3 - College
Higher education is an investment in yourself, it will enrich your life and it may help you to obtain a more rewarding and enjoyable career. Education is, without a doubt, worth going into debt for - so long as you use the time and the money you borrow to become more educated. What many people fail to appreciate is that you pay tuition to be given the opportunity to learn. Whether or not you get your money's worth is your responsibility. You have to study in order to gain the knowledge and skills that will enrich your life and allow you to provide a valuable service to society. Higher education is not about spending money to get a diploma. A diploma is only as valuable as what it represents. What it represents depends on how much you had to learn to earn it. If all you want to do is party, I suggest taking a couple years off before you start college. The last thing you want to do is rack up a lot of debt and bad grades, neither of which will go away easily: bad grades will make it difficult for you to get a good job, the good job that you will need to pay off your debt.
There is nothing wrong with not starting college immediately after high school. Taking time to enjoy your youth and figure out what you want to do with your life is fine, so long as you don't waste this time lounging in your mom's basement. George Bernard Shaw once said, "Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself." Most people find their calling while doing something productive. Whether you start college immediately after high school or not – continue creating yourself.
Think about what you want in life. If you are like most people, you probably don't know what you want in life, even if you think you do at the present time. Nonetheless, the pursuit of happiness and the human condition are beyond the scope of this book. Think about how many years you are willing to spend in school; think about whether or not you enjoy studying.
If you hate school and studying, but want a career in healthcare, I recommend pursuing one of the careers that requires only a 2 year associate's degree such as:
Registered Nurse (R.N.)
Diagnostic Medical Sonographer
Surgical Tech or "Scrub"
Clinical Lab Tech
If you don't mind studying and are very goal oriented, go for the bachelor's degree. With a meaningful 3 bachelor's degree you can move on to do the following:
Physician (M.D. or D.O.)
Physician Assistant (P.A.)
Clinical Psychologist (Psy.D.)
Fortunately, you don't have to decide which path to take on your first day of college. Although you can minimize the time and money spent in college if you decide which path to take early on. All professional schools have required college courses that must be completed prior to applying for or starting their respective program. It is a good idea to figure out what these required courses are and figure out if there are any pre-requisites for these required courses. This way you can complete them in a timely manner and avoid losing time and spending extra money on college tuition. Required undergraduate courses for most medical, dental, pharmacy and physician assistant schools include: 2 semesters of general chemistry, 2 semesters of physics, 2 semesters of organic chemist