While we linger on the difference in earnings between bachelor's degree holders and high school graduates, many people still find themselves in a situation where a four-year, traditional residential bachelor's degree wasn't the right fit after high school. Often, life has carried people to a time when they have to make different calculations than an 18-year-old typically must make when it comes to answering, "Why is college worth the cost?"
While average data can tell us a lot about how education improves outcomes for many people, from access to healthcare to financial stability, it's also essential to think through what you want that education to do for you. If your goals are to progress away from entry-level, less-skilled positions, you need to determine whether a four-year degree will even give you access to those higher-level roles. If you need a particular certificate or credential, that might be much less expensive to obtain while providing a similar result when combined with your prior experience.
Many of the benefits of attending college, things like forming social bonds, may not be your priorities when deciding if college is worth it. Non-traditional students of all kinds can find a valuable way to make post-secondary education work for them.
Here are three ways to make college worth the cost at different stages of life.