All the recent talk about college, and the cost-benefit of attending, is leaving many confused about whether or not going to college is really worth it. To sum it up:
A college degree today is like a high school diploma of yesterday. It's not necessarily going to prepare students for the real world but it's a resume 'must-have' to avoid being ruled out before you even get a foot in the door of the interview process. As a New York Stock Exchange veteran, I have worked with many successful people who never went to college. Some made it through their careers without boundaries and others hit ceilings once their jobs were replaced by technology.
College is an important piece of the puzzle but it's a mistake to think that a solid college education will guarantee success in life. High school graduates should not miss out on the experience, but parents should avoid making the mistake of financially overextending because they believe a more expensive college will better prepare their kids and ensure future success. That is one of the greatest myths of our education system.
Rather than focusing on brand-name colleges, it would be beneficial to look for programs that require, or at least encourage, students to gain college credit for apprenticeships or internships that work along side traditional classroom courses. This will not only result in a more well rounded graduate, but it will allow the student to gain practical skills that the classroom cannot provide. And finally, real world experience gives a student the opportunity to get a head start on creating his or her network and on building a track record through performance and contribution to the organization.