There’s no shortage of half-truths and outright lies about college out there. Here are five of the most insidious college myths in circulation, so you can stop freaking out about the falsehoods. Instead, feel free to simply nod and smile when you hear them, knowing you’ve been empowered with the truth about college.
Myth: Liberal arts majors are a waste of time. We go to college to learn, but most of us would like to emerge with a few good job prospects, too. This is a key factor behind the influx of “marketable” majors like business and engineering. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with studying business and engineering if those subjects interest you. But don’t be fooled into thinking that English lit and history majors are doomed to a life in their parents’ basement. Skills like communication, critical thinking, and problem solving top employers’ wish lists, and liberal arts majors possess those skills in spades.
Myth: If you don’t go to college right after high school, you’ll never get there at all. The implication here is that if you don’t maintain academic momentum, you’ll get busy or lazy and decide that college is just not worth the commitment. But the benefit of taking time off before college can be figuring out what you really want to be when you grow up. The more focused and mature you are (which isn’t always correlated with age, but it can be), the more likely you are to take advantage of and appreciate everything college has to offer. In any event, there’s no wrong time to go to college – whether you’re 18 or 88.
Myth: Ivy League college = instant success OR No-name college = no point. So you got accepted to Harvard, Yale, or Princeton. Nice work. But don’t think the name on your diploma is enough to set you up for life. Because believe it or not, what you do in college matters more than what school you attend. That goes double for those enrolled in the lesser known colleges, or even (gasp!) community colleges – you are not destined for obscurity. It’s your hard work, leadership, and impeccable interpersonal skills that will woo employers, not the name of your alma mater.
Myth: You’ll never be able to afford it. It’s no secret that college is expensive, and costs seem to skyrocket with each passing year. But try not to get deterred by financial fears. Federal and school-based financial aid is available, as is scholarship cash. If that’s not enough, consider attending a college that’s a little less pricy. One tried-and-true money-saving technique is to attend a community college for your first two years and transfer to a four-year school to finish your degree. An underutilized option is to negotiate the financial aid package your school offers – yes, you can do this, and yes, it can seriously lower your college bill.
Myth: It’s the most important time of your life. College can be an incredibly eye-opening, life-changing experience. There’s nothing quite like it. But saying these years are the best of your life is shortsighted to say the least. So many other life experiences are worth anticipating – your first “real” job, a family of your own, the time when you finally stop worrying what everyone else thinks of you and you’re free to become who you really are. College can be a defining moment of your life, but it’s certainly not the only one. The best is yet to come.
With Thanks to: Robyn Tellefsen