3Rivers Blog

Graduate College Happier: Think of College as an Investment

Posted on Friday, April 17, 2015

It’s very easy for some graduated college students to shake their fist in the air; feeling frustrated about their low paying job on top of monthly student loan payments. These students may be guilty of only looking at college for the experience and not have worked to prepared themselves to think of higher education as an investment.

Graduate College Happier | Image source: Shutterstock.com / Photographer: szefei

Let’s face it, college isn’t free for everybody and the average student graduates with some debt.  A misconception amongst many college bound students is that when they graduate, they believe they are going to be just handed a high paying job.  Unfortunately for them, the job fairy doesn’t exist.  In the real world, it takes work, dedication, and resourcefulness to set yourself up to happily be in the career you want to be in.  Therefore, look at college as not just an experience, but as an investment.   Here is how to graduate college happier.

More Education Means More Money (and Less Unemployment!)

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, college graduates are likely to make more money than high school graduates.

It is true that being a college graduate puts a person in the position to make more money. 

If a the happy college graduate works for 40 years at the average bachelor degree income versus the average high school graduate, the bachelor degree income results in getting paid over $1.2 million dollars more than the high school graduate.

Not only that, unemployment rates are much lower for those who have attained more education than just the high school degree.

With this information, funding education with student loans can be looked at as an investment.  If student loans are needed to fund college in the short-run, higher lifetime earnings can be well-worth it in the long-run.

Not All Degrees Pay Equally

While it is statistically true that college degrees helps make more money, not all bachelor degrees are expected to pay the above listed $71,552 per year.

According to a Georgetown University survey, certain degrees are expected to pay more than others.

The conversation to have is: “What pays well and what career is intrinsically valuable to me?”  If we’re looking at college as investment, it is good to look at choosing a major that is likely to pay more money.  However, what do you love to do?  The best job isn’t always the best paying job.  Find out what career would give you the most financial and personal satisfaction.

Check back next week as our Graduate College Happier series continues with Choose Your Career, Not Your College Major.