There are a number of reasons why people decide to go to college. College has been overly hyped and is no longer just a vehicle to a better job. People go to college for all of the wrong reasons. This could be due to colleges trying to market how great the college such as sports, clubs, the college life, etc. Realistically none of this is why you should go to college.
College is an investment and like any good investment you should look for the best bang for your buck. If you remove all of the other stuff like emotions, glorified college experiences, preconceived notions of college and other reasons for why you would choose to go to one place over another then it comes down to money.
When in high school all high school counselors tell you to get a scholarship, apply for grant money, etc. We all know its not that simple and in these days with the price of college going through the roof most scholarships are not going to cover the full cost of college anyway.
You really only have two choices when choosing to go to college which is to work and pay for college or to take out loans for the full thing and deal with the consequences later. In theory, if you wanted to get the full college experience you would go with the latter and enjoy college to the fullest and deal with your debt when you have a degree that will help you pay back your loans with a good job. Maybe in the good old days this was a viable option but the recession has ushered in a new era where graduating with debt is no longer a safe idea. There is certainly no guarantee you will be able to secure a good job upon graduating college.
Ideally you work through college even at the cost of the “college experience.” This is clearly a personal choice but is it better to have the “college experience” and be shouldering a mountain of debt when you graduate that may take you years to pay back or forgo the “college experience” and when you graduate debt free you have the ability to start experiencing real life without your collegiate burden.
In short… Why go to college? So you can get a job that puts you in a pay grade above poverty level. To look at it as anything less than an investment is to have a misunderstanding for why you should go to college to begin with.