Op-Ed: Going to College Is a Waste of Time and Money

“You don’t go to school,” my friends usually say whenever I tell them about a mini, career-related trip to New York or my latest extracurricular project.

Jokes aside, I do go to school: I rarely miss a class, I complete all my homework and I get good grades.

Though I cherish the friendships and memories I’ve made at school, I tend to think that college is a waste of time and money.

While college used to be an option for individuals who want to learn more, it now seems like a necessary evil. According to The New York Times, the number of college applications keeps rising. Call me crazy, but I don’t think everyone creates their Common Application account because they want to sit through lectures and core curriculum classes.

Way back when, college used to be optional. It was the place for individuals who truly craved higher education. Whether you were blessed with wealth or academic superiority, college was a choice. Now, college seems more like a gateway into the new optional institution: graduate school. According to US News University Directory, the number of graduate school applicants increased by 4.3% from 2010 to 2011. If this trend continues, can we expect graduate school to become the new normal? Or is your undergraduate career already irrelevant?

So why do we endure all this higher education?

Jobs. We want to be employed. We want that awesome apartment of our own. We want money. But – as Dr. Richard Vedder told The Wall Street Journal – this goal has made getting your degree vital for most top-tiered jobs.

Though we go to college in hopes of becoming successful, that’s not always the case. According to The Huffington Post, about half of young college graduates are either unemployed or underemployed.

Not only are some college grads unemployed, the cost of tuition alone will make anyone feel a little woozy.

This summer, USA Today reported that the average cost of a four-year public college increased by 15 percent between 2008 and 2010.  And the cost to learn is still climbing.

Additionally, some colleges are even cutting back on financial aid. As The Wall Street Journal reported, the 2011-2012 school year prompted a 15 percent drop in grants and scholarships.

So basically we’re spending thousands of dollars or drowning ourselves in debt - you can thank student loans for that - in hopes to make money. Yet, half of us aren’t making money. Something does not add up.

Maybe I’m too much of an idealist, but I don’t think it’s fair that some people simply cannot afford to go to school.  When did the right to an education become so elitist?

Finances aside, college is even a waste of time for some who can afford to go to school.

Sure, certain career paths require tons of schooling. I wouldn’t let an uneducated doctor near me, would you?

However, as a journalism major, I know that I could be doing something else with my time.