'A person with a college degree has a better chance at finding a better paying job.'

Not going to college was never an option for me. Throughout my middle and high school years, my parents have always pushed me to do well in school so I could go to college and have a successful career that I can enjoy. They emphasized that going to college would be a once in a lifetime experience, teach me valuable life skills, and most importantly, set me up for a successful future.

Now, as a sophomore in college, I have come to realize the true value of attending college. I truly believe that a college education is vital to prosperous future. Despite the monetary setbacks that college can bring upon an individual, those who attend college and graduate with a college degree will enter the workforce at a potentially higher and higher paying position in comparison to those who dropped out of high school or only have a high school degree.

In this day and age, with the work field becoming more competitive and selective, better job opportunities require college degrees. A calculation made by Georgetown University estimated that in 2018, 63 percent of jobs will require some type of college education or a degree. While this percentage of jobs may not seem like too much, these include the higher paying jobs. College degrees do not guarantee a job post college and many people are able to succeed without college degrees; however, college graduates have more and better employment opportunities in comparison to those without a college degree.

In 2017, the unemployment rate for a high school graduate was 5.3 percent, while the unemployment rate for college graduates was 2.5 percent.

Money is everyone's main concern and many are unfortunate in the sense where they simply cannot afford to attend a university. Some argue that college leaves graduates with immense amounts of debt that continue into and put stress upon their adulthood years. In 2014, the average student debt was $28,950, with over 10% of students having over $40,000 in debt. While this is true, statistics have shown that those who graduate from college have a higher average income. In 2016, the average income of a person 25 years or older with a high school diploma was $35,615, while the income of a person with a bachelor's degree was almost double ($65,482) and almost triple ($92,525) for those with advanced degrees. In addition, college graduates have lower poverty rates.

I believe that college is a vital component to making one's success come easier. Despite the debt college leaves students, as well as the fact that a college degree does not guarantee a job right out of college, a person with a college degree has a better chance at finding a better paying job. Even if someone is left with an immense about of debt from school (the highest debts come from medical or law school), if their degree can get them a high paying job, they will be able to pay off their debts and in the long run, fall in the more successful percentile of the working population.

I think that by attending college, I am giving myself an opportunity for a future that I not only will enjoy, but one that will be able to provide for me.

Sophia Nishimura is a student at Pacific University in Forest Grove.

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