Thinking about heading off to college can be an exciting and scary time. The options can be overwhelming and it can be hard to settle on what path feels right to you. If you’re still on the fence about higher education, here are five reasons why you should go to college.
Trying New Things
Don’t be afraid to take classes that will improve your skills and make you more confident. Every class you take does not have to apply to your major. If you are an ecology major, but fiber arts has always interested you, take a weaving class. If you have interest in food preservation, take a food systems class. Following your passion and building a degree that is fun helps you to prepare for your future. Future employers are looking for energetic and passionate individuals with diverse skills to join their teams; college is the perfect time to practice!
“Sterling taught me to think through the big issues from all sides and think outside of the box for solutions.”
Breaking Out of your Comfort Zone
College can be the journey to adulthood. The transition is an opportunity for you to reflect on the person you were and the adult you are becoming. If you sat in the back of every class in high school, challenge yourself to become more outgoing! If you wish you’d focused more in high school, college is an opportunity for you to hit the books harder. Explore and invest in the YOU that feels right. Sterling supports transitional journeys; whether that be a new connection with the natural world, or trialing a new set of personal pronouns.
“In short, the community was essential in helping me find my way.”
Navigating your Journey
What do you want to be when you grow up? You don’t have to know the answer to that question before going to college. Sterling doesn’t require a declared major until the end of their sophomore year. That gives you two whole years to explore different majors and find the topics that interest and inspire you. Exploration doesn’t just happen in the classroom. Have you always wanted to start an organic herb garden? Try ice climbing? Feel passionate about social justice, but don’t know where to start? Sterling’s student life is booming with events, activities, and learning opportunities. Is the skill you want to try out not an existing option? At Sterling, students are empowered and given the resources to bring in outside speakers, trainers, attend events, or self-design activities on campus.
“What enables me to run the family and volunteer my time is sheer resourcefulness; people see roadblocks, I see workarounds and opportunities and people to go find help from!”
Earn More Money
College graduates have more earning potential on average than people who only have a high school diploma. Data from the 2019 Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows people with a college degree made around $1,248 a week. Someone with a high school diploma earned just $746. That means non-college grads could be missing out on $1 million in earnings, over a lifetime.
We know money is not everything, but it is important to earn a living wage which supports your lifestyle, joy, and covers the investments made in your education. In a recent survey of Sterling College graduates, 95% of Sterling alumni reported that they were employed or in graduate school within the first year after graduation, and 80% reported that their employment was directly related to their major. Sterling College is invested in interrupting the student debt crisis. 26% of alumni graduated from Sterling with no college debt! And 26% graduated with $20,000 or less of repayable debt. These investments are made possible by donors invested in ecological and agriculturally focused higher education.
“Without a doubt Sterling laid the foundation for a very happy, fulfilling, balanced life. This isn’t to say or mean easy, but rather [I gained the] tools to navigate the hard.”
Investing in your Next Steps
Today, many job postings require a college degree just to score an interview. Employers understand that college develops your ability to think analytically, to understand complex systems, and clearly communicate your ideas. No matter what major you pursue in college, employers know you developed skills in organization, time management, and the ability to follow through on important tasks.
Furthermore, your time spent in college increases your personal and professional networks. The person you took Food Sovereignty with sophomore year might be the person you start a heritage seed program with five years after graduation. Or, the organization you completed your internship with might become a future employer. Connections made at Sterling College are forever.
“Systems thinking is an approach and strategy I use daily, and share with people around me regularly.”