Should You Go to College? The Atlantic FAQ

A click, print, and paste chart for young people on the fence about higher ed.
More

Students are used to thinking of college as a requirement, or a career accelerator, or four-year party. But maybe it's best to think of it as a straightforward investment.

Before making an investment in a stock or a house, you would do research. You would consider the costs weighed against future returns. You would know there are no guarantees. It should be the same with college. Like buying a house, the most important question isn't the total price, but whether you can afford to pay it off in the long run.

For most students, the college investment "appears to pay off," according to Philip Oreopoulos and Uros Petronijevic in a wonderful new study of studies on the benefits of higher education. Their lit review covers a lot of ground, from the growth of student debt to the most lucrative majors. Here are some of their major findings, gleaned from reams of research from the past 40 years, organized in an easy click-print-and-paste FAQ chart for young people thinking about more school -- and older people debating whether college is still worth it.

This1.png


>

Jump to comments
Presented by

Derek Thompson is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he writes about economics, labor markets, and the entertainment business.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

CrossFit Versus Yoga: Choose a Side

How a workout becomes a social identity


Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

CrossFit Versus Yoga: Choose a Side

How a workout becomes a social identity

Video

Is Technology Making Us Better Storytellers?

The minds behind House of Cards and The Moth weigh in.

Video

A Short Film That Skewers Hollywood

A studio executive concocts an animated blockbuster. Who cares about the story?

Video

In Online Dating, Everyone's a Little Bit Racist

The co-founder of OKCupid shares findings from his analysis of millions of users' data.

Video

What Is a Sandwich?

We're overthinking sandwiches, so you don't have to.

Video

Let's Talk About Not Smoking

Why does smoking maintain its allure? James Hamblin seeks the wisdom of a cool person.

Writers

Up
Down

More in Business

Just In