Dioslyn Oliva | Staff Writer
Following the pandemic, there’s an alarming decrease in college enrollment from graduating high schoolers. To any recent high school grad reading, I encourage you to still consider enrolling in college as the benefits of pursuing a higher education outdo the drawbacks.
Undergraduate college enrollment dropped 8% from 2019 to 2022, which is the steepest drop in college enrollment from 2018 according to the United States Bureau of Labor. Understandably, the threat of outrageous amounts of student debt and the prioritization of employment after graduating are valid reasons for not those not interested in pursuing higher education.
However, these reasons don’t account for how a college degree serves a student’s interest in the long run.
Considering the necessity of employment to sustain a living, college graduates make more than those who only carry a high school diploma. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has noted that those who hold higher levels of education typically earn more and have lesser rates of unemployment compared to those with lower education.
Those with a bachelor’s degree earn about $2.8 million throughout their careers compared to the earnings of $1.6 million for high school graduates. Apart from this, college graduates obtain 57% more job opportunities.
Students who’re interested in specialized careers such as technology, education and health — the three fastest-growing fields — benefit a lot from attending college. It’s only here that you’ll be gaining the needed experiences and resources to thrive within these fields.
For instance, FIU offers students extensive career services and research opportunities like the Medina Aquarious Program for marine science students.
Students being part of the college ecosystem are able to grow personally and professionally. Students have access to various clubs and organizations like Alpha Kappa Psi, a career-oriented fraternity that gives them the ability to meet other like-minded individuals and enjoy their time in college.
Apart from this, students benefit from interactions with professors both in and outside of class or professionals in their fields of interest that’ll assist their growth educationally.
Working for PantherNOW helped me develop my writing skills and I’ve also been able to gain work experience through my job on campus. Apart from this, I’ve participated in a fly-in program to Washington D.C. where I was exposed to networking opportunities. As a public policy student, these experiences are helping me explore the various possibilities of a career in public service post-graduation.
Considering the recent headlines regarding student loans, I get why students believe that college brings on debt. But I can assure you of various ways to obtain higher education without piling debt.
For instance, there are various sorts of financial aid from grants, to loans as well as scholarships. An estimated $100 million in scholarship money goes unawarded each year mostly due to the lack of applicants.
If you’re pursuing a part-time job, employers like Starbucks and Target assist employees with tuition assistance. It’s important to look into the benefits every company offers students.
Students can also minimize costs by attending a 2-year community college and later transferring to a 4-year institution. If holding a steady income after high school is a priority, they are able to work a part-time job on or around their college campus.
College is one of those memorable moments in your life where you’ll meet new people and encounter experiences that you’ll hold on to for the rest of your life. I recommend recent high school grads not steer away from such an important experience.
The opinions presented on this page do not represent the views of the PantherNOW Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community.