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How was the college experience, was it worth it, and was it fun?

I know I wanna go to college, but I don't know if it's completely worth the money.

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Martha’s Answer

What a great multi-part question, Alexis! Here are my thoughts:
- How was the experience? Mine was full of growth, learning, broadening horizons, building character and independence, maturing, facing challenges, not always winning, etc. It has been many years, but I remain grateful for the skills I developed, the opportunities it presented, and the friendships I made. Keep in mind that you have a large role in shaping your experience.
- Was it worth it? I would encourage you to evaluate this for yourself in more terms than just money. For example, will college help you grow as a person, professional, and member of society? Will college give you experiences, such as research, travel, or internship opportunities that you could not have otherwise? Will you meet people in college who will broaden your worldview, making it easier to enter a diverse workforce? For my experience, I give a resounding yes. I should acknowledge, however, that I was able to graduate in four years and with manageable student debt. You and your family have to decide what manageable debt is and take that into account in deciding where to go to college. Make sure you will not run out of money part-way through.
- Was it fun? Not always, but a resounding yes again.
Good luck!
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Finn’s Answer

Alexis,

These are both great questions, and I will try to answer them as best as I can based on my experiences. I am currently a Senior at the University of Cincinnati and I have some advice for you as I'm ending my college career.

I would say that going to college is both worth it, and fun. However, like anything else you get out what you put in. If you don't try to do your best work, introduce yourself to professors and form relationships with them, and look for new opportunities like internships, finding mentors, and meeting professionals in the field you want to pursue, then it may not be worth it.

Where I really got the most value out of college was when I met with my professors after class and asked them specific questions, and when I used assignments as tools to create something that I could use after college. For example I had to create a website for a digital entrepreneurship course, and I used that assignment to create a website to sell my artwork for years to come. Another example was when I got to do a semester long independent study where I researched how to buy a real estate investment property step-by-step, and met with many professionals in that field. None of these positive things that made my college career worth it would've happened if I just "checked a box," and didn't put in a little extra work.

Another huge advantage that not many people talk about is that you can call or meet with pretty much any professional, because they want to help out a student doing a project or doing research. The second you say "I am a college student," they let their guard down because they know that you don't want to sell them something. This is also true for after you graduate, as you gain access to an alumni network with graduates in many different professions.

In terms of money, look into dual enrollment programs that your high school offers to gain college credits for free while in high school. Another thing you can look into is scholarship opportunities, which are offered by a lot of universities and organizations across the country. Lastly, I would recommend going to a local community college for the first year of college as it is drastically cheaper, and you don't have to pay top dollar for entry level courses about topics you may not be interested in.

I hope this helps!

Good Luck!
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Douglas’s Answer

Like most things in life, you will get out of your college journey based on what you put into it… making an investment in your future. Fun personality people will easily find ways to have fun in college just as they do in the workplace. Is college worth it: you can do a little online research to see that the average life time earnings of college graduates is significantly higher than high school only. As you decide on your college budget, keep in mind that most businesses have a limited pay range for a recent college grad, it’s the same pay whether you attended an expensive private college or a less expensive local public college. Best wishes
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Douglas’s Answer

Like most things in life, you will get out of your college journey based on what you put into it… making an investment in your future. Fun personality people will easily find ways to have fun in college just as they do in the workplace. To answer your question if college is worth it: you can do a little online research to see that the average life time earnings of college graduates is significantly higher than high school only. As you decide on your college budget, keep in mind that most businesses have a limited pay range for a recent college grad, it’s the same pay whether you attended an expensive private college or a less expensive local public college. Best wishes
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Cary’s Answer

Hello Alexis,

The college experience can vary greatly from one individual to another. Here's my personal take on it. For me, the most significant aspect of college life is forging connections and cultivating relationships with diverse groups of people. While the academic education one receives is undeniably crucial, I believe that much of what we pay for in college can also be acquired outside the traditional academic setting. Nevertheless, despite this, I firmly stand by the notion that attending college is a worthwhile and enjoyable endeavor.
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Nicholas’s Answer

College can be fun and help you learn a lot. But it costs money, so it's important to think about if it's the right choice for you. Talk to people who went to college and think about what you want for your future before deciding.
Thank you comment icon Hi Nicholas! Can you give some insight from your college experience for Alexis? Sharyn Grose, Admin
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Patrick’s Answer

Indeed, the college journey can be a truly enriching and rewarding adventure, both in terms of academics and personal growth. It presents a one-of-a-kind chance for intellectual expansion, self-improvement, and the creation of lifelong bonds. However, the enjoyment and value derived from college can vary greatly, depending on personal circumstances, ambitions, and preferences.

From my perspective, the college journey was absolutely worthwhile. Beyond the scholastic knowledge I acquired from my studies, I honed my critical thinking capabilities, problem-solving skills, and gained a wider view of the world. College presented a platform for exploration and self-realization, enabling me to delve into my interests via extracurricular activities, internships, and research opportunities. These experiences not only enriched my education but also played a pivotal role in shaping my identity and career goals.

As for fun, college was certainly not lacking. From cheering on sports teams and attending cultural shows to joining clubs and social events, there was always an abundance of ways to interact with fellow students and create lasting memories. Living on campus or in a college town often creates a dynamic social environment, where you can encounter people from all walks of life and form enduring friendships.

However, it's vital to acknowledge that college can also be demanding and strenuous, both academically and financially. Tuition fees, living costs, and student loans can pose significant financial challenges for many individuals and families. It's imperative to consider the potential return on investment in terms of future career prospects and income potential against the cost of tuition.

Before deciding if college is the right choice for you, take some time to reflect on your long-term goals and dreams. Investigate potential majors, career paths, and industries to determine if a college degree is necessary or beneficial in your chosen field. Look into alternative routes, such as trade training programs, apprenticeships, or online courses, which may provide similar opportunities at a reduced cost.

Also, ponder the non-financial benefits of attending college, like personal development, intellectual enrichment, and social connections. Reflect on the kind of college experience you desire and whether it resonates with your interests, values, and priorities.

In the end, the decision to attend college is a deeply personal one that demands thoughtful consideration of various factors. While college can be a transformative and gratifying journey for many, it's crucial to balance the costs and benefits to decide if it's the right direction for you. If you choose to embark on higher education, approach it with an open heart, a readiness to learn, and a dedication to seize every opportunity that comes your way.
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Kami’s Answer

Alexis, these questions you've asked are great. The college experience can vary for each individual, but it was awesome for me. Throughout my four years, I gained valuable knowledge, actively participated in college organizations, and formed new connections with people. One aspect I particularly enjoyed about college was the freedom to shape my own time. There were numerous choices available, such as opting for virtual or in-person classes, residing in a dormitory or an apartment, joining a sorority or fraternity, or engaging in any other organization. Additionally, I had the flexibility to decide between dining out or cooking my own meals, studying in solitude or watching movies with friends, and venturing out to explore or staying in. The possibilities were truly endless, and this is what made my college experience so enjoyable. Regardless of the path you choose, it will undoubtedly be a rewarding journey.
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Benjamin’s Answer

Hey Alexis! Going to college can be a rewarding journey in so many aspects. My own college journey was an amazing one, and it helped me grow tremendously over those 4 years. It's not just an academic investment, but it's also a great way to mature and get ready for the professional world. I lived on campus during my college years and got involved in numerous clubs and groups. If you're into sports, intramural teams can be a fantastic way to make new friends. You can also make friends in your classes or even while grabbing a meal in the dining hall. When choosing a college, look for one that has a vibrant culture and isn't just a commuter school. A lively culture attracts students who are fully committed to their college journey. Commuter schools can get pretty quiet on weekends, which can limit your chances to socialize. So, if you're planning to live on campus, try to pick a university where most students also stay on campus!
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