Georgia Student Finance Commission

Going to College

College Decision Guide

Going to College

Graduating from high school is an important accomplishment. But to gain access to a career you are happy with and the future you desire, education beyond high school is necessary. 

Sometimes called “postsecondary education,” college can mean almost any type of education or training beyond high school. This can include:

  • College/University
  • Community college
  • Trade school
  • Military
  • Apprenticeship
  • Technical training


Learn tips about choosing a college at College Money Matters.



Benefits of a college education

Continuing your education beyond high school can provide access to better jobs, better pay and a career you enjoy. However when deciding what path is best for you, you might ask yourself – why can’t I get a job now?

Statistics show that students who receive some sort of training beyond high school will have a better chance of gaining and retaining employment and also tend to make more money. By 2020, it is predicted that nearly 67 percent of jobs in Georgia will require some sort of education beyond high school.1 

Did you know that graduates from college with a bachelor’s degree earn about $30,000 per year more than a high school graduate?

This chart is for adults 25 years and older with different levels of education and their average income based on their level of education.


Unemployment Rate in 2017


Level of Education Completed


Mean (Average) Earnings  in 2017




Less than a high school diploma






High school graduate, no college






Some college, no degree






Associate degree (academic program)






Bachelor’s degree






Master’s degree






Doctoral degree (e.g., Ph.D)






Professional degree (e.g., M.D., J.D.)




Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections, 2017

Staying in school and maintaining good grades isn’t easy, but the rewards for your hard work are numerous. An education beyond high school creates opportunities to pursue your dreams and achieve your goals.

1 Source: Georgetown University, Recovery – Job Growth and Education Requirements, 2014

2 Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Population Survey, 2015

Start Planning Early

Why wait? Here are a few reasons why now is the right time to start thinking about the future…

  • The colleges you consider are often related to your career aspirations. The sooner you start thinking about career options, you’re likely to have an easier time finding the right college to help you pursue your career goals.
  • There are classes you must take in grades 9-12 to qualify for admission into college.
  • The grades you make in high school definitely play a role in what college(s) you are accepted to and they might also help you pay for college. 

Not sure college is for you? The traditional 4-year college experience isn’t for everyone. Here are some other options to consider, but don't wait. Planning is the key to success no matter which route you take.

  • There are 22 colleges in the Technical College System of Georgia and 98 percent of graduates are presently continuing their education or employed in careers from accounting and air conditioning to veterinary technicians and web developers. See more of Georgia's Hot Careers that you can get with an associates degree.
  • If you're interested in serving, there are military programs that can help pay for college with an agreement to join the Georgia National Guard or any branch of the armed services of the United States.
  • While postsecondary education is important, there are many employment opportunities available with just a High School Diploma or Equivalent (GED). But positions like electricians and plumbers still require some training or apprenticeship to showcase to your employer your ability to do the job.

Virtual Advisor