True or False: College graduates earn more than twice as much over a lifetime versus those with only a high school diploma.
True or False: Women who are college-educated are twice as likely to have a marriage that lasts.
True or False: Among stay-at-home mothers, the most educated mothers are the most likely to be married with a working husband.
True or False: College graduates are half as likely to be unemployed as their peers who only have a high school diploma.
True or False: Individuals with no higher education are three times more likely to live in poverty than those who have received a college degree or trade certificate.
Some of these statements may be unbelievable, but they are all true. According to research, gaining a college education can make profound differences in family stability, personal security, and even faith. In fact, among Christians in the U.S., “highly-educated Christians are more likely than less-educated Christians to say they are weekly churchgoers.” (To read more about education related statistics, see the links at the bottom of this article.) Though not quite as prized as wisdom, education can definitely yield both direct and indirect blessings.
“Seek every opportunity for education that comes your way.” This one piece of advice, received when I was a girl of 14 years, has molded and shaped my life. I relied on it when I sought mentors to help me find a way to college. I knew I wanted to get a college education, but the goal seemed elusive, if not impossible, until I found a counselor who helped me understand ways to qualify for and pay for my dream.
Are you ever too old to return to college? Maybe not. An 82-year-old woman recently graduated with a bachelor’s degree from an Idaho (U.S.) university. “It’s the only thing you can take with you,” she said of the value of education at her age. As a returning scholar myself (a middle-aged mother of six grown children), the biggest obstacle has been self-doubt. I doubt my ability to keep up with young minds, and wonder if I might be too old to make any use of the next degree. As I debated whether to return, a friend told me wisely, “You can either earn the degree while you get older, or you can just get older.” Her counsel gave me the confidence to give it a shot.
To me, seeking every opportunity for education hasn’t only meant formal education. To be honest, I probably learned the most when I was homeschooling my children. A friend likes to say, “Homeschool moms are the smartest moms!”
Other types of valuable education can come through a variety of experiences. Opportunities abound! Valuable skills can be gathered through scripture study, foreign language practice, learning a musical instrument, joining a local book club or history group, training for a variety of community service positions, and taking a community class. New hobbies are also wonderful sources of education: gardening, bird watching, plant identification, photography, astronomy, and other types of observation yield many wonderful insights to our world and help us understand the magnificence of being part of something so intricate and beautiful.
There is always something new to learn. Each new skill and concept can be gathered like a set of unique and useful tools that can be brought forward when needed. If you gather all the education that comes your way, you are ready to respond to more of life’s ups and downs and are better able to enjoy the journey along the way.
Association of Public & Land-grant Universities: “How does a college degree improve graduates’ employment and earnings potential?” https://www.aplu.org/our-work/4-policy-and-advocacy/publicuvalues/employment-earnings/#:~:text=Key%20Takeaways,is%20a%20high%20school%20diploma.
Pew Research Center:
“The link between a college education and a lasting marriage”
“After Decades Of Decline, A Rise In Stay-At-Home Mothers”
“The Rising Cost Of Not Going To College”
“In America, Does More Education Equal Less Religion?”
The Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter-day Saints: “Registered Nurse Earns Bachelor’s Degree from BYU–Idaho at Age 82”
Graduate young woman (daughter Ellie): NiCole Hale
Mother Helping Daughter: August de Richelieu
Photographing night sky: Matheus Bertelli