We hear it practically from the day we are born: go to college.  But is it the right advice for everyone?  We asked folks to look back and reflect on whether they felt college had a positive impact on their lives and whether the impact was worth the price tag.

Kristi Harris | Photographer & Stay-at-home Mama to four

College was such a huge deal for me! My parents encouraged me to start at a junior college and then transfer to the closest university, but I was hard headed and insisted that I needed to go to a university farther away right off of the bat. I knew that meant that I would have to bear the brunt of the cost, so I had to work my tail off to make it happen. I applied for every loan/grant/scholarship that I was eligible for, and ended up getting a grant but ONLY if I graduated with my degree in biology in a certain amount of time. Read more>>

Jacqueline Funkhouser | Interior Designer

While being an Interior Designer is largely a gift of talent, having a formal education in Interior Design was critical in completing the resources and techniques used in the industry. My formal education at AIID was definitely worth the price tag. Read more>>

Madi Kohn (Vayn) | Bass music producer / DJ

I had some really rad opportunities and met some awesome people (but also some not-so-awesome people) in college. I’ve had a variety of experiences over the last five years but I am grateful for what I learned from those situations. There were definitely some rough patches, but I try to look at everything as a learning experience. I’m not gonna lie- every time I think about the price tag, a little piece of me dies on the inside. I do wish I explored more options before making the decision to commit to a university immediately out of high school, but I try to not get caught up in those thoughts. Read more>>

Ashley Flug | Family, Maternity and Newborn Photographer

Ever since I can remember I always wanted to be a photographer. I went through high school photographing friends for fun and knew I wanted to go to college for photography. I went to a community college in Minnesota (that is where I am from) for 3 years. I did learn a lot in terms of shooting manual, how to use Lightroom and Photoshop and shooting and developing film (which was so much fun). We also did some basic studio photo sessions. The main thing I was able to take away from college and use in my photography career was shooting manual and using Lightroom and Photoshop. Read more>>

Denise Threlkeld | Hair Stylist & Day Maker!

I think college shaped me into the individual I am today and I would not be where I am if I had chosen a different path. That being said, I am not sure it was worth the price tag. I went to college straight out of high school because that’s what you do right? Since I didn’t really have a specific plan in mind my college path took a lot of twists and turns resulting in a large expense. I changed my major several times and ended up with a lot of credits in several different subject areas. Read more>>

Toby Riley | Art Director

I do believe that attending college and receiving a Bachelors degree positively impacted my life and career. However, my college experience as a whole, is where I find my value. For me, the life lessons I learned during my time away at college impact me more frequently than my career has been impacted from my college degree. Everyone’s college years are crucial for social skills, situational awareness and other critical character trait development. Aside from my first job out of college, I would say my design skills/portfolio speaks more to my value as an employee and designer than my degree would demonstrate. Read more>>

Sabrina Betzel | Photographer

In my case, I take college courses here and there to brush up on skills or to learn something new, but I don’t think it is for everyone. If you are 18 graduating high school and have no idea what you want to do, I would say hold off. College is a big life decision with a hefty price tag, so you should make sure you are confident and really sure in what you want to do as a career. Read more>>

Christina Mata | Photographer

Personally for myself, college did nothing for me. I know growing up as kids we are taught to go after the American dream, go to college, get a good job, buy a house and start a family. Who says you can’t achieve all that with out going to school? I had taken a few photography courses at MCC (Mesa Community College) and at Academy of Art University, and in the course of over 3 years I had spent an estimate of 14,000 on courses alone, in which I never received a degree for. I found the classes to be mediocre and I remember feeling it was beyond my skillset at the time. Read more>>

Ryan Piere | Business Owner & College Student

Yes college has made a positive impact in my life and career. I have had multiple experiences where the employer does not consider the applicant just because they have not received a degree of some sort. College has given me skills that no one can take. Two things college has taught me patience and persistence. If you consistently put the work in you will achieve everything you thrive for and more. It also felt like I was in college forever so it helped me set long term goals and come to an understanding that somethings just take time. Read more>>