out the ten ways to reduce the cost of finishing college.
  4. Gain a competitive edge: As more and more people expand their education, the competition for high paying, stable jobs will increase. Experience combined with education helps demonstrate motivation and drive to succeed, another quality employers seek out.
  5. Meet higher expectations: Parents, family and friends expect us to do better. Finish college and show them you have what it takes to succeed. If not for them, do it for yourself.
  6. Switch fields: Lifelong jobs are a thing of the past. Many industries and jobs have been disrupted by outsourcing, global competition and economies of scale. Explore the implications of changing professions and your career path.
  7. Secure your future: People with higher levels of education tend to have better job security, so stay ahead of the unemployment curve and finish your degree. A credential earned stays with you for life.
  8. A better lifestyle: your degree can help you get beyond the job ceiling holding you back, and it will give you independence from the status quo.
  9. Confidence builder: College level courses and experiences help build exposure too many topics, thinkers and doers. It is a great confidence boost to complete the checklist of requirements.
  10. Improve your social network: College gives you a credential, a club so to speak, where you can network in person or virtually.
  11. Improve your discipline: It takes great discipline to study and excel in college. People who graduate from college learn to overcome procrastination. They demonstrate discipline to stay the course and get through obstacles.
  12. Improve your business network: College is not just what you learn in the classroom, study groups or internships. Networking and meeting people is a big part of any school.
  13. Learn from experts: in your field. Professors are hired because they’re at the top of their area of expertise. They have a vast array of experience and firsthand knowledge gained through study or past prior experiences.
  14. Learn to organize thoughts clearly: College influences the way we think. It teaches us how to categorize things and orient our effort with analytic pursuits. It also helps us learn how to express what we have learned.
  15. Gain exposure to a wide array of topics: You get to meet people from all over the world, share cultural values, history, current progress and goals. We learn to appreciate others better when we meet them face to face.
  16. Test your commitment and perseverance: Finishing college is not an easy task, and it will test your commitment of purpose and perseverance. One reason why people with a college degree gain respect is because the process of getting in, working through all the courses, requirements and expectations demonstrates an ability to not buckle under pressure.
  17. Start a tradition In your family: First generation college graduates are special, as they are forming a new pathway for the rest of the family and start a tradition.
  18. Find your direction: College gives you exposure to subjects, people, history, theory and experiences. Many don’t know the direction they seek when they enroll to college, but find many areas of interest to explore. College will help you find your own direction and interest, even if it is accidental.
  19. Build on a concentration: Picking a major is not the end all. Concentration is just one part of college as you focus more effort on one subject area. The important thing is that you learn more about yourself and your interests as you master a concentration. Finding your way is more about self-discovery and discovering your strengths and weaknesses than about picking one path.
  20. Find others like you: There are so many options from which to choose: big schools, public schools, private schools, international schools and small schools. Colleges are varied and serve different populations of students.
  21. Take classes at home or work or anywhere: If you go the online route, you can essentially have the capability to study anywhere and have a flexible schedule.
  22. Be yourself: You will meet people of all shapes, sizes, types and differences. As long as you are respectful of others and contribute positively to the class, people will respect you.
  23. Use the clock: You can make your own schedule. If you are a morning person, take early classes. If you are a night owl, take late afternoon or evening classes.
  24. Long weekends are yours: Learn the art of scheduling classes by the days you want to go to school. You can schedule all your classes on three days leaving the rest of the week open, or you can spread out your classes and give yourself Friday or Monday off.
  25. Access the Library System: Having time to explore the Library and getting lost in material for hours is one way to gain exposure to subjects while relaxing. College Libraries are connected and allow you access to an unbelievable amount of special content, archives and history.
  26. Internet Included: A blazing internet connection from anywhere on campus connects you to the world.
  27. Get healthy at the school gym: Most college campuses have gyms and athletic facilities that you can use for free.
  28. Join some teams: You may not be varsity material, but that does not mean you can’t play a sport. Join a team and keep active.
  29. Go Greek: If it’s your thing, get involved in a fraternity or sorority of your choice. They aren’t all about partying and hazing. Most are dedicated to academia, social service and charity work.
  30. Join organizations: Follow your passion outside of the classroom in local campus organizations.
  31. Take some off-beat electives: Most colleges and universities have a wide variety of courses. Not everything is about general education or major.
  32. Learn ancient languages or religion: There is nothing like learning something that is not around anymore. Where else, but in college can you find courses in ancient languages or religion? Compare the present to the past.
  33. Learn to debate and discuss subjects: With Authority A relevant college degree or not, you will learn to debate subjects and question assumptions. Captivate discussions with logic. Break down problems. Address conversations with what you know, and recognize what you don’t know.
  34. Double major: If you aren't satisfied with a BA in Literature or American History, a parallel major in Marketing can help you sell your resume.
  35. What to do after Retirement: Why not go back to college and major in something that really interests you now? You are never too old to learn.
  36. Continued support via Alumni Programs: Get involved in the Alumni Programs while on campus and after you graduate. It is a great way to give back and stay connected to your school network. Meet new students and help them get acclimated to the program.
  37. Link via Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn: Social media is cheaper than an Alumni Association, and it keeps your college network together as it grows.
  38. It’s not as expensive as you think: Not every college charges Ivy League tuition and fees. Many discount. Public colleges are very reasonable (given state subsidies), and can offer a better value than private institutions. Federal Aid, like PELL, has increased to allow you to cover costs over more semesters. Even if you do attend a private college, need-based grants, merit scholarships, transfer scholarships and loans abound if you’re willing to do a little paperwork and hunting.
  39. Find a new place to live closer to Campus: Need an excuse to move? Is the commute too much? Get an apartment or living quarters near campus. Cut down on commuting. Go Green. Walk or ride your bike.
  40. Reinvent yourself: Shed your old skin. Do a makeover. Take a new approach and outlook with you to campus.
  41. Create lasting memories: Be it through academic achievements or group study, you won’t forget the time spent meeting and working with all types of people while under pressure and with wide-ranging outcomes.
  42. Put aside your routine: Ignore responsibilities for a few hours a day. Focus on you. College is a magical time to learn and gain exposure to things you never learned or had time to study.
  43. Computer resource center: Most colleges have great computer labs and resource centers where you can access desktops and laptops. If you don’t have a computer, schools offer access across Campus with software already installed.
  44. Learn to study and work on your own: Study is a matter of focus. Learn to work on your own and apply your efforts to build competencies in time management and concentration.
  45. Learn to work with others: Teamwork is an important part of life. Learn to work with others and challenge your assumptions. Group study, projects and dependencies are often woven into classroom assignments. Learn to overcome the challenges of getting others to follow your lead.
  46. Visit with professors: Some of the smartest and most passionate people on this earth are Professors. Some are radical thinkers not confined by pressure to fit in. They have experiences they love to share. Meet with Professors outside of class. Get to know them. College is not just a set of classroom experiences.
  47. Find a mentor or advisors: Professors and Counselors are interested in helping you excel.
  48. Get some spirit - attend a basketball or football game: School spirit is a socialized connection to people who you have something in common with. Even if you are attending weekend or evening school, get involved in the school and attend a game or two. It will inspire you and make you feel more a part of the campus setting.
  49. Theater, Movies, Bands, Entertainment: College is not all about learning in the classroom. You pay an activity fee for this, so take full advantage of it. The activities on-campus and off can be enriching and life changing. Explore the many opportunities they activities have to offer you.
  50. Visit unique museums: Many colleges also have museums and archives. If you love history, take a stroll through the archives of your potential college and gain insights often lost over time. You know the saying, history repeats itself. Well, take a lesson here and learn to appreciate what others have accomplished or experienced before you.
  51. Guest visitors, lectures and speakers: From political events to guest speakers, colleges have some of the greatest people coming to campus and engaging the community. Gain exposure to people who have challenged the status quo.