A college education has numerous impacts on an individual other than just a better education. Individuals who have attended college and graduated tend to be more successful in life than those who didn't. There have been studies through the years that provide evidence showing that a college education can be very beneficial to a person and have major impacts on their lives.
The most comprehensive review to date on the question of the impact of college is found in Ernest Pascarella and Patrick Terenzini's book, How College Affects Students. They used over twenty-six thousand practical studies completed over a period of 50 years in order to what aspects of a person's life is affected during college. They concluded that an individual's
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Although the may not be dramatic, changes concerning identity, self-concept, and self-esteem during the college years consistently support a significant positive effect, are evident. The evidence tends to support generally linear gains in academic and social self-concepts, as well as "students' beliefs about themselves in such areas as their popularity in general and with the opposite sex, their leadership abilities, their social self-confidence, and their understanding of others" (p. 203). In addition, they gain in self-esteem. With the caveat that much of the research on the net effects of college on these particular outcomes is too often confounded by age and normal maturation, and absent controls for family background or other relevant characteristics, Pascarella and Terenzini concluded that "post-secondary educational attainment appears to be related positively to changes in students' ratings of themselves relative to their peers" (p. 204), in terms of both academic self-concept and social self-concept. Such effects, however, appear to be small, mostly indirect, and interrelated with other characteristics.
As far as changes in relating to others and the world around them, Pascarella and Terenzini concluded that, "students' relational systems change during the college years," including increases in "students' freedom from the influences of others, … in non-authoritarian thinking and tolerance for other people and their views, in