Often people focus on the direct employment benefits of a college education. They want their children and grandchildren to go to college so they can get better jobs. They want their children and grandchildren to learn the exact skills they will need so they can get that job. But a college education provides so much more to a student than specific workplace knowledge. And when it comes to trying to tackle that college tuition bill, it’s important to keep the following in mind.
College contributes significantly to a student’s social growth. They may be living on their own for the first time and will have to learn all of the practical skills that come with that. They may have to deal with roommates and learn how to communicate better with the people they live with. They will also find themselves suddenly faced with a vast network of new friends and professional contacts.
Think back to your time at high school. It was a smaller world, wasn’t it? High school today is not that different. Everyone knows everyone. Everyone is from roughly the same place. But in college, your classmates are from all over the world. They have vastly different lives and thoughts than what you might find in one small high school. Just by spending time on campus and talking with their peers, students can learn more about the world beyond where they grew up, which can be instantly enriching. Knowing more about the world can add depth and complexity to a young adult’s understanding of every part of their life, not just their career. New foods, new music, new approaches to problems. All these things come with the cultural vastness of a college campus.
Remember that college students can also explore many different disciplines with experts in any field. Electives, extracurricular clubs, and social events allow students to reach outside of their majors and career plans to learn about ideas that they will carry with them for the rest of their lives. Philosophy courses will show them logic and argument. Physics courses will help them understand the laws that govern our physical world. An education will provide them with the ability to be flexible and adaptable when it comes to understanding any new information they may need to know in the future, both in the workplace and beyond.
And while all these differences and complexities are important for growth, students will also find themselves suddenly surrounded by people who share many of the same interests, both professionally and personally. College, much like retirement, is an opportunity to explore hobbies and interests in new ways and with new people. It can be quite easy to find strong, lifelong friendships when you have greater mobility and more time to find communities that share your interests.
If you are interested in exploring options on how to fit college savings and spending for your family into your financial plan, please contact us to talk with an advisor today.