The Cost of Education
Don’t let college and university be a costly mistake.
Avoid the lure of a big paycheck for a diploma or degree that you really don’t love.
It’s hard to make a decision at the tender ages of 16 and 17 regarding the career you’ll have for the next 30 years. Yet this is what parents, teachers and guidance counselors are hoping you would do when it’s time to apply for post-secondary. A Gallup and Sallie Mae survey titled How America Pays for College found that more than half of high school seniors spent more time planning for prom than thinking about university.
CBC reports that the average cost of tuition in Ontario rose 207% from 1990 to 2007 – it would now cost Ontario students $5,160 a year. It’s the cheapest in Newfoundland and Labrador at only $2,606, and the most expensive tuition fee goes to Nova Scotia where students fork over $6,571.
With tuition fees on a meteoric rise, pressure is placed on the students and often for the wrong reasons. Parents who are weathering the recession and stock market crisis may advise their son or daughter about choosing professions that offer stability and a large paycheck. Accountant? Programmer? Nurse? Sure, they all sound interesting – why not give it a try?
Valentina (not her real name) started off going to university to pursue a Bachelor in Public Administration. It became evident that this really wasn’t for her. She then tried switching into Pharmaceutical Studies, only to finally graduate in Sociology. A year after receiving that degree, she enrolled in college for Event Management. Still unhappy, she is now halfway through an Optician program. She feels confident that she has found her true career and even landed a student optician position during her studies.
College and university can be very expensive, especially if you’re still unsure of what you would like to do. Not everyone can afford to switch around majors like Valentina did. It’s worse still if you stay in a program that you know you’re not suited for. Erica Cervini’s recent article for The Age found that, “If students don’t feel they belong to their university, the odds are high that they will drop out”. The greatest price to pay for education is an incomplete one.
It’s okay to take your time and not rush into university or college when you’re not sure of what you would like to do. Volunteer during high school, talk to other adults, explore sites like JobsPeopleDo.com or even consider taking a gap year to think about what would you be happy to do. Treat your future career like finding your soul mate. If you meet a big shot executive who makes loads of cash, would you be with him/her if your heart just isn’t into it?