Maximize college ROI. Have you heard that one before? ROI (or return on investment) is most commonly used in the business world as companies evaluate the efficiency of their financial investments, or to project the performance of potential business initiatives. However these days, more and more people are now pausing to calculate the potential for return on investment when it comes to their college education.
College has a lot of benefits. Beyond the education factor, are the benefits of new social experiences, friendships formed, and just leaving the nest and getting outside of your comfort zone. However, the question coming up more and more these days is…
Does the cost of college now outweigh the benefits?
According to recent survey data from U.S. News, the average costs of tuition and fees for the 2018-2019 school year are:
- $35,676 at private colleges
- $21,629 for out-of-state students at state schools
- $9,716 for state residents at public colleges
These figures don’t even take a student’s cost of living into account. And even the lowest cost option, the in-state public colleges, have increased the cost of tuition and fees 243% over the last 20 years.
Whether you are racking up student loan debt, or your parents are covering the cost of college, that’s a lot of money. Not to mention it’s all trending in a scary direction.
According to personal finance site, Make Lemonade, student loan debt in 2018 has reached $1.5 trillion across more than 44 million borrowers, with the average student from the Class of 2017 graduating with about $40,000 in student loan debt. So this begs the next question…
How can you maximize return on investment (ROI) for your college degree?
Assuming you want to make the most of your college education, the goal is to launch with a solid job upon graduation. One that not only starts you off in a good earnings bracket, but one that puts you on a trajectory to earn more, faster. That’s how you pay off student loan debt, and maximize college ROI — by earning more, faster.
And that’s how you ensure you’re not paying off student loan debt at the expense of forgoing your desired quality of life. The thought of graduating and entering the real world rat race in a deficit is daunting. But graduating with all of that financial stress, plus no solid job prospects, that is enough to throw you into a tailspin.
If the above isn’t sinking in yet, findings from a recent Strada-Gallup Alumni survey will help paint the picture for you. The percentage of 2010-2016 college graduates surveyed who are now earning $60,000 or more per year are:
- 43% of those who had a good job waiting for them upon graduation vs.
- 18% of those who took 2 to 12 months to acquire a good job after graduation vs.
- 14% of those who took over a year to acquire a good job after graduation
Whether you’re trying to pay down student loan debt or not, wouldn’t you rather be earning $60,000 per year and climbing? If your answer is yes, then you need to focus on landing a good job by the time you graduate.
Why make internships a priority while you are in college?
Well, because internships increase your chances of landing a good job upon graduation. According to 2017 Gallup-Purdue Index data, recent graduates (between the years of 2002-2016) who had a relevant job or internship while in college, were more than twice as likely to acquire a good job upon graduation.
And if you’re hoping to acquire a job related to your field of study, the data shows that having a relevant internship in college increases your chances there as well. My journey to successful launch upon graduation is proof.
My combined internship experience in both the performance training and business aspects of the sports industry, led to my resume standing out to my future employer. Which led to not only my acceptance of a job offer a few months before graduation, but also put me in a position to negotiate my salary based off my cost of living calculations. This was a huge benefit for me as a 21-year-old college grad who was about to move 2,500 miles across the country, to a place where I knew nobody.
Securing a relevant and exciting job, plus the salary I needed to thrive on my own, before ever walking across that graduation stage — that was maximizing my college investment by way of internship experience. And putting myself on a path to earn six figures in just five years from graduation — that was also maximizing my college investment by way of internship experience.
I loved my college experience. But I also love that I’m not crippled by the heavy weight of student loan debt or extended periods of unemployment.
So where can you start taking action today to ensure that you are maximizing your own college ROI? It is never too early to start acquiring internship experience. I strongly encourage you to make internships a priority — starting now. And if you need some help on your internship journey, I’m here for it. I’ve written about creative ways to land your next internship and I’ve shared numerous networking tips for college students in my video series on building your network. It’s time to start your own intern hustle journey, don’t you agree?