Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal article by Melissa Korn found that “A Bit of College Can Be Worse Than None at All.” The article examined data from a Drexel University Center for Labor Markets and Policy survey, and discovered that young adults who dropped out of college don’t fare much better than their peers with only a high school diploma. The article also reports that the number of students who start, but never finish, college is growing--according to the study, nearly one-third of college freshmen in 2012 didn’t return to a U.S. school the following year. This adds a new layer to the question: “Is a college degree still worth it?”
High school students should consider the implications that earning a few credits could actually hurt rather than help in the long run. But how can students applying to college decide if college is actually right for them? We believe that applicants should focus on their purpose rather than passion. As Carol describes in "Motivation and the College Application Essays: Why the Process Matters,” having a sense of purpose provides a better foundation than being passionate. Before you mass submit your Common App, ask yourself: Why do you want to go to college? Not just a specific college, but college? What will you gain? What will you contribute? What will a college degree allow you to do upon graduation? Use your purpose to frame your college applications, selection process, and overall experience, and you’ll be successful no matter which school you attend.