You’ve just finished high school and you’re facing one of the biggest choices in your life, whether you’re going to go to college or university and if you decide to continue with your education which college or university you’re going to attend.
Often the choice of college or university is made based on misguided dreams with peer or parent pressure and with little relation to what you’re actually good at, what you’re passionate about, what actually makes money or what kind of lifestyle is required in the profession you choose.
I remember sitting at my desk as an Accounting Manager, some years ago, looking at my overweight boss stressing out about the quarterly financial statements. I knew he’d be at work until late into the evening and back again on the weekend to make sure every number was explained. As I looked at my own waist line, I realized that I was on the exact same path as my boss.
I also remember that in high school there wasn’t anyone to enlighten me about the realities of life. There certainly wasn’t a financial course on budgeting that would teach me how to put money aside for college or university, or what I was going to do after I graduated with or without a degree. Even worse, there wasn’t anyone or anything to show me what kind of lifestyle I would end up living in any of the jobs that were out there. The councilors were more set on helping me get into the local college or university without any thought to lifestyle or overall happiness in life.
More deceptive was the amount of marketing material available for local colleges and universities without anything presented for foreign or out of State/Province locations.
Oddly, there were many councilors and advisors telling me how to borrow money to take my next steps. Then, when I finally did take a tour of campus there were plenty of credit card companies welcoming me to university life.
Before you choose your college or university realize that often, local businesses favor local college and university graduates. Then consider that the secondary function of university or college is marriage and where you get married is more than likely where you’ll settle. Then think really hard about the lifestyle of the surrounding area where you’re thinking of going to college or university.
In the end, the choice is mostly up to you where you go to college or university, whether you get married and where you live but remember all of these are highly correlated events.
With that being said, if you’re going to continue your education in Santa Barbara, California, you’re much more likely to get hired by a local Santa Barbara business, get married in Santa Barbara and settle in Santa Barbara, than if you were to go to College or University in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada with its excellent Engineering Program. The winter in Edmonton can get as low as -45 C, whereas it rarely breaks freezing in Santa Barbara. Still it’s your choice!
Of course the most peer or parent pressure is often felt when you’re deciding between a college or a university. For some odd reason, there’s initially more prestige given to students that are attending university than college but the smart money is on going to college first and then transferring into university after the first two years. It’s certainly much cheaper. But, most importantly, when looking for work, the end result is the same. If you continue on to graduate with a degree from a university your degree is just as good as the next graduates and your new, local employer need never see the difference. Moreover, many of them probably went to the local college too.
Be sure to watch for my next post on taking the right amount of classes – lifestyle vs. finishing early.