Why People go to University

As an SAT tutor, I often ask my students why people go to a university or college. Oddly enough, the answers are not always what you’d expect. There are some obvious reasons to go to university, and there are other reasons that are, well, not so obvious.

Money Money Money

The first and most common reason I get for going to university is simple: money. A college degree allows a person to get a better job. Study after study has shown that college graduates get further along in their careers and make more money over the course of their lives compared those who do not get a degree.

Of course, there are many examples of people who do well in life financially without ever going to college. But in general, you’re more likely to make better money with a degree.

Social Networking

College is the original social network. I once asked why people go to college to one of my SAT classes and a boy in the back of the room yelled out, “GIRLS!” Yup, this is a common reason that high school kids want to go to college – to meet girls and/or guys. By the time high school is over, most students are ready to branch out socially. College offers a chance to meet dozens of new faces – one of which could very likely become a husband or wife.

In addition to romantic entanglements, college offers the chance to meet potential contacts in an upcoming career. Many people find business partners and others who can help them in their career during their time in college.


One of the other more common answers to this question is a one-word answer: Freedom. High school students are generally ready to get away from their parents and experience the freedom of being on their own for the first time. In college, no one is there to track what you’re doing every day. There are no curfews. No one is watching your back all the time. Of course, with this freedom comes great responsibility – but there is little doubt that college students relish their new found freedom.

Most parents of high school students who read this may be more than a bit horrified at the thought that their child is in college for any reason other than academics. There is also little doubt that academics and the advancement of a career path are the primary reasons a person goes to university – but that certainly doesn’t mean there aren’t other benefits as well.