Q&A: To go or not to go to college


I’m about to graduate from secondary school. Why should I go to college? It doesn’t make sense to bury yourself in debt just because everyone else expects you to pursue “higher education.” Why waste several years of your life earning a worthless piece of paper only to end up working the same job alongside your secondary-school graduate friends?

Answer: You’re absolutely right – the fact that “everyone else” is doing it is not a good reason to spend tens of thousands of ringgits and four or five years of your life on higher education. College isn’t for everyone. It has its advantages and disadvantages. A great deal depends on your personal inclinations, your outlook on life, and what you intend to do.

For some careers, college is an indispensable part of professional training. For others, it’s a far less important piece of the puzzle. Some people view a university course primarily as a source of intellectual nourishment and an opportunity to gain rich cultural experience. You need to figure out where you fall along this continuum before deciding whether to embark upon a college career. Only you can make that choice.

That said, a college education may be well worth pursuing regardless of your occupational goals. A degree can open doors that won’t be opened in any other way. Among other things, many employers regard it as proof that you’re a responsible, hard-working individual.

There’s an important sense in which higher education ought to be treasured for its own sake, quite apart from considerations of career or job market viability. The broader our grasp of human culture, the more we can connect with and touch other people in very specific and practical ways.

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