We all know college is a big investment. Not only can it be a significant financial commitment, but it often takes four or more years to get a degree. But even with these big commitments, people still see the value of a traditional four-year college experience. So the question remains, what is a college education really worth?
Is a college education worth the investment of time and money?
What’s your goal—a good job? Well-rounded preparation for life? A great experience for a few years? What is the value of each of these things? And after the cost, is the return on investment worth it?
College should help with a job.
Preparation for a career isn’t just about learning facts in your discipline. It should make you ready to be a good employee—better trained, better thinking, and better equipped to serve your workplace well.
Value is about how all of what you study contributes to your future career. It’s a tough marketplace right now. It’s not easy to make it. The training received at college should give you not only knowledge about your chosen profession, but the resources needed to impact your workplace, fight injustice, and know when your faith is being co-opted by the world’s thinking.
Preparation for life is huge.
Preparation for life in the age to come is even bigger. Do you believe that? Then we need to view learning opportunities here in light of God’s ultimate calling on our lives. Shouldn’t “well-rounded preparation” be both practical and spiritual, not self-centered or worldly? Shouldn’t it include learning together to do what we are all called to—to take up our crosses daily and build the Kingdom?
Preparation is more than improving your chances to “make it” in this world. It’s gaining a better understanding of what we fight for, of what is important for eternity.
And a great experience for a few years?
College is a time to do fun things together, but it’s also a time to do things that matter. Years spent in a college community thinking through questions, studying abroad, and navigating social relationships will be so much more lasting than time pursuing what brings passing amusement. We are made to live in community with one purpose, and learning with others who want to think seriously about these same things makes a difference.
Everything that happens at college ought to prepare students to serve God.
Wherever He leads them—and that serving starts in college, not after you leave. That means taking learning seriously. College isn’t summer camp. Do you want to have fun? Absolutely! But have fun that is challenging, satisfying, and significant. We were meant for this because we were meant for more.
The Bible matters.
It is supreme and sufficient. A Christian university does what it does—intellectually, socially, and physically—because its view of the Bible is its foundation. At a Christian university, your professors should be one of your greatest resources because they teach and live and impact students’ lives under the authority of Scripture.
Talk about value.
When you think about where to go to college, think about what you value.