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Is a College Degree a Bad Investment?

College is a complicated issue for many young adults in the world today. On the one hand, it is a necessity for many. Students hoping to find promising careers in a field of their choice often need a college degree. Highly competitive job markets and scarce opportunities have made college education a requirement even for entry level positions in many fields. Careers in the sciences, of course, are next to impossible to achieve without extensive education. On the other hand, however, many students feel that a college education is worth neither their time nor their money. Is a college degree really a bad investment, as many people seem to believe?

This matter is one that largely varies between individuals. Take our first case, for example--the student who wishes to make a career in the sciences. Perhaps this student hopes to become an engineer or a doctor. Whatever the specific case may be, a career in such a field requires extensive specialized education. When this is the situation, a college degree can't be considered a bad investment, because it is a means to an end. The credentials and background gained in college open the door for opportunity in a chosen industry or field. Often, careers in these fields are lucrative enough to make the college investment worthwhile.

Of course, not everyone goes to college with dreams of becoming an engineer or a doctor. There are literally hundreds of options for major programs at the world's universities, and they range widely from sciences to liberal arts and everything in between. Consider the student who goes to college to study philosophy, fine arts, or religious studies, for example. These are all rich and enriching fields of study, but viewed from an investment standpoint, they may not be good financial choices. A college education is a very expensive investment to make, and degrees in such fields may not offer a return.

In general, some degrees lead to careers and some do not. A liberal arts education may be very valuable to the student, but career options in the given field may be sparse or nonexistent. An education in the sciences, on the other hand, prepares students to apply their skills and knowledge in practical settings. And, of course, some degrees are more expensive than others. A liberal arts education at a prestigious school will be highly expensive and may not offer returns. On the other hand, an inexpensive nursing degree obtained through online study at can lead to great career opportunities without a huge expense.

The question of whether a college degree is a bad investment depends entirely on the degree and the student. Some degrees are, of their nature, better investments than others. A degree in a career driven field with lucrative opportunities will surely give the student a return on his or her investment. Some degrees, however, simply don't have that potential for a return. This doesn't make the study of those fields any less admirable, but it does make the college experience a less than favorable investment. Consider these issues carefully when deciding on your path in life.

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