A college education is important for many students because it opens the doors to opportunities they would not have otherwise; it helps young people grow into adulthood and it raises the college graduates' income throughout the rest of their lives. In addition, college teaches students to learn to think creatively and analytically, as well as learn skills that are useful in the job market.
A study by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development shows that the economic return on a college education is an average of 12.3 percent for men, far higher than a typical return for stock market investments. College graduates earn, on average, 50 percent more than non-graduates.
College provides a venue for making connections and building networks that graduates could not build any other way, increasing their access and opportunities once they enter the job market. Many employers require or desire a college degree in their new hires, particularly during tough economic times. This effectively closes the door to certain jobs for those who have not graduated from college.
In addition, college exposes students to learning, projects and extracurricular activities they would probably never get in another environment. Students also make friends through their common bonding experiences, some of whom are likely to stay friends for the rest of their lives. College is also important because students learn to deal with competition, develop lifelong interests and develop confidence through their college achievements.