Why Is Earning a College Degree Important?
In the past, a high
school education provided students with basic academic and life skills, and many
students were employed in career fields soon after graduating from high school.
Today, a bachelor’s degree is generally the minimum required for even entry
level office work. Earning a college degree not only improves your chances of
finding a job; it also increases your earnings. According to the U.S. Census
Bureau, college graduates earn an average of $23,291 more per year than their
counterparts with just a high school diploma. Over the course of an employee’s
working life, this translates to a difference of more than
What if I Can’t Afford College?
the federal government offer different forms of financial aid programs to
students completing their first college degree. Much of this aid comes in the
form of grants or work-study programs that do not have to be repaid upon
graduation. There are plentiful scholarships available based on a variety of
factors including academic achievement, student need, activities and
affiliations, and racial or ethnic group. Even if these resources don’t pay for
all of a student’s college education expenses, additional funding can be
obtained in the form of student loans. While loans do need to be repaid after
graduation, most loans have a 6 month grace period so that a new college
graduate has time to find a job and get established.
Applying for Financial
The best way to get started in applying for aid is to complete
the FAFSA – the Free Application for Federal Student Aid – in January of the
year that you plan to start attending college. Once the FAFSA is processed,
schools will use this information to determine your eligibility for financial
aid programs. Other resources for funding your college degree are high school
and community college career centers. High schools and community colleges also
staff academic counselors to help match students with scholarship programs and
guide students through the application process.
Does College Your
College majors matter, but perhaps not in the way
that you think. Certain fields – like nursing and social work – require
specialized college degrees. Choosing to major in one of these fields provides
pre-professional career preparation. Many other jobs that prefer or require a
bachelor’s degree simply want to see that you have a good basic general
education. If you are interested in working in general administrative or
secretarial work, don’t worry about your major – the best major to choose is the
one that most interests you. If you are interested in the subject matter that
you study, you will be motivated to complete your college degree.
What About Vocational Programs?
If academics are not your strong
suit or you simply need to enter the workforce quickly, a bachelor’s degree is
not the only kind of college degree. Technical schools, vocational schools, and
community colleges offer many direct-entry professional programs in a diverse
range of fields from health care to skilled labor.
Investing in Your
Whatever type of college program you choose, treat your
education as an investment in your financial future. Like many good things in
life, a college degree can be challenging, but is well worth the rewards in the
long run. Getting a college education will ensure that you have the best chance
of a rewarding career and financial stability in the long term.
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