Going to college is a common route for kids when they graduate from high school, but although thousands of kids start a degree course with high hopes of a great career ahead of them, the whole college experience can sometimes turn into a nightmare. College is not right for everyone. Some students thrive in the rarified atmosphere of higher education, but others wilt like a parched flower in the midday sun. To help you decide whether a college education is the right path, here are some topics to help you get the conversation started.

Choosing a Career

The career you choose normally dictates whether (or not) you need to go to college. For example, if you love number crunching and dream of working as a business analyst, an online master of science in analytics from Villanova University is worth considering. However, if you would rather work as a plumber in the family business, a college education won’t make much difference to your future earnings.

Earning Power

College graduates typically earn more than students who go straight into the workplace after leaving school. It isn’t a dead cert, but your earning potential – and employability – is going to be better if you do decide to go to college. That said, there are plenty of college graduates flipping burgers on a minimum wage, so don’t assume that a college degree is a sure fire way of walking into a well-paid job in a few years’ time. It isn’t. The job market is highly competitive and these days students have to have something extra to stand out from the crowd.

Living Away from Home

Most people view going to college as a fun experience: i.e. lots of socializing, making new friends, with a little bit of studying thrown in for good measure. The reality is often very different and not all students take to it like a duck to water.

Do not underestimate how much of an upheaval it will be to leave home and start afresh in a new city, with a bunch of people you don’t know from Adam. It will be emotionally challenging and very stressful. In time, you will adjust, but if you are an introvert who struggles to make friends easily, you will not enjoy the college experience as much as your fellow students will.

Studying for an Online Degree

One way to avoid putting yourself through the stress of starting college is to look for an equivalent online course instead. Studying an MSA degree online is cheaper than attending college. The qualification is the same, but you can study from home, in your own time. Online study doesn’t suit everyone, but it is certainly worth thinking about if you are very nervous about heading to college miles away from home and family.

Going to college may be on the cards for the majority of students, but this doesn’t mean you have to follow the herd. Do what’s right for you and be reassured that there are other options out there.