We’ve all heard pretentious talk (usually from public “servants”) about the wonders of “higher education.” It may indeed round some edges, but I think college — at least the public, liberal arts variety that I’m familiar with — is a colossal waste of money.
The workforce is where you will really learn a trade that people will pay you to do. I think of a college degree as a piece of paper that opens additional doors to employment. Many employers — often for no good reason, in my experience — will simply not hire those without a degree. Therefore, a degree is wise for many people. Just keep in mind that after you’ve been employed in the workforce for a few years, most employers will only care about your job experience and aptitudes (the best job training is a job).
Therefore, I have counseled several kids to simply go where they can afford a degree. It is absurd to go $100K in debt for a bachelor of arts. Does it really matter if you have a BA from Ohio State after a stint at a community college versus a similar degree from an expensive small college? It may not be exciting, it may mean classes in big barns with projectors, but in my opinion the cheapest route is generally preferable to many years in debt. You won’t miss dragging that ball-and-chain around into your thirties. (Does it make any sense for a young woman in particular to go tens of thousands of dollars in hock? When a young fellow meets that lass, is he going to be thrilled to take that debt into a marriage?)