I am a big fan of education. But you don’t have to go to college to learn.
I am NOT a fan of debt.
College is a big decision
A lot of people push you to go to college. They act like there is really no option. Go to college or work for minimum wage for the rest of your life.
But college is a really big decision! It is going to take time. A lot of time.
And it is going to cost money. More money than you think.
Schools will tell you that you can get financial aid to pay for school. But most students don’t receive as much financial aid as they need to fully cover the costs. They have to take on student loans to finance their education. And student loans never go away. Even if you declare bankruptcy, you still owe your student loans until you pay them back.
Owing a student loan may prevent you from buying a home or even the car you want.
You may have to pay higher interest on any money you borrow, since you have higher debt and are considered a greater risk.
Is it worth it?
Is it worth it to YOU? In your current situation? At your current age?
There are a lot of statistics quoted about how college graduates earn so much more. This is not a lie. But, it is not the entire story.
Some jobs require college. But before you choose a college degree and invest the time, energy and money, find out as much as you can about the job. Talk to people employed in this field. Try to get another job that works in the same environment, so you can see whether it is a good fit for you.
Many people start a college degree and cannot finish it. They still have the debt.
And many people finish a degree and then find they really don’t like the job.
They land in another job or even another school, while they are still paying off the first school.
What about an on-line college?
Going to college on-line has advantages. It may be less expensive, but not necessarily.
You may be able to fit it in around your other responsibilities. But, it is still going to take a lot of time. Probably more time than you expect.
You still have to pay for it, even if you don’t finish.
Not everyone can learn from an on-line class.
So! Here is an idea!
Some on-line colleges offer classes that you can audit. That means you can watch the videos and do the assignments without paying for them. You can find out if this is something that will actually work for you.
I am not promoting this. But, if you want to try on-line college Coursera offers courses that last four to ten weeks. They have an hour or two of video lectures a week plus quizzes, weekly exercises, assignments, and sometimes a final project or exam.
“If you only want to read and view the course content, you can audit the course for free.” Coursera
If you find that this is a good fit for you, you haven’t wasted your time. You can pay at the end to use the credits for the work you have done. Only pay for the credits if you want them to actually apply to a degree or certification.
If you want to give this a try, why not learn something that will benefit you in your volunteer work?
Coursera offers a lot of language classes at no charge.
Here is the Chinese for Beginners course offered through Peking University.
Remember! You don’t have to go to college to be successful.
Do not get distracted from what is really important.
Do not allow the college propaganda to influence you to change your goals.