Are my Student Loans worth the Knowledge I’ve obtained at College?
Education period finished, a large student debt, not enough knowledge and experience acquired, the labor market that doesn’t need you, and the problems you didn’t count on. This is a classic story of a student in the United States. Can you see yourself in it?
Is this chaotic situation present everywhere in the world? Are colleges a great scam of the 21st century? Does it make sense to enter into huge student debts only to have a college degree? Do the colleges offer enough knowledge, so you could become a quality worker or start your own business? What is the future of the college education anyway?
These days I’ve devoted my time to the analysis of this interesting area, which marked the lives of many individuals. College itself is not a bad investment, but often leads to imbalance between the expectations of an individual and the outcome. College is not a warranty for a better, happier and richer life, it is just a ticket which gives you a chance to absorb as much quality content as you can. In the end, it’s up to you what you will learn, how much effort you are going to invest, and how your life will look like after all that.
The question I posed in the title ‘Are my student loans worth the knowledge I’ve obtained at college?’ is primarily aimed at those who have completed their college education, and found themselves in debts after that. I have talked with such people these days and got some great information. It is interesting to see how a large portion of people is not satisfied with college education, but they still believe that the knowledge obtained at college will do them some good in life. What happens is, that during college education you get into a kind of depression and become aware of the fact that college is not leading you to where you’ve planned. But it is only a crisis of which should be exceeded as soon as possible.
I want to aim this article in a different direction, ie. destine it to all young people who are considering whether or not to enroll to college. Perhaps, the more appropriate title would be ‘Are my student loans worth the knowledge I will obtain at college?’. Well, let’s put these little things aside now, and focus on the essential, which is a debate over whether the college will give you enough knowledge to help you ensure the life of your dreams. I will try to list the positive and the negative aspects of what college brings and takes away.
Do not kid yourself, to go or not to go to college is a decision that can change your life radically. Not only the present, but what’s more important the future. It is very important to be informed about everything, and to weigh on the basis of the information collected. I hope you’ll join to the discussion, and leave your comment below the article, or on social networks.
College education vs self-education
I can not contradict anyone who says that college provided him a better future. The reason is simple, it is likely that he/she has seized the opportunity offered at college as well as he/she could. What I do not like about the college education is the fact that the professor is focused on a large number of students, in other words, everything is focused on the work in groups. This mode of work often excludes the 1 on 1 communication with the professor, because it is hard to expect that the professor will have enough time to work with each student individually.
In such a defined system, both college and professors offer a variety of great opportunities, but it is left to the individual to take the initiative. Unfortunately, many individuals miss these opportunities because they think someone who is more prepared will take them. But because of such a way thinking many opportunities end up failing.
After all, an important conclusion is that in the end it all depends on the individual and his intentions. Is it not then the self-education a better solution to the problem, because then you can bluntly confront the very heart of the problem?
Do colleges offer knowledge?
Definitely Yes. Colleges are along with the research laboratories the best places for collecting great information. Do not forget that the college professors who teach have a huge number of hours spent in the field they teach about, and therefore an enormous knowledge in the filed.
The knowledge of the professors is definitely not a point we should be doubting in, but some other things are indeed doubtful:
- how well can the professors convey their knowledge to students
- how much time can they devote to 1 on 1 consultations with students
- are they motivated enough (both professors and students)
- how well equipped are the colleges when talking about the necessary equipment
- what’s in the forefront, practical lessons or just mere learning from an infinite number of books
A mere theory learning, has never helped anyone to build a successful business. What is crucial for the achievement of the goals is the physical work, and every moment invested in the work on a real project.
The theory is only the foundation on which you build everything else. Truth is, foundation is important, but it is not worth investing all our time in it, and neglecting what is being built on the foundation. Frankly, we live and enjoy in what is done above the ground and not in the ground itself.
My answer to the question I have posed at the beginning of this section would be the following: the college gives as much knowledge as you’re ready to dig deep for. A student can’t simply appear in college, attend several lectures and then start living a wonderful life, of his dreams. Indeed, if an individual wants to become successful he/ she must work hard outside the college. He/she must explore, experiment, make mistakes, ask for help, compensate the mistakes made, and so on.
When something goes wrong, there is the knowledge of experts who have been teaching for years. The key question is, are these experts (I’m talking about the professors) ready to meet the needs of an individual, and can college be defined as a private coaching service. If professors are taking your comments and suggestions into account, it is a sign that you are on the right college and that you will prosper from it – but only if you work hard outside of the lectures schedule.
Why is self-education great?
Thanks to the clever scientists, we today have a virtual world we could have only dreamed of 30 years ago. We have interent at our disposal, which is smarter than any professor in the world, because there are so many useful and high-quality data we can obtain through it. The key problem that can occur in self-education is the accuracy of the focus on the quality and useful things.
In this sea of information, it is easy to lose the compass, and stray in a completely wrong direction. But on the other hand there are several big advantages, including the ability to look into a concrete problem that’s bothering us.
It is not a sin not to know something, but it is a sin not to seek for a solution in one of the Internet’s search engines (eg. Goolge, Yahoo, Bing, etc.). Today we can no longer use the excuse that some information can not be found anywhere, so we don’t now it, because everything we ever wanted to know stands written somewhere on the Internet. Of course, this category does not include some ultra advanced stuff, which scientists and world renowned researchers deal with.
Some of the advantages of the self-education are:
- you get to choose when, where and how much you will study(it can be a problem if you don’t have enough motivation)
- you learn what you need in a determined situation
- you focus merely on solving the current problem
- when you’re not passive, but you’re actively searching for information, you tend to remember things more easily
- you don’t study for the diploma but for knowledge
With self-education you don’t have to follow the pace of the others, but you learn and make progress independently as it fits you. I remember once in college, when part of a group asked the professor to explain something once again, so I then wasted my time listening to something once again, even though I have already figured it out the first time. Time is our most valuable resource and it is a shame to waste it just because a group of people around you can not live up to your capacity.
Problems you want to avoid
If you choose college, you must be aware of he fact that you will sometimes have to study things you’re not interested in. College education is conceived in a way that it tries to give you a whole framework of knowledge, so you could manage the area you’re interested in better. That framework of knowledge very often touches upon all kinds of things and it doesn’t simply focus on your current problems. On the other hand, self-education gives you the opportunity to study and investigate what you need at that specific time, and what you want to occupy your life with.
#2 You don’t want to be depressed and down-hearted
You can start feeling depressed due to numerous reasons, and the cause can be college but self-eduction as well.
As for the college, the system is established so that it extends over several years, and in those years you will certainly start thinking how you’re going in the wrong direction and how all of this makes no sense at some point. So when add up all the deadlines within which you have to deliver seminars or pass an exams, to it, it is easy to start feeling depressed.
As for self-education, things won’t go smoothly here either. If you are in the role of a researcher and a professor, but you’ re at the same time a student who wants to learn something, then this is a complicated situation. It may occur a problem that you just won’t be able to find a solution for, and there will then turn up a question of how to proceed, and whether it makes sense to work alone. In any case, know that these are just temporarily stages, and there is no problem in the world that can’t be solved. Sooner or later every problem finds its solution, but sometimes it simply takes a little longer to find it. Nevertheless, that is no reason to give up, but to work even more and harder.
#3 You don’t want to end up in debts
Many world-renowned colleges justify their high price with the quality of the education provided. That definitely makes sense, and colleges which are expensive probably do have the the best outcomes, and do create successful people. However, it is necessary to think twice, and decide whether a good college is worth a big money investment, and how will it affect your future. I personally believe that it is not worthwhile to invest tens of thousands of dollars in the education, and then work extremely hard for the the following 10 or so years, only to regain what you have invested in yourself. By doing so, you’re actually becoming a slave of your education, and that is not the point of education or life in general. The goal of education is to ensure you the conditions thanks to which you will enjoy life, and be what you have always wanted to be.
Colleges around the world have different costs of education, which I’ll talk about more in the next section. Somewhere, in order to obtain a good quality education, it is necessary to sped tens of thousand dollars, while in some other parts of the world, you can get it for free. When choosing a college, it is essential to keep in mind your preferences, but also the quality of the education provided, and minimal costs. It is difficult to merge all of the mentioned into one, but in any case it is not impossible!
Self-education on the other hand carries much lower costs. Thanks to the Internet, you can nowadays listen to an extremely high-quality lectures held by world-renowned professors at a symbolic price. Nevertheless, it is good to be careful, because you can run into all sorts of offers. Never fall for cheap deals, because what they offer is often far below expectations. Experience will teach you how to choose wisely and well, and until then it is no sin to make an occasional mistake.
#4 You don’t want stories, you want results
As I already mentioned, the main goal of education is to learn something new that will give you a chance for a better life. Whatever you end up choosing, be it college or self-education package, you have to keep in mind that you want to see some results after the end of the seance. If you don’t see the results, it means the investment had no sense. It would certainly be a good idea to write what concrete results are you hoping for, and in what period of time, before getting involved into something. Only after doing that, you are ready to start searching for a college or a self-education, which can give you the things you want.
#5 You don’t want to give up on the life of your dreams
Live Your Dreams, is the advice that you will hear from me whenever you find yourself in front of an obstacle. Living the life of our dreams is the main goal of each and every one of us, and therefore it must also be the main concern. Each invested moment, energy or money must be in accordance with your dream life.
The ideal life is the individual fantasy of every one of us, but only the most persistent, most curious, and most focused ones, can reach that level. Education is an integral part of the journey towards the life of your dreams, and you have to accept it as such. Is it necessary to enroll to college, or should you cope with self-education? That’s up to you to decide. Whatever you chose, you must keep in mind the goal you want to reach and the phrase: Live Your Dreams.
Which are the costs of college education in different states?
In recent years there have been stories about the college debts crisis. The fact that in 2011 as many as 71 percent of students completed their education with debts is almost unbelievable. We also have to mention the fact that the average student debt in the year 2011 amounted to $26.600 which is an outrageous figure. So, most of the students have started their business venture with a big minus on their bank account, no wonder many of them became depressed.
The situation around the world differs greatly. USA is a country where during college, huge student debts are usually accumulated, but the justification for expensive education can be found in the low tax rates. On the other hand, Europe has a different system, where the state imposes big taxes, which allows students to have free education.
To better understand how the costs of education are moving in different parts of the world, you should examine the following data, which are several years old, but still depict the real situation:
Mexico has developed a system that goes into the two extremes. On the one hand we have a public university system that costs very little, while other private systems generally cost over 10 thousand dollars. On average, a college education in Mexico will cost about $ 5,000 per student. The question of profitability, is very important, because Mexico has no college institutions in the top 100 in the world.
Japan is a country which is usually associated with robotics and a variety of innovations, but it appears that the colleges there, stand as well too. There are several faculties in the top 100, and the best placed one, is the one in Tokyo. The average tuition fee is about $11,000.
USA is a country that is far ahead of everyone else when it comes to the number of top colleges, among the top 100, US colleges have more than one third of the representatives. Of course, USA have the best faculty in the world, and for 2015 this honorable title was attributed to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The American educational system is divided into private and public sector, and the differences in price are great. Public system generally costs around 7000 dollars, while the private one generally costs more than 15 thousand dollars. On average, the education in USA costs about 13 000 dollars.
Australia is a country with a good quality education system, and in 2015 it had a number of 7 colleges in the top 100. An average price of the education in the country of kangaroos is about $7,000. The best placed college is the one in Melbourne, which came 18th on the quality chart.
Canada has several representatives in the top 100, but they are all in the other half of the top 100 quality chart. Education in Canada costs about $6,000, which is not so expensive when we think about some of the other countries we have previously mentioned.
United Kingdom has less than 10 representatives in the top 100, but they are positioned very high. The best college is the University of Cambridge who is placed 3rd on the quality chart, which is an excellent result. As for the educational system and payment, the British system is different from that of most of Europe. In the UK, the education is not free, and average costs are about $5,000. Although the average figure is relatively small, the fact is, that often the education costs are a lot higher, which was confirmed by some of my interlocutors.
Germany is considered to be one of the most advanced countries in Europe, and the same thing applies when it comes to the system of education. The top 100 has several German representatives, while the highest ranking belongs to the University of Munich. As for costs, Germany is a country that covers the education, so the costs for a student are generally $ 0, in other words, education is completely free. The interesting thing for foreigners is that Germany is very open to foreign students, and there are no obstacles preventing students from all over the world to join their system of education. Indeed, a large part of the lectures is held in English, so the foreigners could adapt more easily to the curriculum offered.
Sweden is one of the Europe’s representatives which live on a very high level, where the standard of living is among the best in the world. Although there are not many Swedish representatives in the top 100, Sweden is very good for the development of new knowledge, because it has developed a specific education system that is completely free. What might come as a surprise to foreigners are the high costs of housing and living.
France has an education system that may not be at the very top, but if you have a desire to study in a country that exudes with natural beauty, a large number of sights and a very romantic language, then the free French education system is up to your standards. They only have one representative in the top 100, but as far as the costs go, you will have to set aside a very symbolic sum to cover the basic costs of the college education.
This is a brief list of the countries which are known for quality colleges, and which offer very different college tuitions. You might have noticed that Europe remained inclined to the education and that anyone can study there for free, or at a minimal price. Before I go on, I’ll just list a few of the countries that have entered the top 100 due to the quality of their education system.
Singapore has a highly-ranked representative at the 4th place, and it is the National University of Singapore (NUS). Their other representative is ranked 6th, so we can conclude that their education is at the top of the world rankings.
Switzerland is known for many things, but it seems that the country’s education system is also experiencing its moments of glory. The ETH Zurich Swiss Federal Institute of Technology is on the 5th place, so we can say that the Institute has pushed the Swiss education system to the world’s top.
China, South Korea and Hong Kong are the three countries from the east that have taken a large number of positions from 10th to 20th place. It seems that the education system in eastern countries stands very high, and with the development of technology and new science, it could be raised even more. High economic growth is clearly not caused by accident, but it is based on the educated and high-quality workers and researchers.
Are my student loans worth the knowledge I’ve obtained at college?
In the past days, I’ve been asking my friends on Facebook, to share with me their opinion on the education system, and their results after completing college education.
As usual, they all have their individual story. Some are happy with the education, some are not, others are drowning in debts, some have already paid off their debts, and so on. I have decided to share with you a few of their comments, which best illustrate their attitude towards college education.
I have finished college in Belgium and am Grateful I have. In Belgium the paper matters.. Could it be done without, for sure. Is it easier now, for sure. – N. Buysschaert
I graduated w a degree to become a vet tech. I was left w $30,000+ in debt and I don’t even want to be in the field and the degree is strictly vet tech. Major rip off! Degrees are a waste of money in my opinion. – A. Brooke
I think it depends on you field of choice. My oldest daughter went thru a vocational program.. My middle daughter attends Az State Univ.. My youngest wants to go to med school so college is a must.. My husband and I have never gone to college. He has been successful in financially supporting our family and that allows me to be the SAHM i want to be. 🙂 I work as an independent dist for ItWorks! Global and I love it- making my own hours, or not. – K. Boehm-La Mountain
It depends what your interested in. I studied Chemical Engineering, and I regret how I played out my education experience and wish I could have been more economic with it but as a whole the educational experience I had and the people I met helped shape me into the entrepreneur I am. – A. Joseph
I do have a massive debt for my studies, however, I’m really grateful for the opportunities I have. I am studying computer science, which is a field that can be self-taught (Zuckerberg, Gates, etc..) Even though the computing skills can be self-taught, time in uni has provided me with amazing opportunities such as building a network of young passionate people and a year-long internship in a tech company. From September I will be going back to uni to finish off my degree, and even though it costs a lot of money, I believe that it was well worth it. – T. Jay
Regardless of education or business, nowadays its all about connections, who you know and how you know them , and if you have a positive connection with that person and they trust you enough to teach you their trade/job/knowledge to further expand opportunities. – J. Rader
I agree with you somewhat. I graduated with $30 k of debt but my degree taught me most of what I’m using in my business services. So when I graduated I launched my business and have paid a majority of the debt off. I think school is useful because of the networking and structured learning…depending on the industry someone is focusing on. For me. I’m in tech so I was easily able to leverage the skills quickly. – A. Togunde
Studying a trade that’s always in demand is a good investment but most college education is a complete waste of money. I paid off my debts years ago and I have been able to use some of my education to support myself over the years. I do use some of it in my current business but I could have learned it through YouTube videos for free. – I. Silva
From all the above we can easily conclude that people are very divided when it comes to the question: ‘Are my student loans worth the knowledge that I will be able to use in the future?’. Somehow, the two stories, which are so similar and yet so different, have caught my attention, because these two stories are actually a clear proof that the right path to success can be any path:
A. Togunde and I. Silva were both students who have accumulated large student debts. A. Togunde mentioned the amount of 30,000 dollars, which is above the average of a student loan. They have both started a successful business after graduation, but their opinion on college is totally opposite. A. Togunde says that at college she was able to learn everything she needed for the business, while I. Silva firmly states that he didn’t get what he needed at college, in other words, that he could learn all the important things for the business on YouTube for free. An identical story, but a completely opposite perspective.
It is sad to see how popular the term ‘student loan debt calculator’ is in the internet search engines. That statistics clearly outlines that people yearn for a good education, but don’t want to throw large amounts of money into the wind. Each of us should find the answer to the question “Are my student loans worth the knowledge I have obtained at college?’ on his own.
While searching for the answer, you have to consider the fact that you are aiming to the life of your dreams. Enroll to college just because the community does so, makes no sense, because your goal is to develop yourself as an individual and help the community by developing.
Finishing college and throwing the graduation cap into the air is a great feeling, but there is nothing great in it, if there are huge debts in the bank waiting for you after graduation, and your life is miserable. Nowadays, many high quality information can easily be found on the Internet, and education is no longer strictly related to classrooms and professors.
I recently wrote an article with a list of books that I recommend you to read if you want to become successful. Books are another great source of information, but in the end, there’s only you and your willingness to work.
I can tell you Live Your Dreams, but the life of your dreams will not come on its own. In creating such a life, you have to invest your every free moment, and every one of your actions must be subordinated to it. If you must finish college in order to achieve your dream, then enroll to college, and finish it. If you don’t need it, then don’t. Make a smart decision, work on your dreams and achieve the life you’ve always dreamed of.
What is your story? Have you graduated from college, or are you planning to start your college education soon? Do you have debts, or have you finished your education for free? Do you think that investing in education is a good decision, or are you inclined to the belief that education can be obtained for free?
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