The student news site of Atlantic High School


The student news site of Atlantic High School


The student news site of Atlantic High School



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Is College a Necessary Investment?

Take a deeper look into the positive effects of having a secondary education.
Alyssa Neal

It is easy to believe that with the increasing growth of the job market, a college degree has become irrelevant. Although, required education is largely influenced by your professional goals, as well as your life goals. There are many reasons why graduated high school students don’t attend college. Reasons ranging from a gap year turning into an uneducated adult life, cost, deception, or other reasons, has created a significant decrease in college applicants in the present years. However, without a college education, the workforce is an unpredictable place, with no guarantee of work. To employers, a college education shows capability of thinking critically, commitment to a long term project, and the mental capacity to store new information. Furthermore, a college education influences benefits such as pay gain, and creates better chances of securing a position. 

Critical thinking is used daily in the workforce from everyday tasks to year long projects. Examples of applying critical thinking in the workplace may be sifting through useful information as well as skeptical, to produce an impactful decision, or communicating with a colleague or client. Critical thinking births revolutionary ideas, helps people make more informed and strategic decisions, solve complex problems, and increase overall productivity. Out of ten employers, nine viewed critical thinking and data analysis as “very important” or “somewhat important” (Liberal Education, 2022), both of which are developed in post-secondary education according to the University of Connecticut. Lastly, according to Director of Research and Professional Development at the Center for Critical Thinking, Richard Paul, as well as President and Executive Director of the Foundation for Critical Thinking, Linda Eder, said, “The quality of our life and that of which we produce, make, or build depends precisely on the quality of our thought.” Critical thinking is the foundation of a strong education, and is needed for success in the workforce.

Education also shows commitment to long term projects, and the mental capacity to store new information. Alike with society, most employers associate academic achievements and intellect closely. As well as intellect, a four year or longer degree shows commitment to a specific niche of the workforce, as well as a demonstration of completing the tasks necessary for an assignment. When employers notice that you have a degree, they expect you’ve been faced with such tasks and surmounted them, resulting in an added boost for college graduates in the workforce. 

One of the most convincing reasons to attend college is better pay in the workforce. In 2020 the Iowa Department of Education reported that the average wage value for high school graduates was about $33,000, which follows behind those with at least a bachelor’s degree– who on average made $51,800 yearly. Furthermore, the level of degree impacts earnings as well.

According to a study conducted by GeorgeTown CEW in 2023, the higher the degree, the higher the earnings. This study reported that on average an Associate’s degree-holder earns $1.7 million over a lifetime, whilst a worker with a Bachelor’s degree will earn $2.3 million over a lifetime. Additionally, typical earnings for bachelor’s degree owners make $40,500 (or 86 percent) higher than those whose highest degree is a high school diploma (Association of Public and Land Grant Universities). To conclude, statistics show that without a college degree, maintaining a comfortable income is not likely to be attainable. 

Moreover, without a college education the workforce is an unpredictable place, with no guarantee of work. In a study conducted by Harvard Law and Business between 2007 and 2010, they found that nine of ten job postings required a bachelor’s degree, however, the same job was offered at one business without a bachelor’s degree. Furthermore, according to the Iowa Department of Education, 4.26% of people who only attended high school are unemployed, surpassing those with a bachelor’s degree by 2.78% (U.S. Census’ American Community Surveys 2020’s Estimates for Iowa). Overall, even when a job doesn’t require a bachelor’s degree, 91% of employers choose applicants that have obtained one. (Northwestern University, 2018). In conclusion, a college degree ensures employment in adulthood, as well as financial security. 

Although college costs a major amount of money, a secondary education is something that should not be overlooked.  Free Application for Federal Student Aid, grants like the Federal Pell Grant, as well as part- time jobs can help cover the cost of education. As a college graduate, doors are opened for opportunities that cannot be passed up. Pay gain, job opportunities, and added intelligence are all benefits stemming from a college education, and are definitely worth your time.

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About the Contributors
Anna Potts
Anna Potts, AHS Needle Editor
Anna Potts is a junior involved in journalism at Atlantic High School. This is Potts’ second year going to AHS and also her second year in journalism. Exactly what does Potts do in journalism? She is involved in the newspaper and is one of the editors. Her favorite part of journalism is the First Fridays, the monthly celebrations for the entire staff. “Those are the best,” she said. She also said the worst part had to be taking the pictures. Potts' story she is most proud of that she wrote would be “my birth control story” which was about birth control becoming an over- the- counter medication. Potts was inspired to do journalism by her upperclassmen. She said for her upcoming years in high school she would like to “become a bigger role in the journalism department.” Potts is not just involved with school academics she is also part of softball,track, and tennis. Outside of school she reads her Bible, works on her new job at a law firm, and plays with her dog Loki. Best advice Potts has to give for us younger classes is “get involved with everything you can.” Story by Calianda Thompson
Alyssa Neal
Alyssa Neal, AHS Needle Senior Editor
Alyssa Neal is a senior at Atlantic High School, and has been in journalism for three years now. She is a lead editor for the AHS Needle website. Neal´s favorite part about journalism is all the different aspects there are to journalism. Neal likes that there are many different ways to hear the news so that ¨everybody in the school can hear the news how they want to hear it.¨ Neal´s favorite memory of journalism was when they went to the KCCI news center in Des Moinesand got to see where they filmed the news at. Neal is looking forward to seeing how fast and how well their AHS needle site is going to be this year because right now it's going really well. She wants to see how many badges the site will get. Her proudest story she has done is her coaches vs. cancer story that she wrote last year for Pink-Out. Other activities Neal is involved in are choir, show choir, cross-country manager, girls basketball manager, Quill and Scroll, AHS needle, and NHS. Neal´s future plans currently are to attend Northwestern Christian in Orange City,Iowa. She is unsure of what her major will be. Story by Aydrie Coffman

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