Reasons to Pursue Higher Education

Why should I go to college? The way I see it, college isn't shaping the next generation into productive adults and leaders, and it doesn't help individual students achieve their personal goals. Why bury yourself in debt just because everyone else expects you to pursue "higher education"? Why waste several years of your life earning a worthless piece of paper only to end up working the same job alongside your high-school graduate friends? It just doesn't make sense.

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There’s at least one point on which you’re absolutely right. The fact that “everyone else” is doing it is not a good reason to spend tens of thousands of dollars and four or five years of your life on a college education. God does not call us to that kind of mindless social conformity. Instead, He wants us to seek and obey His will. He wants us to follow His leading wherever He chooses to take us. There is no single “one-size-fits-all” plan that He expects everyone to adopt.

To put it another way, college isn’t necessarily for everyone. It has its advantages and disadvantages. A great deal depends on your personal inclinations, your outlook on life, and what you intend to do. For some – doctors, lawyers, teachers, lab technicians, or theologians – it’s an indispensable part of professional training. For others – mechanics, commercial fishermen, carpenters, comic book artists, farmers, or law-enforcement officers – it’s a far less important piece of the puzzle. Still others may view a university course primarily as a source of intellectual nourishment and an opportunity to gain rich cultural experience. You need to figure out where you fall along this continuum before deciding whether or not to continue your college career. Only you can make that choice. We suggest you do it from within a context of earnest prayer and a heartfelt desire to serve the Lord.

That said, we should hasten to add that, from our perspective, a college education is well worth pursuing regardless of your occupational goals. A degree can open doors that won’t be opened in any other way. Among other things, many employers regard it as proof that you’re a responsible, hard-working individual. But this doesn’t mean that a university is simply a glorified trade school. As we see it, there’s an important sense in which higher education ought to be treasured for its own sake, quite apart from considerations of career or job market viability.

Why do we say this? For two distinctly Christian reasons. First, we believe that God created all things. Because of this, we also affirm that knowledge of any and every kind contributes to and informs our knowledge of Him (see Psalm 19:1; Romans 1:19, 20). Second, we are convinced that a comprehensive understanding of the arts and sciences enhances our ability to carry out the second of Jesus’ two Great Commandments: “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39). The broader our grasp of human culture and man as a creature made in the Image of God, the more we can love people in very specific and practical ways.

It goes without saying that Christians pursuing a higher education today must exercise great discernment not only in choosing a college or university but also in the way they approach their studies and interact with their professors. Many secular institutions are intrinsically hostile to the biblical worldview and present material in a way that denies absolute truth and stands in direct opposition to Christian standards.

If you feel it would be helpful to pursue this question at greater length, don’t hesitate to give our staff a call for a free consultation. Our counselors would be more than happy to discuss your situation with you over the phone.


If a title is currently unavailable through Focus on the Family, we encourage you to use another retailer.

Life on the Edge: The Next Generation’s Guide to a Meaningful Future

Welcome to College: A Christ-Follower’s Guide for the Journey

What to Expect at College

Copyright © 2011, Focus on the Family.

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