• Irene Hau

The value of college

Irene talks about what college means to her and how it benefits us in the workforce and in a personal sense.


In the wake of the pandemic, the American education system has struggled to retain students with an online learning platform while raising expenditures to run facilities and faculty. In an October edition of Forbes, the decision to delay postsecondary education is observed most heavily with incoming freshmen at a 16.1% decrease, cited from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. Even within the last decade, in absence of COVID-19, the question of whether to pursue a degree has prevailed with the rise of successful college dropouts like Steve Jobs, and more profitable entrepreneurship ventures that promise a path to avoiding years of coursework. While admission into college has its own collection of challenges and a steep cost, attending an institution can promote personal growth, provide connections to future job opportunities, and facilitate the development of career specific skills for a majority of individuals.

The completion of a postsecondary degree at a college grants access to careers with high pay, improved benefits, and opportunities to blend interests with work; however, colleges are often overlooked for their ability to supply a network of alumni & companies who can offer guidance and jobs to students. Although assistance varies from university to university, the namesake of being a student at an established college can give advantages when applying for positions, internships, or simply connecting with owners of business because employers already have a general idea of the applicant. Additionally many schools fund events like career fairs, partnered internships, or alumni banquets supporting students in fields like business, law, or technology where career success is dependent on connections.

On a more personal note, college allows emerging adults to explore their identity and gain a crucial independence. College is a uniquely different experience from just growing up or moving out because, for most, it’s the first time adults are authorized to choose their own path apart from the influence of family. Especially on campus with the mingling of people from various backgrounds, individuals are exposed to diverse beliefs and practices that can have strong impacts on their own character.


During college, as students move from opportunity to opportunity, they acquire a bigger understanding of the world around them and their own purpose in it. Even though college is a daunting period of time for many people, the experiences, resources, and knowledge gained during those years will not only strengthen your professional profile, but fortify your sense of self.