Most people don’t go to college to learn. That can be done much easier and less costly in myriad other ways.
Most people don’t go to college to become well-rounded. That can happen through any number of experiences.
Most people don’t go to pick a career. They could try working different jobs to learn quicker, and most don’t work in what they major in anyway.
Most don’t go for the practical value of the credential. I’ve never met a college student who actually inquired with employers what they view as the best credential.
Most people don’t even go to college for the social experience. How many examine all the ways to meet people, party, etc. and firmly conclude college is the best way for them to have fun?
Most people go to college to be normal.
It’s the normal thing. They want to meet normal people, make normal friends, learn normal facts, have normal experiences, and appear normal to family, friends, and future employers. They take it on faith that college is good, beneficial, educational, career-enhancing, a great social experience, worth the cost, etc., rather than really examine these oft repeated tropes. They want them to be true because they want to list these normal reasons for doing what’s normal.
College can be great. Besides, it’s too late for most of us to consider alternatives. But if you are pre-college, ask yourself what you really want out of it. Look long and hard at other ways to get what you want. Weigh the costs. Be prepared if you find college is not the best way…you may discover your best path is not normal. Are you ready and willing to bear the social costs of an abnormal choice? It might be worth it.