You will hear a wide range of opinions on whether or not college is worth the investment.  The answer is way more complex than, "Yes it is" or "No it's not." Bottom line is, you will earn more money with a college degree than a high school degree.  However, there are a lot of things that affect that financial benefit.  For example:
  • The degree you earn will largely impact your earning potential.  For example, Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) majors tend to make more over the course of their career than liberal arts majors.  According to Georgetown University's Center on Education and the Workforce, all but 2 of the top 25 jobs in 2015 are STEM, with the other 2 being business fields.  Additionally, Georgetown University concluded that, while the average starting salary for a college graduate is $33,000, that will vary greatly depending on major.
  • How you finance your college education and what you do or don't do outside of your classes can negatively affect the financial advantage of earning a degree. Considering that 35% of college graduates are working in minimum-wage jobs and 49% are underemployed (Inside Higher Ed, 5/14/15, Accenture Survey), paying off a $35,000 debt is nearly impossible (WSJ, May 8, 2015, Congratulations Class of 2015, You Are The Most Indebted Ever (For Now)). In 2016, according to Consumer Reports (August 2016), the average went up to $37,000, an increase nearly twice that of inflation.
  • Costs of higher education should be measured in opportunity costs or the money you are not making while you are in college PLUS what you pay to be in college or your real costs. While the first four years attending college far outweigh the opportunity costs, most students take 2 additional years to earn a 4-year degree costing them $130,000 to $180,000 in real and opportunity costs.  Only 1 in 10 college freshmen will earn a bachelor degree in 4 years (College Completion, 2014).
So with these three important facts in mind, you MUST choose your college and major wisely.  This doesn't mean you choose a STEM major just because they make more money and you don't attend a college just because it has a great name.  Your college major is a better predictor of your future success than the college you attend!  Even more important, students who choose a major more closely linked to their career profile (interests, values, and desired work environment) like you will do in MyCollegeMax, are more likely to be successful in college (ACT, Webinar: Choosing a Major, Sept. 2015).


The single best way to avoid taking 6 years to earn a 4-year degree is to know your career path.  MyCollegeMax helps you choose your career path and the major that is right for you. The second best way is to stay in contact with your academic advisor and make sure you are on track.  According to College Complete, only 69% of college students take the 15 credit hours per semester that they need to graduate on time.  When you combine these two challenges, no defined career path and taking too few credits, it's no wonder that students take 150% the time they should to earn 4-year and 2-year degrees.  Finally, credits and classes are just half the battle.  You need to do way more than just your course work to prepare for your future. MyCollegeMax will provide you everything you need to know to ensure that you are ready for college and your career and you graduate in the appropriate amount of time.