Depending on where you are in the process, applying to college can be elusive, especially if you don't even know what you want to do in life. Here, I list uses of college outside of strictly "getting a degree".
Networking- college is an amazing opportunity for you to meet peers, future coworkers, and mentors. Finding mentors is really important for helping you decide your next career steps and college facilitates making those connections a lot. Professional organizations on campus are great things to join because they allow you to network on a scale
Skill building- outside of your major, you can build language skills, travel hacks, coding, Excel, and PowerPoint skills in a really structured and conducive environment. When I started biomedical engineering, I didn't really know I would also have to learn how to code, but I love that I got the opportunity to do that in a more structured environment just because for me, doing that on your own can be daunting
New discoveries- you'll discover a lot of new things both about the world and yourself. From new extracurriculars to new academic interests, a college environment lets you explore and change your mind in a really safe and supportive environment. At first, I thought I wanted to minor in Spanish Language, but I realized that for me, I know all the grammar rules and such, so I really wanted/needed to get more practice in the real world, which allowed me to fill my coursework with new topics that I wanted to learn about
Push boundaries- what I mean by this is that college is a very innovative space where you'll always be in one activity, job, or class that helps you defy the status quo. This could be scientific research, social science research, entrepreneurship, a project, fundraiser, engineering club, volunteer work, the list goes on
Career advancement- going to college does correlate with you getting paid more in a given field. money aside, because of the other reasons listed above, a college experience will strengthen your knowledge base for when you do enter the working world that will make you an asset to any workplace