Is College Worth the Cost in 2018?

Is College Worth the Cost in 2018?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Want to know whether college is still worth it in 2018?

Here’s a crazy fact: If you add up all of the student loan debt in the US, it reaches over $1.4 trillion dollars. It’s hard to visualize just how much a trillion dollars is.

But here’s an idea:

A trillion dollars laid out next to each other would reach the sun. Likewise, a trillion dollars is nearly the amount of money currently in circulation in the entire country.

Currently, the average college student graduates with $31,000. Paying off the burden of student loans can take decades, depending on what field you work in post-college and how much total debt you take on. For one thing, graduate, law, and medical degrees rack up significantly more tuition than a 4-year undergraduate degree.

If you add up the costs, is college really worth the debt today? Let’s weigh in.

College is Expensive

While the costs for tuition and books have steadily increased over the last 30 years, so has the value of a college degree.

How so?

Well, the average starting salary for a college grad has never been higher. According to Time, the average pay for new college graduates is right around $50,000.

(Want to find out how much the Class of 2018 is really earning? Click here to find out.)

So this means that yes, we’re paying more to attend college. But we’re also getting more opportunity from it than our parents or the generations before us.

A recent study conducted by Georgetown University found that people who graduate from college earn around $17,000 more per year than high school graduates. That adds up to a million more over your lifetime. Considering we need between $1 million to $1.5 million saved up to retire, attending college can help secure your future.

Is College Worth the Cost in 2018? Unemployment rate chart by level of education.

This graph from the Bureau of Labor Statistics compares the average weekly pay and unemployment rates based on your level of education.

College is a Gamble

We already know that some college degrees will pay off faster than others. The average salary in technology, medicine, or science is going to much higher than a starting salary in arts or humanities.

That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t pursue arts if that’s our passion. But should we go the route of student loans in that case?

It’s a gamble.

If you decide to pursue one of these routes–like sociology, arts, psychology, or political science–consider how much you’ll realistically earn in 5-10 years before you take out student loans. In this case, it’s probably wiser to seek financial aid in the form of scholarships. The debt isn’t worth it.  

 

Not All Debt is Bad

Having a little bit of debt can actually be beneficial.

After all, taking out student loans, car payments, or credit cards is how you start to build your credit history.

If you’ve never borrowed money, you don’t have any credit. This makes it harder to take out a loan for large purchases in the future–like when you’re ready to buy a house

When you make on-time payments on your debt, you’re demonstrating you can borrow money responsibly and pay it off. I saw this happen first hand when I paid off my first car and my credit score jumped up to excellent!

I still have a significant amount left on my student loans, but my credit has never looked better.   

However, I wish I had known exactly what I was getting myself into when I borrowed money in college. Nobody really explained student loans to me, they just let me rack up debt with no questions asked. The Graduate Survival Guide: 5 Mistakes You Can’t Afford To Make In College is a fantastic resource for high school seniors or any students who want to understand their financial decisions better.

 

In Conclusion

Is college worth it today? That is ultimately your call to make, but I think it’s absolutely worth every penny. If I could do it all over again, I’d still go back to college.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments below.

Resources

The Graduate Survival Guide: 5 Mistakes You Can’t Afford To Make In College by Anthony O’Neal

Student Loan Planning: A Borrower’s Guide to Understanding and Repaying Student Loan Debt by Ryan H Law

Paying for College Without Going Broke, 2018 Edition: How to Pay Less for College (College Admissions Guides) by Princeton Review

 

5 Inspirational Books for College Students: Freshman to Senior Year

5 Inspirational Books for College Students: Photo of two women studying

Between classes, studying, work and a personal life–college is a serious balancing act. No matter what year you’re in.

For instance, everything feels foreign during freshman year. You’re encountering new situations and the exhilarating experience of being on your own for the first time. It’s exciting…but you probably have a lot of questions.

But what about when you reach your junior or senior year? Once more, you’re close to a huge life transition. Now you’re faced with thoughts about your potential future path.

Here are 5 inspirational books every college student should have around for those times when you need a pick-me-up.

 

Shame Nation: The Global Epidemic of Online Hate

5 Inspirational Books for College Students

We’re all connected online in today’s world. In fact, most of us are on at least 1-2 social media networks (if not more). Social media is fun, entertaining, and an excellent way to stay in touch with your friends.

Especially since college can mark the first time you’ve ever lived away from your hometown.

But what about the flip side of social media? Like cyberbullying. Privacy concerns. Safety threats.

It can happen to anyone if you’re not careful. Shame Nation covers some pretty groundbreaking territory. The authors, Scheff and Schorr, explore the intense backlash and nastiness people can face on social media.

She uses incidents like the 2016 presidential election and high-profile tragedies in recent years to demonstrate how we communicate has changed.

And it’s powerful.

 

The Naked Roommate: And 107 Other Issues You Might Run Into in College

5 Inspirational Books for College Students

Are you the new kid on campus? Pick up a copy of this book.

Moving into your dorm is thrilling, but once your parents leave? It hits you. You’re alone in a (tiny) room living with a total stranger. It’s totally normal to feel a little homesick in this moment, even if you get along perfectly with your roommate.

The Naked Roommate contains letters, stories, and advice from students who’ve been in your shoes before. Some of the advice might seem obvious but most of the tips are great reminders–they cover just about any topic or challenge you could run into at school.

 

How to Win at College: Surprising Secrets for Success from the Country’s Top Students

5 Inspirational Books for College Students

Imagine a straight-A college student. What do you think of first?

Many of us picture someone with their head down in a book, studying in every moment of free time. Or we think of a high-achiever in school on a full scholarship. Someone who is obsessed with their GPA.

These scenarios might be true for many people. But what if the key to success in college was simply thinking outside of the box?

Inside this book, you’ll find the strategies used by real-life students to become standout students. Their advice is unique, no-fluff, and unpredictable.

 

Freshman Year of Life

5 Inspirational Books for College Students

Picture your first year of life away from school. For good.

It’s an exciting thought, but let’s be real–it’s a little intimidating too. You’re trying to find your place in a new professional environment. Maybe you’re moving to a new city. And dating? It can get pretty complicated.

The Freshman Year of Life is a light-hearted and entertaining read. It’s full of short essays from young college graduates, making it a great book to have handy when you need a quick pick-me-up for inspiration.

Their stories are honest and relatable. Each essay offers practical advice that’s perfect for any current students, those who are about to graduate, or recent graduates about to enter the “real world” for the first time.

 

The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter–And How to Make the Most of Them Now

5 Inspirational Books for College Students

Your 20’s is a rollercoaster ride.

You get to share the fun experiences of your twenties…but it can also be a little overwhelming. Sometimes we feel a little lost in the world or unsure of ourselves.

According to author Dr. Meg Jay, your twenties mean something. In fact, they’ll change your life. In a world where we’re constantly told to live in the moment, this book offers a different perspective on life as a twenty-something today.

What’s her point? While we’re still very young in our twenties, we have the chance to build the foundation for the rest of our lives. Dr. Jay covers that in terms of our career and personal lives.  

Why Are College Textbooks So Expensive?

Why Are College Textbooks So Expensive?

Are you sick of tired of paying hundreds of dollars for a textbook you might only crack open once all semester?

Yeah, I thought so.

We all know textbooks are expensive by now. That part doesn’t really come as a surprise to us anymore. On the other hand, that awareness still doesn’t ease the sticker shock of adding up your book costs for one semester.

So why DO textbooks cost a small fortune? Let’s find out.

 

Why Are College Textbooks So Expensive? 

According to the College Board, the average college student in a four-year program pays $1,250 per year on textbooks. That’s a serious obstacle for students who are already dealing with rising tuition costs.

Why Are College Textbooks So Expensive?

The American Enterprise Institute also investigated the rising prices of textbooks. They found that the cost of recreational books, like novels, has gone down.

While college textbooks have gone up nearly 200%. Who’s to blame? There are a number of factors.

 

College Professors Level of Awareness

Professors frequently assign book titles without considering how much the text cost the students…or how much their students will actually USE the books that semester.

It’s not that professors are out to get us. They just might not be aware of how expensive the book really is–or they don’t think about the price at all.

Book publishers pressure educators too. They have sales reps that come onto campus and push the latest edition, bundled with software. At the end of the day, you professor really has no reason to keep the costs of their book down.

In this case, we have to educate our professors as well.

Ask them at the beginning of the semester (or prior to the start of it) if you REALLY need the latest edition of the textbook–or if you can get through the semester with a used copy. Explain to them that you want to do well in their class but the cost of the textbook is holding you back.

 

Book Publishers Want Profits

Publishers play the main role in driving up book costs.

Did you know there are only 5 major book publishers that run the textbook market? That’s right, 80% of the market is controlled by these 5 textbook publishers.

And they’re hungry for profits. They bundle textbooks with software and unique codes that forces students to buy the latest edition.

These traditional publishers don’t make money off you purchasing used books–so they do everything in their power to make those older editions “out of date” and useless.

Why Are College Textbooks So Expensive?

Campus Bookstores Markup Retail Prices  

Your campus bookstore wants to make money too. Book publishers are hungry for profit…but so are universities.

Campus bookstores usually mark the retail price of a textbook up by 25-28%. Depending on how much your book costs, this markup can be significant. That means a $200 textbook becomes $250 at the bookstore.

Look closely at your college bookstore website. You’ll probably come across a pricing policy section that explains what their current markup is.

However, this isn’t to vilify your campus bookstore. It costs them money to run the bookstore–they have overhead like paying their employees. To be honest, many campus bookstores are owned by Barnes & Noble anyway.

 

It Depends on Your Field of Study

Information changes rapidly depending on what field you’re studying. If you’re in a field like medical or science? They’re constantly discovering new information and the textbooks have to be updated as a result.

However, if you’re studying a field like math, you’ll find the information doesn’t really change. With this in mind, you can most likely get away with an older textbook version.

 

Search via Textbook Nova

Fortunately, the internet is changing the textbook industry. Website search engines like ours–TextbookNova.com–can save you money.

Search for your assigned text via the ISBN. The ISBN is the bar-code number for the textbook; it should be 10 digits or 13 digits. Why is this so important? Well, it lets you know that you’re getting the right version/edition of the book.

Once you’ve the right textbook, you’ll see options for buying it full price, used, or renting it (usually the cheapest). If you want to go with a used edition, you can price compare multiple price range options based on the condition of the book.

 

What’s Next?

All in all, today’s textbook publishing model and the rising costs won’t last. It just isn’t sustainable. Open-sourced material is spreading online and the internet has given students far more options for price shopping.

The more we understand about why we’re paying so much for a textbook, the more can do to influence the current system.

 

How to Do Well in College: 5 Tips for Student Success

How to Do Well in College: 5 Tips for Student Success

So you want to learn how to do well in college?

Whether you’re new to campus or want to take things to the next level this semester, here are 5 tips for student success.

Let’s jump into it.

1. Get 7 Hours of Sleep

It might seem like stating the obvious, but getting enough sleep each night is the key to student success.

Why? When you get 7-8 hours of sleep each night, you’ll perform better at school. Rest keeps you alert, focused, and motivated. On the other hand, sleep deprivation can lead to increased anxiety and stress.

But who doesn’t want to sleep more, anyway?

Well, college isn’t exactly known for its downtime. Late night sessions at the library and all-nighters during exam time aren’t exactly news here. And to be 100% honest, there likely will be times where you find yourself up WAY later than planned to finish working on a project or writing the rest of that paper.

Hey, nobody’s perfect.

But if we’re being real, those late night study sessions can usually be prevented with better planning. Yes, you’re juggling a lot in school. You’re busy running from class to class and balancing homework with extracurricular activities or jobs—but you probably have a little more time than you realize.

So how can you find enough time to get in those zZz’s and stay on top of your studies? Keep reading to find out.

How to Do Well in College: 5 Tips for Student Success

2. Break Up Your Tasks

This student productivity idea has two steps. First, find pockets of time where you can complete some work.

Then break up your major projects into smaller chunks. Instead of trying to cram in 150 pages into one study session, you could read a couple of chapters while you’re waiting for your next class to start.

You might need to reorder your to-do list.

I’ll bet that if you find yourself with 10 minutes to kill, you probably spend it on social media. However, keep in mind those few minutes will add up big time throughout the day. What are some other ways you can squeeze in a small task during that time?

I know you can find some pockets of time in your day if you try hard enough. Because the truth is, another benefit of breaking down your tasks is the big assignments become less overwhelming. For example, when you’re working on a paper. Have you ever found yourself staring at a blank page, struggling to get started? Writer’s block is pretty common.

What if you could cut the amount of time you spend on writing in half by turning that 15-page term paper into a step-by-step process?

Start with gathering research, put it into a thorough outline, and then turn it into a paper. If you flesh out your outline, the paper will nearly write itself. (Seriously, try it out and let us know how it goes!)

When you start using your time more efficiently, you can improve your performance.

How’s that? Let’s go back to the cram session. If you’re trying to read 150 pages in one session, it’s tough. You’ll probably rush through the material and skim through a lot of it, missing out on a lot of information.

At the time same, when you know you only need to read 1 or 2 chapters you’ll feel less pressure to rush through the material.

 

3. Participate in Class

Believe it or not, your professors want you to learn.

Participating during their lectures will actually help you retain the material better. This is because it forces you to think critically and analyze what your professor is teaching. What’s more, participation makes the class more interesting.

When your professors know you want to learn, they’ll naturally try to help you in any way they can. Class discussions offer you the opportunity to receive feedback from your professors that will help you improve and grow as a student.

Plus, starting conversations leads to a mentor relationship. If something ever DID come up or you made a mistake, your professor will probably be more understanding with a student they know is hard-working.

How to Do Well in College: 5 Tips for Student Success

4. Get Organized

Now, you don’t need a ton of supplies to stay organized. An accordion binder (labeled for each class) and a planner are a great place to begin.

Take these with you to every single class so they’re always handy. Pencil in assignments, exams, and other major due dates into your planner as soon as you find out about them.

Then, take time at the beginning of each week to (roughly) plan things out.

In this case, you’ll be able to see what’s on your agenda ahead of time and go into each week with a game plan.

 

5. Take Notes (Lots of Them)

You already know you’re supposed to take notes–but I want to offer you one particular piece of advice on note-taking.

Physically write them out. In a notebook during class. Even if your professor gives out printed notes or study guide…take your own. According to NPR, handwriting out notes seems to help your brain retain what you’re learning better than note-taking on a laptop or tablet.

Remember how we said participating in class helps make it more interesting? So does taking notes.

In fact, professors seem to LOVE throwing in extra credit on exams that came directly from lectures. It’s their reward for attending class. It never hurts to take advantage of extra points, right?

 

In Conclusion

Overall, college is learning time management skills. Getting enough rest, organizing your deadlines, and following along in class (through participating and note-taking) are all ways to boost your performance in school.

And breaking down huge projects into smaller tasks will make everything more manageable–and less overwhelming.