Mary Beth’s Answer
Figure out where your dreams lie, what your passions are now, and then Follow your heart! The future is what you will make it so don’t follow someone else’s dreams…
As Mary Beth stated, it really depends on what you want to do. For me, I think of college as an investment. If you want a career that would be enhanced by a college degree, then it's 100% worth the time and money to get a college degree. If what you want to do with your career doesn't require it, then it's a total waste.
The trick though, if figuring out what you want to do as a career. I think this is a seriously hard problem, but some people seem to figure it out just fine. Either way, you'll probably want to experience careers through summer jobs, volunteering, reading, etc. It might also help to interview friends of your family about their careers and their thoughts around it. You may want to ask trusted advisors what they think you'd excel at, and see if that fits how you see yourself. Or maybe you can think about the lifestyle you want in 10, 20 years, and work backwards to figure out what kind of job would support that lifestyle and what kind of education you'll need for it.
Anyways, I wish you the best and I hope this helped!
Know what you want to do. Figure out the options that you have in getting there. If college is not a must or not an immediate requirement, then go that route. Definitely don't go because "that's what everyone is doing" or "my so and so are forcing me to go". Before taking that first step, take a look at that map and start walking in the right direction first.
For me, college education was an absolute must. I could not have landed the job that I have right now without a 4-year degree.
But it might be wise to think through what jobs might be replaced by AI and robots in the future, when considering future careers.
Rafia I.’s Answer
In general I agree with most here.
To make a decision whether to go to college consider all of the following
Do you think you will need a college degree (or more likely an advanced degree) to get where you want to go?
If the answer is yes...decide on the timing and money you want to spend getting that degree. Not all degrees are worth the money they cost to get them...For example...an Ivy League degree in a relatively arcane or irrelevant field is probably not going to be worth paying for ..unless you want to make a career in teaching at the college level and plan to get tenure down the road (advanced degrees, PHD's etc).
If you are sure what you want to do, need the degree, the cost is reasonable, and the time spent to get the degree is doable for you at this time in your life..then go for it.
Otherwise if any of the above are not true ...reconsider other options including deferring for later when you have more funds, time , or a better idea of what you want to do. It's never a bad idea to get some work experience in this case...because work will often help you better understand what you like and don't like and may help you make a better college decision down the road..not to mention allow you to accumulate funds to prepare for your college education and avoid debt ....and speaking of debt...
DO NOT ...go into major debt for ANY undergraduate degree...don't care what degree or college. If the Ivy League wants you they will pay for you most of the time...and if they don't pay for you...consider another alternative more reasonably priced college. In the end you will still only get what you put into it..no matter what school you go to and you won't likely make up the cost of that undergraduate degree for many years if you go into the job market right after graduation (assuming no further education investment)
Also the above doesn't necessarily apply for professional schools (Medicine, Law)...I would be more inclined to borrow there if I got into any one of the top schools in those professions because you will likely make it back many times in your lifetime.
So treat college as you would anything else you purchase in your career...it has a value and it's not infinite and not zero...you need to really look at the cost benefit for any education decision you make and always err on the side of caution when incurring debt.