How To Succeed in College/Benefits of College

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Benefits for Women vs. Men[edit]

Women have made substantial advancements in their educational attainment in the past 30 years. Although women are supposed to have equal rights under the law, they don’t always receive equal treatment or equal opportunities as do men. In light of the advances women have made, some have begun to worry that men are suffering as a result. There is no compelling evidence to support that claim. High school graduation rates for men and women are climbing together, as are test scores.[1] Males and females have similar scores when compared by geographic regions; the highest scoring states for boys were also the highest scoring states for girls and 3 out of the 4 lowest scoring states for boys and girls were also the same.

While 4% more women graduate from high school than do men, there are disparities among women. 95% of white women graduate from high school, but just 67% of Hispanic woman do. These disparities are relevant when comparing men and women. White women are outpacing their male counterparts, but black women are not.[1] Despite the gaps by ethnicity, a higher percentage of students from disadvantaged groups are reaching levels of proficiency than ever before.

Males and females have also been shown to do better in different subjects. Males generally outscore females by a small margin in math. Females tend to outscore males in reading subjects by a larger, but still small, margin. The gaps between the two genders have remained steadily the same since 1970. This consistency indicates that improvement in womens’ education hasn't been detrimental to men’s education; the real concern in education has to do with income level and ethnicity, not gender.[1]

Females are outperforming males in high school and they aren’t taking easier classes. Females generally earn more credits than boys for math and science courses and get higher GPAs. Generally more girls in each racial group graduate from high school than boys do, as well.[1] While females are doing well in primary and secondary education, males continue to outperform females on SAT and ACT tests, at least on some portions. On the SAT males averaged higher than girls in the math portion and have for the past twenty years. They also averaged higher in the verbal portion; although there the gap was smaller. For the ACT males also typically score higher on math and science sections and females tend to score higher on the reading and English sections of the test. From 1994-2004, according to the average of both the verbal and reading portions of the SAT, males scored higher than females in each racial group except among African Americans, where females now outscore males. On both the SAT and ACT math portions of the tests the gender gap was the largest for Hispanic, white, and Asian American students. African Americans did not have a very wide gender gap compared to other racial groups.[1]

As far as college goes, more women are attending than are men, and the number keeps rising. From 1969-1979 men earned more college degrees than women did, but from 1980 through the present women have been earning more college degrees than men have. Women who go to college also have personal benefits. Their higher wages will protect them against poverty; they have a lower rate of becoming pregnant while not married; and they have a lower risk of getting a divorce.[1]

Despite their education advances, women still make less money than men do in the workplace. In 2005, the mean full-time worker salary for women was only 77 percent of men’s. As for workers that have graduated from 10 years of college, the AAUW Educational Foundation reported that women only received 69 percent of men’s wages in 2003. Taking into consideration that women take maternity leave and take time off to bear children, the difference in women’s and men’s wages is still not accounted for. Women today are still working towards equality in the workplace.[1]


Individuals with higher levels of education have seen greater percentage gains in their median earnings from 1970 to 2007. While women with college degrees have seen a greater relative increase since 1970 relative to men, women still make less than do equally qualified men, though the gender earnings gap has narrowed some since 1970. College graduates have had a higher increase in their income than Americans without a college degree. The median household income of college educated married men has increased 12% higher than that of college educated married women, however, the median earnings of those men declined while the median earnings of college-educated women increased.[2]


Men and women are now much more likely to marry someone with more education than they did previously. Usually adults would marry within their education and income bracket. The number of husbands with college-educated wives has risen while the number of women with a college-educated husband has fallen. There are more college-educated women now than there are college-educated men, so this accounts for, in part, why more college-educated women have a less educated spouse.[2]

Adults with higher education almost always have a higher income than adults without college education. Having a college education makes adults more desirable for marriage from a financial standpoint. Men are more likely to marry someone with more education than they have than women are now. Adults without a high school diploma are also the least likely to have a spouse working in the labor force. It used to be that a college-educated man would be the least likely to have a working wife.[2]

Surveys show that women with higher education have more decision-making power in a marriage, most notably when it comes to major purchases and household finances. Marriages are less likely to occur now than previously as more people cohabit, though the least educated are the most likely to cohabit and they have the highest divorce rates. People are also marrying for the first time at an older age, and there are more divorces now than in the past.[2]

Economic Growth[edit]

Higher societal levels of educational attainment in a country have been shown to translate into economic growth. While education benefits individuals, it also is a necessary precondition for long-term economic growth.[3]


  1. a b c d e f g Corbett, Christianne, Catherine Hill, and Andresse St. Rose. 2008. Where the Girls Are: The Facts about Gender Equity in Education. American Association of University Women Educational Foundation. 1111 Sixteenth Street NW, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 202-728-7602; Fax: 202-463-7169; e-mail:; Web site: Retrieved August 25, 2011
  2. a b c d Fry, Richard, and D’Vera Cohn. 2010. Women, Men and the New Economics of Marriage. Pew Research Center Retrieved August 24, 2011
  3. Lutz, Wolfgang, Jesus Crespo Cuaresma, and Warren Sanderson. 2008. “The Demography of Educational Attainment and Economic Growth.” Science 319(5866):1047 -1048.