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Why Go to College? 40 Reasons to Go to College.

1.A Better Paying Job

Among the most obvious of reasons - college graduates, on average, make more than those who only completed high school. If there was a "Top One Reason to Go to College" list, this would probably be it. But we are much more comprehensive than that here.

2.Meet Your Employer's Expectations

As the job market gets saturated with graduates, more and more open positions are asking for degrees. You practically need a degree to be a fry cook these days. Why get stuck on the short end of that curve?

3.Meet Your Mom's Expectations

You know your mom wants you to go to college. She'll be so proud of you! (Or your dad. Or your grandparents, aunts, cats. You will make somebody so proud!)

4.Be More Qualified For Your Field...

Lots of jobs require the kind of specialized training that only a college program can give, from vocational programs to doctorates. Whether you want to be the best doctor in the hospital or the best nurse in...well, the same hospital, a degree can help get you there.

5....Or Branch Out into Other Fields

Just because you decided to major in "Best Doctor in the Hospital" in college, that doesn't chain you to one profession for the rest of your life. Having a degree can open up opportunities to hundreds of related (and not-so-related) fields.

6.A More Secure Future

Statistics show that people with higher levels of education tend to have better job security, so stay ahead of the unemployment curve! (At least until you overeducate and overspecialize yourself to the point of being unhireable again.)

7.A Better Lifestyle

Even if your pantry is nothing but ramen as far as your flashlight can reach, rest easy in the knowledge that - once the money from your Better Paying Job (see #1) starts rolling in - it will be nothing but nouveau Asian fusion cuisine for you. The best ramen money can buy.

8.Improve Your Confidence

Take a speech class, even if it isn't required for your major. Better yet, take Intro to Theatre Acting. In ten short weeks you will be able get up in front of thirty of your bored peers and perform a five-minute monologue without violent stomach protests, and you will have made fear your lapdog.

9.Improve Your Social Skills

Nothing short of public transit pushes people from different backgrounds into uncomfortable and unavoidable social situations quite like college. Instead of cringing and withdrawing, try striking up the odd friendly conversation with your classmates. You might be surprised at what you learn, to say nothing of the broad spectrum of friends you might make.

10.Improve Your Discipline

It takes great discipline to study properly, avoiding procrastination and preparing adequate notes and study aids each week. It also takes great discipline to distill months of knowledge into a single cram weekend, ending in an energy-drink-fueled dissociative fugue of standardized testing. Pick your study kung fu style, and take it to your maximum potential.

11.Improve Your Network

College has a lot to do with networking, use those new Improved Social Skills to expand your web of connections. From study groups and internship leads to ladies and dealers of ill repute, you never know where a new thread of friendship will eventually take you. Why miss out by never getting started?

12.Learn From Masters of your Field

Sure, many things learned in college can be learned at the library. What you miss out on, however, is someone to put those texts in context. Professors are hired because they're at the top of their area of expertise. Of course they won't all be goldmines, but when you find one, latch on. You'll learn more than you'll find in any book. (Except, perhaps, the one your professor eventually publishes.)

13.Express Your Thoughts More Clearly

Take a writing class, even if it isn't required for your major. See if a grammar and stylistics course is offered. Your typing program's Grammar Check function is far from failsafe, and your manager at Future High Paying Job will appreciate an employee who can express himself in reports without sounding like a walking text message.

14.Increase Your Understanding of the World

You probably will be required to take a history or humanities class, so don't worry about trying to find one. Fight the urge to nap - it'll pay itself back in dividends when you actually understand something about how the world works, what's happening with it today, and its ramifications beyond your neighborhood's bummer gas prices.

15.Show Off Your Commitment and Perseverance

Steely-eyed determination is quite the admirable trait in our society, and what shows more commitment to a cause than sticking through a quest for knowledge for the better part of a decade? You will be up to your ears in admirers. Enough said.

16.Start a Tradition!

Hesitant because no one else in your family has gone to college? Don't be nervous, be the first! At worst, they say, "what, you think you're better than us?" (Answer: Yes, yes you are) At best, they admire your courage and fortitude and give you lots of sweet graduation gifts. Either way, who comes out on top? You!

17.Find Your Direction

Hesitant, then, because you don't know what kind of career you want and thusly couldn't possibly pick a major? Here's a secret: you're not alone. Truthfully, lots of college graduates don't even know exactly what they want to do when they finish college. That said, with so many options to look into, college is a good place to explore and start getting some idea of what it is that you might like to do.

18.Choose From Many Paths

Four year liberal arts colleges just aren't your thing? Contrary to what your guidance counselor may have told you, it doesn't mean there's something wrong with you. You have different needs or a different learning style, and there are tons of programs that could better suit you. Community college, vocational schools, online programs, a combination of two or several - there's a plan for everyone, and your options are limitless.

19.Your Options are Limitless

(As Long as You Don't Limit Your Options) Here is another misconception: that if you haven't heard of a college, it's probably not very good and not worth looking into. Most colleges haven't heard of you yet, either - should they not give you a chance because your reputation doesn't precede you? Try looking into some smaller schools - what they lack in star power, they usually make up for in unique, hands-on experiences.

20.Take Classes in Your Pajamas

If you go the online school route, you can essentially come to class in your pajamas while chomping down a bowl of Froot Loops.

21.Go to Class in Your Pajamas

Honestly, even if you go to a physical college, you can still show up in your pajamas with half a breakfast burrito hanging out of your mouth, and no one will bat an eye as long as you contribute positively to the class and do well on your assignments. I fail to see any downside here.

22.Never Wake Up Before Noon

Okay that may be an exaggeration, but gone are the high school days of principals shooing you to class with a bullhorn at 7:30 in the morning. Speaking of which, never schedule a class before 8AM unless you know you're a morning person. Your brain will thank you later. (As will your legs when you're not running a mile across campus every other day because you woke up ten minutes before start time.)

23.Your Weekend Starts on Wednesday

The beauty of scheduling your own classes goes beyond later start times - learn the art and pounce on your earliest class registration dates like a cheetah on the hunt, and you too can cram all of your classes into two or three days, freeing up your precious time for more important things. (This season of Ultimate Frisbee will be epic, am I right guys?)

24.Take Advantage of a Fine Library System

Public libraries pale in comparison to college libraries. Heck, public libraries cry themselves to sleep at night, just wishing they were college libraries. If you're the reading type, pick a section and watch yourself get lost for hours in the best way possible.

25."Take Advantage" of a Fine Library System

A blazing internet connection, a stellar selection of obscure movies and magazines, a great meeting place with comfy chairs for you and your friends to study or just hide out and chat (at reasonable volumes) - even if you're not a reading type, you can still appreciate your school's library for its many other gifts.

26.Live Healthy at the School Gym

Most college campuses have gyms that you can use for free with your school ID. How great is that? Gyms are wildly expensive in the real world, so you'd better get that Grecian physique while you can (because once you graduate, the only thing Greek about your figure will be all the gyros and Ouzo you consumed last night).

27.Go Greek

If it's your thing, you can always parlay that new Grecian Physique into a spot in the fraternity or sorority of your choice. They aren't all about partying and brutal hazing techniques - quite a few are dedicated to academia, social causes, and charity work. Of course, if bros and beer bongs are more your speed, the old standards never die.

28.Join Some Clubs

It's good to have hobbies to break up the monotony of study, and college is a veritable cornucopia of extracurricular special interests. Write for your school newspaper, take up a sport, go on outings with a movie club, or have mock medieval battles with the SCA. Not only will you have a legitimate excuse to ward off the bummer-fest of chapter reading for a night, but you're a tad more likely to make lasting friends in a club you enjoy than in your TA section for Calculus.

29.Take Fun Electives

Classes aren't all about General Ed - sure, you sort of need them, but if you don't diversify you will burn out and hate life within minutes, so feel free to balance out the necessary with a bit of frivolity. In college, you can take everything from Introductory Guitar to An Oral History of Reggae, and let no one say you're wasting your time. That's the power of knowledge.

30.Learn a Dead Language

Do it. Where else but college will you have the chance to obtain a document declaring you "Proficient in Ancient Latin?" Sure, your friends are all learning Spanish for a semester abroad in Ibiza, but will they have the power to impress their friends and family by translating ancient maps, mythology, and the backs of coins? (Not to mention giving yourself a rudimentary understanding of almost every language in Europe.)

31.Discuss Lofty Subjects Pretentiously... With Authority!

What are your thoughts on Quentin Tarantino's use of pastiche and blank parody within his oeuvre? How about the disintegration of classical syntax in postmodern literature? Foucault's power/knowledge model in regards to the underlying structures of relationships? "Who cares," you say? Everyone cares. A relevant degree is your license to a lengthy opinion, and when you're in college the whole world is your captive audience. Take advantage of it.

32.Impress Your Friends With a Double Major

Oh sure, you could just be satisfied with the BA in Comparative Literature. But it's the parallel BS in Archeology that really ties it all together, don't you think?

33.Do Something After Retirement

So, you think you're think you're too old for college? No such thing. Just because you're not some spry young thing in a freshman beanie, it doesn't mean you're too old to learn. People are living longer and longer these days, and you need something more than endless bridge games and backyard gardening to keep your mind sharp. Why not a class or two?

34.Continued Support Via Alumni Programs

Colleges don't just throw you out to the wolves upon graduation - to the contrary, most offer alumni clubs with special benefits and ways to connect with your peers and professors long after you've flipped your mortarboard tassel. (And even if you don't think you want this, rest assured that they will find you and call you anyway every month just to see if you've changed your mind.)

35.Continued Support Via FaceBook

Cheaper than the Alumni Association - find your old college chums and poke them. Lacking in benefits and reduced-rate travel options, but makes up for it in Scrabulous.

36.It's Not as Expensive as You Think

Not every school charges Harvard prices. State colleges, for instance, are shockingly reasonable (as long as you're a resident of that state) and a fair portion are just as good - if not better - than private institutions. Even if you do end up at an Ivy League, however, need-based grants and loans and scholarships abound if you're willing to do a little paperwork. FAFSA, son!

37.Independence!

Need an excuse to move out? The delicate scent of Chee-tos littering your room getting a little stale? Moving out "to reinvent yourself in the city" may be troublesome to your parents, but tell them you're going to college and they'll practically pack your boxes for you.

38.Reinvent Yourself in a New City!

Feeling stifled? Parents or friends or PTA co-members just not understanding? With all of its new opportunities and potential interests, college means the freedom to shed your old skin and blossom into the brain surgeon/master thespian/art school hipster you were always meant to be.

39.Create Lasting Memories

Be it academic achievements or that one time you and your roommates totally went out for a chili dog run at 1AM and ate yourselves senseless while watching reruns of Dawson's Creek - if you don't end up saying "those may have been the best years of my life," then your post-grad life must be epic.

40.You Will Never Be This Experimental or Reckless Again

Not without having to give some serious explanations, anyway. College is a magical time, and it usually only happens once. Take advantage of it.

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