#1 You don't have to have it 'all figured out' just yet. You're young, and you have at least 40 years of work ahead of you. You don't have to pick a career that you will work until you retire.
#2 College is needed for some professions (lawyer, doctor, accountant), but not all. Consider the Trades (electrician, carpenter, auto mechanic) which requires you to attend trade school, which is different than college. Trades make very good money today - auto mechanics out of school start at $100K+ as their first job.
Ask yourself what drives you? What gets you excited? and take those thoughts and feelings and see if your can be successful with or without college. Have this drive your answer of whether college is needed for what your passionate about.
Ted recommends the following next steps:
In short - it only matters if it matters to YOU! College is not necessary to succeed in life, but it is necessary to obtain certain careers and certifications. You cannot become a doctor, a lawyer, or even an accountant without attending college. However, there are plenty of companies that provide you on the job training and have ways for you to move up internally in the company. There are many skills in life in which a formal college education is not necessary, but it will certainly help.
I think when you start to think about does it matter, and is it worth it, you have to first determine why would you be going to college anyways. Is it because it seems that's what everyone does? or is it because you have a specific profession in mind that you would like to obtain one day? Either way, the cost of college continues to increase, and there are many options from public to private, state school to community college, the list is endless. Each college offers different degrees, experiences, pricing, and opportunities.
I personally very much benefitted from attending college. I decided I wanted to enter to world of accounting after taking an introduction to accounting course in high school. Not only did I end up loving it, but I realized I was really good at it. I did my research and knew one day I wanted to become a licenses certified public accountant (CPA), and in order to do so, I needed to have 150 college credit hours, so college did matter a lot if I wanted to truly pursue this career. I also knew I wanted certain experiences in college outside of just my degree - I wanted to continue my athletic career and I wanted social and networking opportunities. I also knew I didn't want to be too far from home. I did my research, applied to a few schools, and ultimately decided on a private D2 university close to home. I was able to not only continue my athletic career, but I became a two time national champion, had the opportunity to found a sorority, and obtained not only a degree in accounting, but a second degree in Spanish, as well as a minor in Fashion Design.
So, to me personally, yes college was worth it. BUT, college was only worth it because I myself made it worth it. You can find ways to make life worth it without going to college, just as someone could attend college without getting the end results they are looking for and therefore may think it wasn't worth it.
College is just like life, you get out of it what you put into it. So, if you make college worth it, it will end up worth it for you, but if you find value in other things, college is not the end all be all, and you certainly do not have to go to form your own path in life!
Personally, I found college to be extremely rewarding and helped me find a niche career that combines data and recruiting. However, I know others who went to a trade school/started a job right out of college and love their jobs and have successful careers.
Long story short, it comes down to what field you are interested in!
1. Identify your career goals: Consider the career(s) you truly want to follow. Do you aim for fields like teaching, law, or medicine? These careers might not only need college education but also specific certifications and degrees. For some jobs, college is essential to gain all the necessary knowledge.
2. Learn about industry requirements: Once you know your desired career(s), research the industries and companies that interest you. This gives you a better understanding of the requirements for the positions you want. Many will need a degree, but some won't.
3. Explore non-college options: Remember, college isn't the only way to gain valuable skills for various industries. There are many ways to learn, such as apprenticeships, vocational training, internships, or even informal methods like online courses or self-study.
However, if you have a specific career path or interest in mind, there are several practical alternatives to college, such as technical schools, trade/craft schools, online education, and certification programs. Nowadays, employers' perspectives are shifting when it comes to the necessity of a college degree.
Bea recommends the following next steps:
School offers a supportive environment for learning, personal growth, and building a successful career. You can also network and form relationships with others who can assist you in progressing professionally. Schools supply endless resources and guidance for your benefit.