First, you should understand that college training has a much greater significance today than it did earlier. More than a century ago, work most often involved physical labor. As the twentieth century progressed, however, more and more work became administrative or managerial, though physical skills were still in demand. Following World War II and in the 1950s in particular, as a bigger share of the population had access to free public high schools, workers developed skills more exclusively suited for office work. At present we are clearly in a service- and knowledge-based economy, where the skills developed through a college education are the ones driving both economical and personal growth.
But is now the right time for you to attend, and what schools might best suit your circumstances? Getting through college successfully may actually depend on your being at the right school in the first place. The College Board, the preeminent organization connecting students to colleges, lists nearly four thousand accredited colleges and universities. The options are nearly limitless. You should choose based on who you are and what is right for you (not on what your parents did or didn’t do, or what your friends are doing).