For Your Life's Purpose

Does A College Education Make A Difference?

Does higher education matter?

A brief survey of our corporate, military, political, and community leadership…at the national, state, and local level…affirms that it does matter. It is very difficult to find leaders in this country that are without a college education.

That is not to say that one must have a college degree in order to make a difference. Harry Truman served as the President of the United States without having had a college education. Scott Walker is the Governor of Wisconsin and he does not have a college education. Leadership, of course, occurs at every level across this country. Leadership permeates all aspects of our society and many, many great things happen with folks who were never afforded or desired higher levels of education.

But for those who are able and willing…

Across the globe, America “stands out” as a beacon for other nations with our high participation levels in higher education. The desire for international students to come to America for a college education is unlike anywhere else in the world. This all suggests that a college education matters if you have aspirations for contributing in a variety of ways for the common good outside of your immediate surroundings.

Economically the conclusion is the same. A recent report from the Pew Research Center offers us insight the economic benefits of a college education.


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An experience at a Catholic college or university offers you preparation for your economic well being not just for those years immediately following graduation….but for a lifetime. Rather than considering the time on campus as merely job training, an authentically Catholic experience will focus the educational experience on the whole person (intellectual, physical, and spiritual) to ensure you are able to adapt to the changing circumstances as your life unfolds.

As you live out your life’s purpose, you will encounter situations that will demand you think beyond the moment…you consider long-term consequences…you reflect in a meaningful way on the bigger picture. These skills will not be fully developed if the goal is only, “out the door in four.”

As you consider your dreams and goals in life…do any of them exist in only a single dimension? Probably not. Your preparation ought not to be focused, then, on a sole aspect of “getting ready” to live your dreams. Life doesn’t work that way….but you already know that! It is complex…and difficult…and often a challenge to discern the best course you should choose to achieve any worthwhile goal. This wonderful gift of choice that we have been given…unlike any other creature on the planet…is meant to be unwrapped over time. Preparations that are well-rounded will make for an easier and richer experience as one enjoys this unique gift.

College can help you maximize your time and effort in your final preparation phase. College can lay a foundation for how to think…where to look for answers. Higher education studies can offer you inspiration from others who came long before us and wrestled with the same kinds of issues and questions that you will deal with in your lifetime. And a college education that is mindful of you, as a unique person, and your overall development can literally change your circumstances.

Does the money matter? Sure…with additional resources you can improve your quality of life and increase your ability to make a variety of contributions including to those that are underserved and underprivileged. That is unquestioned.

Does only money matter? Is there more to life and your purpose on earth than simply economic rewards? If there is…how ought you prepare yourself? Where should you go to ensure you are as ready as-can-be for your life’s journey?

These are questions for you to ponder…listen for that inner voice to help you find the answers.

Timothy J. Collins, Ed.D.

Researcher
DR. TIMOTHY J. COLLINS has been involved in Catholic education for nearly three decades. He earned his doctorate from Benedictine University in Lisle, Ill. Collins is the Chief Government Relations Officer at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory.
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The mission of CatholicHigherEd is to assist students, parents, colleges, and universities identify those unique characteristics that serve as visible guideposts for a strong Catholic higher education experience.
©2018 Timothy J. Collins, Ed.D.