Why a College Degree Is More Important Than Ever
Over the last couple of years, we’ve seen a lot of news about student loan debt. Today’s students can no longer work their way through college in the hopes of graduating debt-free, and some students are considering skipping university altogether to avoid it.
These students point to some of the richest and most successful people in the world, who dropped out of college to start their businesses and create great things. However, before you put down your books and decide to avoid student loan debt by avoiding college, you might want to consider a few things. Getting a college degree is actually more important now than ever before in history. Here are just a few reasons why…
66% of All Jobs in the US Require a Degree
Failing to get a bachelor’s or associate degree will automatically disqualify you from consideration for 66% of the jobs available today. While you may be able to get around this requirement if you have enough experience and enough certifications in your field, the opportunities to gain that experience will be very few and far between.
Another thing to consider here is the waning availability of jobs that require no degree. Technology is advancing at incredibly fast rates, and more and more low-level jobs are being automated each year. Whereas, at one point, you could have hoped to enter a company in a lower position and slowly rise in the ranks over the years, today those positions are being filled by automated devices or by temp workers. There is a noticeable divide in skilled and unskilled labor, and unskilled labor jobs are dwindling.
The Job Market Is More Competitive Than Ever
On a related note, while the economy has been improving since the housing crash in 2008, unemployment rates around the country are still fairly high. As a result, the job markets across the US are highly competitive, and employers can essentially pick and choose between candidates as they like. If you want to be competitive for the jobs you want, you will need to earn a degree in a related field.
This is especially important to note as more and more job searches are conducted online. Companies require candidates to fill out applications on their websites and to upload their resumes digitally. They then use automated systems to pick out the keywords they want for specific jobs. If you do not have a college degree, your application may be tossed out before a hiring manager ever sees it.
Better Earnings and More Opportunities for Advancement
Recent studies have shown that full-time workers between the ages of 25 and 32 with bachelor’s degrees or higher levels of education made, on average, $17,500 more per year than workers in the same age range who had not achieved a college degree.
Not only is it more likely that you will make more money and have more opportunities for advancement, but young adults with only a high school diploma are much more likely to live below the poverty line than those who have achieved a college degree.
You can see, now, how important a college degree is to your success. While education has become much more expensive over the years, there are ways to alleviate those expenses (e.g., grants, scholarships, online schools, etc.), and the benefits far outweigh the costs. If you’re considering whether or not you should go on to college after high school, or whether you should take the time to go back to school, these studies and statistics should be very convincing. College degrees may cost more today, but they are also far more valuable than they have ever been before.
3 Tips for Finding the Right College or University – And How to Pay for It
Getting a good college education is essential to find work in most fields. Of course, then there’s the problem of paying for your education. 30 years ago, you might have been able to get a part-time job to pay for your tuition while you attended classes, but those days are long gone. It’s not unusual for students to graduate with over $100,000 in debt, but that actually doesn’t have to be the case if you can find the right school and the right grants.
That’s why we’ve put together a few of our top tips for finding the best school for you, getting the grants you need, and figuring out if you actually need to go to a physical campus or if you’d be better off with online classes.
Know Your Academic Goals
First, what are your goals? What field of study are you going to major in, and how far do you want to take your academic career? For example, if you are only planning on attaining a bachelor’s degree, you may not be as concerned about student loans and debt as you would be if you were planning to continue on with a post-graduate degree.
If you are planning to go to graduate school, you may want to consider a local college or university where you can get in-state tuition for your undergraduate degree. This will save you money, with or without grants, and then you can focus on a more prestigious graduate degree. This is an especially good option for those in fields where research and teaching assistantships are common for graduate students. These assistantships often pay for some or all of your graduate tuition, so you won’t have to worry as much about how much it will cost you to earn your next degree.
Look for Grants in Your Field
Next, depending on your financial standing (and your parents’ income), you may qualify for some federal financial aid. This will often come in the form of student loans that you’ll have to pay back, though. So it’s a good idea to search online for federal and private grants that may apply to you, such as the SMART (Science and Mathematics Access to Retain) Grant or the TEACH (Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education) Grant.
Consider Online Schools
Online colleges and universities are still a fairly new phenomenon in the world of academia. However, they have come a long way in a very short time. In fact, there are now online schools that accept FAFSA loans and grants. Because they do not maintain physical campuses, these schools are able to provide the education you need with a much smaller price tag.
Plus, when you consider that you will not have to pay for room and board, transportation, or other fees associated with attending a physical university, online universities and colleges become even more attractive. And, if you qualify for a Pell grant or another type of private or federal grant, you can make your tuition even more affordable.
Your education should take you to the next level and help you achieve more in your career. You shouldn’t have to start your career with a massive amount of debt, though. With these tips, you can focus on finding the right program and the right school for you. Remember that there are numerous grants and scholarships available, and that not all students today gain their degrees at physical universities. An online school may be the right place for you to earn your first (or next) degree.