I’m barely halfway through college, yet, so I’m not entirely qualified to answer this prompt. I’d love to share my take, although I’m not sure if my opinion will be the same ~10 years down the line.
I get the feeling that while college does little to “educate” you, it empowers you greatly. It’s true that the academic structure helps maintain your focus while you learn new skills and polish old ones. The academic content itself may be debatable. Living in a residence hall, learning to make independent decisions, knowing when to reach out for help: never have these abilities been honed as they have in college. A college community also provides a sheltered outlook into the “real world”; somewhere that there’s still scope for you to learn from your mistakes before you move on into the unforgiving places. Personally, I feel that my biggest earning from college has been the resources and the opportunities that it provides. Nowhere before have I had such limitless access to guidance, research opportunities, job databases, library systems, diverse peoples, club activities etc.
I know I needed this stepping-stone to find myself ready to face what comes next.