Is it important to have a college degree in today's world?

Learn about the importance of a college degree in today's world.
Submitted by Mehak Aggarwal, on December 25, 2022

For years now, we have heard that a college degree works as a gold ticket to accomplishing your dreams of a good-paying job, a comfortable lifestyle, and high earnings. But with the times changing, the question of the importance of a college degree has arisen in the minds of many. Some of the most successful people in the world like Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, and Steve Jobs have reached great heights in their life without getting a college degree. So what is the true importance of a college degree?

Post the Covid 19 outbreak, with the fight over labor, and the beginning of ‘The Great Resignation' era, employers are becoming increasingly aware of the need to think of the best ways to attract and retain employees, while also considering their perquisites for successful hires. Before that, companies used college degrees as the authority for job capabilities and career readiness. But this plan had to gradually change post the pandemic. There are a few leading companies like Google, Netflix, Apple, and Tesla among others have set a new trend that other companies are starting to follow. These big organizations have decided to focus on the skills and talents of an employee over having a college degree.

So the question is, it is really worth spending all that company on a college education? What is the importance of having a college degree in today's time?

There are two answers to this question. Two different perspectives. There is no right or wrong, instead, it depends from person to person. To understand this better, let's look at it from both perspectives.

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POV 1- Yes, having a college degree is extremely important to progress in life

College does not just mean getting a degree and further education. Instead, college is also an experience where you learn new things about yourself and others. It is also where you face different battles and learn from them. That's not all, college also teaches you so many things pertaining to the real world that go beyond textbooks and education.

It helps you analyze different people from all walks of life and culture, with different mentalities and upbringings, and you learn to adapt to them and the situations that arise. You get to be around a group of different professors, explore multiple clubs where your interests lie, and better understand your strengths and make something out of them in the future.

College also provides the opportunity for people to move to a different city where they could experience hostel life. Being away from home (especially if it is your first time) enables you to be self-sufficient and independent. You learn so much emotionally, mentally, and financially, which could have a huge positive impact on the quality of your life.

College life not only helps you develop personally but also professionally. From job summits, field projects, career counseling, and ongoing competition, the college provides you with multiple opportunities to expand your professional network. The connections you make during your college life help you explore diverse skills, and could even lead you to your prospective employers.

One can never get too many degrees, but with an additional college degree, the chances of getting a very good job increase drastically, and could also help you with job security. 3-4 years of college life is a commitment in itself where you learn about the outside world from a different perspective. This commitment could also do wonders with the prospective employer because it demonstrates the candidate's hard work and dedication, which the employer could be looking for.

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POV 2- No, your experiences matter but the college degrees, not as much

Post the Pandemic, the way we look at college education has changed. With the introduction of remote and hybrid learning, the importance of having a college education has significantly dropped. Classes have been moved online, and the full college experience is decreasing day by day. Many students have been downgraded to their homes or dorm rooms, where they majorly teach themselves. Questions have begun to arise about whether it is a good idea to spend the same amount of money on the fee that you would spend if you were getting the old in-person college experience.

It is not certain if college degrees guarantee high-paying or steady jobs. So many people with college degrees have been laid off from work during the pandemic, and have continued to be unemployed. As mentioned earlier, nowadays many big tech companies have ditched college degrees and it is not mandatory for the candidate to be a college graduate.

The world has progressed so much, that with the amount of information available on the internet, colleges fail to teach students many important skills that are extremely crucial for them to know in today's world. Some of the most important skills that are not taught by colleges are data analytic skills, networking skills, and digital skills. Without the true college experience, creativity ends up getting limited, and it could also result in you lagging behind your peers who are more adapted to the new-age concepts.

The on-field experience could give a boost to your career in today's time while getting the necessary education from online courses. Internships are also a great way to learn about the real world and what is required in the career field you are interested in.

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Final thoughts

While a college degree has its own set of pros and cons, what is most important is to understand what makes sense for your chosen career path. Times have changed, and a college degree is not the golden ticket to your sure-shot dream career anymore. Many students skip college education and work as freelancers or start their own start-ups.

The world is always looking for talented and skilled people, and it is important for you to focus on perfecting the skills based on your passion. Keep up with the changing trends and concepts in the rapidly changing industries. Whether you're interested in getting a higher education or if it's something that you've grown up seeing in your family, all these factors can contribute to deciding what is best for you and your future. Weigh your pros and cons properly, and make a decision based on what would benefit most to you most now, and in the future.

Some questions to ask yourself to decide what’s best for you

  1. What is your ultimate career goal?
  2. Do you want to go to college to pursue higher education abroad?
  3. Is your prospective employer or the company you're interested in looking for people with a college degree?
  4. Do you want to go to college because you want to, or it is because society expects you to?
  5. If you feel you have a limited time to get a college degree and that is why you need to do it, have you considered going to a career counselor?
  6. Have you started working or started your own firm? Do you wish to continue that or stop to get a degree?
  7. If you're not sure what's your best career move, have you thought of taking a gap year to experience the on-field training?
  8. Have you weighted out a suitable college and the kind of fee structure it would require?
  9. Could your profession be practiced with some training, certificate, or online courses?
  10. Have you gotten any scholarships from the college of your choice which could benefit you in the future?
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