Patrick Dwyer Merrill Lynch Miami looks at the true benefits of a college education

It’s one of those things that some people take for granted and in some ways, a college education has become somewhat more “normal”.

Of course, it’s still hugely expensive, and this means that not one single person in the world is just going to expect to go to college – there are a lot of financial factors to consider, amongst other issues.

This is something that Patrick Dwyer Merrill Lynch Miami knows all about. He has carved an extremely successful career in the financial industry and during the early days, he relied heavily on his strong education to net him those first posts.

We have today tapped into his knowledge to query what the true benefits of going to college are. The industry-specific knowledge you obtain from a specific course isn’t the only valuable thing you get from attending college. In fact, there are many different benefits to going, all of which that can help you reach your life and career aspirations. 

The financial factor

As we have already said, going to college is now considered more normal. Ultimately, it means that a lot of employers expect that you will have a college degree behind you. This is because, as it becomes more of the norm, people having this level of education has become standard. Therefore, having this minimum requirement ensures that these businesses are getting the best candidates that they can. 

While there are cases of individuals earning high sums of money without a degree, these are becoming few and far between. Most employers will more or less demand that you possess one and without it, you won’t be considered for a post. This is true whether you are applying for jobs in Miami, or a completely different state.

Following on from the above, it stands to reason that college graduates earn more than those who don’t have such education behind them. In a nutshell, going to college opens the door to a broad career and gives you options in the future. This is particularly true if you’re interested in going into a specialist field, as you will need to have the appropriate education to be able to get even an entry-level position in some sectors such as the medical one or law sector. That’s why people who have aspirations to be a nurse, or lawyer, or teacher should go to college and get the relevant specialist education, such as an online doctorate in education

Funnily enough, despite college being a way to ensure that you can generate a higher income for yourself in the future, many people are actually put off from attending college due to financial reasons. The main issue is that tuition fees can be expensive and, for most, require a loan to pay off, leaving students with debt that some people don’t want to hang over them. Although this debt sounds like a bad thing and could negatively impact a credit score, this isn’t the case, as most banks will ignore this as it is a very standard and common debt. Furthermore, the repayments for the loan aren’t that server and shouldn’t drastically affect your future income. 

As well as the tuition fee, other people are put off from going to college due to the financial sacrifice involved in paying rent, not being able to work while you study, and the lifestyle involved. However, in the digital age, it is now not a requirement to have to sacrifice your financial health to study in college. With online courses being a viable option, students can study at home around a flexible schedule that can allow them to keep a job, meaning that you won’t have to waste money on relocation, and you’ll be able to earn an income too. Online degrees make college far more accessible, meaning that there is now no excuse to get one yourself and better your future. 

The network factor

Of course, it’s not all about money. While this will be a big factor for a lot of people, there are other reasons why going to college is an absolute no-brainer. One of these is the network that you develop. Due to the nature of the traditional college setup, any student will undoubtedly be put in contact with their peers as well as other students. It makes college a great melting pot to interact with new people, encounter different perspectives on life and business, and build a network of people who could be useful for you in the future. 

You won’t just be rubbing shoulders with experienced professors, and other reputable people in the industry you are looking to head into, but your fellow students will also have plenty to offer in the coming years. You will meet people who will be working in the same sector as you and it’s networks like these which are invaluable as you enter the world of work.

But business and work aren’t everything. College will also help you open up your social network, and this will give you an opportunity to try new things and grow as an individual. In these environments, there are countless groups, socials, and societies that you can join, allowing you to meet people who share a common interest, which could help you pursue the things that you are passionate about a lot more. College is where many people make friends for life and have experiences that will last a lifetime and potentially shape an individual’s personality in the long run. 

Networking can be tough for people who haven’t done it before and can be even harder for those who are a bit overwhelmed or anxious about the experience. When networking in a business environment to build connections that can help boost your career, there are certain things you can do to help make it more successful. One of the main things to do is to try not to talk to everyone. This may sound like the opposite of what to do, but trying to speak to everyone there will spread you too thin and lead you to waste time with people whose industry and interests don’t overlap with yours. Instead, identify the people where there is a genuine overlap and concentrate on speaking to these people. Spending more time with someone will ensure that you leave a lasting impression on them and could lead to better opportunities down the line. As well as this, it’s also a good idea to bring a business card or something similar that has your details, and also be sure to follow up after the event by messaging them on a social network – ideally LinkedIn – to ensure that the connection lasts and that progress is made.

You also gain other skills

When you think about college, it’s easy to think about the direct benefits. In other words, it’s easy to think about all of the technical knowledge that you will accumulate in relation to the field you are about to go in.

However, it’s also important to think about the wider picture. You will gain a lot of soft skills, which are often forgotten about when you are weighing up the pros and cons of going to college. For example, you will find out how to deliver presentations, write reports and generally, just communicate more effectively. These are skills which should not be understated; they are transferable, meaning that they will work in whatever industry that you decide to apply yourself in later in life. In short, make sure that you look at the bigger picture as you consider your options.

Some of the best soft skills that you will learn in college include: 

  • Teamwork

Teamwork is an ideal skill for a good career, as it’s very rare that you’ll be working in complete isolation when in both a business-orientated and creative career. Learning good teamwork will ensure that you can collaborate well with others, compile your ideas to produce the best quality work, and providing support and feedback when required. A good team member will be responsive to what you say and suggest and will work hard to ensure that they don’t do anything to let the others down and make things more difficult. 

Teamwork is nurtured in college through various group projects and presentations. They may be frustrating to go through at first as you and your peers learn how to work in a team effectively, but the experience will be invaluable.

  • Organization 

Every business wants its members of staff to be well organized and able to plan their responsibilities and days effectively. Being well organized does not just mean that you are tidy and have a regimented work calendar. It also means that you know how to prioritize certain tasks in terms of importance and manage your time effectively. 

Organizational skills will be obtained through college through various means, with things such as sticking to deadlines, managing multiple classes, as well as compelling notes being very useful to help someone obtain this skill.

  • Adaptability

Being stuck in your ways is not the best thing to be in a business. This is because your role might change on the fly, the way a business does things will develop and alter to fit the standards of the time, and so much more. This is why it’s good to be adaptable and have the ability to change focus and not be put off by a new way of doing things. Furthermore, being adaptable shows that you are comfortable in obtaining new responsibilities. This is crucial if you want to grow and improve in your career. Adaptability stops you from being static in your position and not advancing. 

Adaptability can be improved during college through implementing feedback and trying new experiences that are outside of your comfort zone.

  • Problem-solving 

In your career, there will be instances where a problem will arise that won’t have a straightforward solution. This is where problem-solving can be such a vital skill in business. Although communication is encouraged, not every business will want a member of staff questioning and asking for help on every task. Having good problem solving will ensure that you have a good amount of agency as well as the confidence to find the best solution to whatever you’re faced with. 

  • Leadership

Leadership is linked to confidence and understanding, and that’s what a college degree can provide. When you have obtained the required knowledge of a certain subject and are happy to use what you’ve learned to help other people, you will be able to lead effectively and manage others well. Certain college courses will also have modules that deal with leadership techniques and are highly recommended if you desire to be in charge of a business. These modules will go over things such as how to delegate, communicate with staff, as well as evaluate performance, all important things that a leader should know what to do. 


Attending college is one of the most beneficial things a student can do, as it really has the potential to kickstart someone’s life and give them the skills they need to enter the world of work in their desired field. 

It gives students a great foundation on which they can build on to help them become better employees and better people in the process, due to not only the knowledge they obtain through their courses but also how college aids personal growth. 

With a plethora of financial, networking, and personal benefits to be had, it’s a no-brainer that college should be the goal for every young person if they want to get ahead. For that reason, it’s worth researching the different institutions available to you now to help you find the ones that suit your needs and aspirations. Doing this will also ensure that you are prepared and know what is expected from you to be able to meet the entry requirements, which can help you focus your studies and give you an end goal to work towards, allowing for a more structured life in school. 

College can be the best thing to happen for a young person. Make sure you do everything that you can to attend one.