According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 66 percent of the nation’s 2012 high school graduates enrolled in colleges or universities. So what happened to the other 34 percent? And why is it so important to continue education after high school anyway?
The amount of education your student receives affects their future potential earnings and lifestyle. Let’s take a look at the national annual earnings averages* based on levels of education:
- If your student does not complete high school, they can expect to earn about $20,000 a year.
- By graduating from high school, your student can add $10,000 more a year to their salary.
- If your student graduates from a two-year college program or from a vocational school? Your student can earn another $10,000 year.
- Graduate from a university with a bachelor’s degree, and your student’s salary increases to nearly $60,000 a year.
Having a college degree gives your student more freedom to direct their life and find work that they will enjoy. According to the College Board’s 2010 Education Pays report, people with a higher level of education have greater job satisfaction than people who only have a high school diploma. In addition, studies show that people with college degrees:
- Have high self-esteem. Earning a college degree takes dedication and hard work. It is something that no one can ever take away from your student. Knowing that your student has what it takes to start something and finish it successfully is priceless.
- Are healthy. College graduates tend to have better physical health and greater life expectancy than those who don’t go to college. Your student is less likely to smoke and more likely to exercise. Higher education can give your student the ability and desire to make healthier choices.
- Create a lasting legacy. Your student’s college degree doesn’t just have positive benefits for them, it can also affect the potential success of their future family.
Your student has decided to pursue higher education for many different reasons. Has your student thought about personal reasons for wanting to go to college? Does your student want to become a well-rounded thinker? Does your student want to connect with others and learn how to make a difference in society? Does your student want to prepare for their future career?
Understanding why your student wants to go to college is an important step in their college preparation. Not only will it help your student select a major and career path that is right for them, it will help your student gain a deeper understanding of what they want for the future.
Your student’s decision to go to college is likely based on a combination of reasons -- and those reasons may shift and change over the next four years of high school. That’s okay. Thinking about what your student hopes to gain from a college experience now will help your student become more self-aware and reach their full potential later.
- Intellectual growth
- Personal growth
- Social growth
- Career preparation