You’re leaving high school, and everyone has told you that you should go to college. Or you’re unhappy in your job, and you want to do something else; is college the answer? Perhaps you’re just not sure what to do. After all, there is a lot of stress, debt, and hard work associated with getting a degree. Yet there are also many positive points – far more positive than negative if you look more closely at it – to getting a degree.
These reasons are actually the most important thing to remember. Once you know what they are, it’s likely you’ll be a lot more motivated to get your degree because you’ll understand how important it is and what it can do for you in life. With that in mind, the best reasons for getting a degree from a university are outlined below. Remember, though, that not everyone needs to go to college. Despite the fact that having a degree can be hugely beneficial, as you’ll soon see, it’s not the right place for everyone, and that’s something you’ll have to weigh up against all the positives. You always have to make the right choice for yourself.
Better Access To Job Opportunities
The biggest reason that most people will choose to attend college and gain a degree in their chosen subject is to get a job. The fact is that even though the job market is – and maybe for some time – more difficult to navigate than it has been in the past, which is why having a degree in order to stand out from the dozens (perhaps more) people who will apply for one job is crucial.
The reality is that not only will having a degree make getting a job that much easier, but it will also give you opportunities that those without degrees don’t have. There will be jobs advertised that specifically ask for people with a degree, which instantly rules out anyone who has not been to college to study. The numbers suggest that over 80 percent of all job adverts ask for a degree of some kind. Imagine not having this qualification and only therefore having access to 20 percent of all jobs posted. Along with the competition for these jobs, it would make finding a career incredibly difficult and stressful, and it would be easy to end up with a job you didn’t like.
In a job market that seems to be getting smaller every day, having an edge when it comes to your application has to be important. One of the best ways to get this edge is to obtain a degree. It shows potential employers that you take your future career seriously and that you want to do well.
Go Into A Specialized Career
Although there are many careers that don’t technically require a degree to do the work (although some employees will, as we have said, still request one, as it shows them the candidate is able to focus, research, be organized, work hard, and so on), there are some careers that absolutely need a degree in order for those working within them to do their jobs.
One such career is nursing. It would not be possible for someone with no degree or a degree unrelated to nursing and healthcare to be successful in applying to become a nurse. The degree you take when nursing is your ultimate goal must teach you how to be a nurse – there is no question about it.
In this case, there is no choice when it comes to whether or not you get a degree and go to school; it’s crucial. If nursing is something you’re interested in, there are a number of options open to you, however. There is the traditional school route where you go to a physical building every day and listen to lectures, of course, but there are also online nursing programs that allow you a lot more flexibility. This means you can spread your learning over a longer timeframe if need be, so even if you didn’t think a college course was something that was possible for you, you can still enjoy the career you want if you work online. It’s certainly something to think about, especially if the career you are interested in specifically needs a degree, such as nursing, teaching, law, and so on.
Right now, there is a big demand for college graduates – this is evidenced by the fact that over three-quarters of all advertised jobs require candidates to have a degree, as mentioned above. However, interestingly, it is predicted that this need for employees to have a degree is actually going to rise. Employers need people who have the skills gained not just from learning about one particular subject (although that can be highly useful) but also the skills gained from attending college and understanding how to study as well.
It is these additional skills that offer you the increased marketability you need to do well in your hunt for a job and in your career as a whole. You’ll have a competitive advantage over many other people, so it’s wise to consider these additional skills and ensure they are listed on your resume. Have some examples to back up your claims of what you have learned so that in your interview, you can explain exactly how you can do what is asked of you and why you would make an excellent candidate.
What skills do we mean when we talk about these ‘extra’ abilities? Some of them will include:
- Critical thinking
- Problem -olving
- Analytical skills
Any of these – and other similar skills – will be a bonus when you are searching for a job. They mean the employer can get the most out of you, and you can get the most out of the work you are given.
The term ‘economic stability’ might sound like an oxymoron at this point – we all know the economies of many larger nations are having some major troubles right now – but the fact is that you will still need to work no matter what is happening within the economy. When we talk about economic stability, we mean your own personal financial health rather than the larger picture.
Although it can’t be guaranteed that you will earn a significant amount more than someone without a degree (it really depends on the exact circumstances and the job in question), it is possible to know that your job is a lot safer. In other words, in an unstable world, you can rely on an element of job stability that others – those without degrees, for the most part – cannot.
Again, it will depend on what profession you have chosen; some are more stable than others (nursing and teaching are good examples of stable careers, for instance, whereas people working in the arts may have less stability), but in general terms, if you have a degree your job is usually safer than if you don’t. Or, if you do find your job in jeopardy, you will find it easier to get a new job, as we’ve mentioned.
It’s not what you know; it’s who you know. That’s an old saying that used to be entirely true; people could only really advance if they knew the right people and were ‘in’ with the right crowd. Today things are different; today, this kind of nepotism and favoritism is less likely to take place (although it still does happen, of course), and there is much more of a need for talented people rather than just those who happen to have the same name as someone else.
Yet, although that is true, networking will still be beneficial. It will be your talents and qualifications that get you furthest but knowing someone who might be able to help you get a head start or get there faster certainly is no bad thing. This is why networking can be so crucial; you can move faster in the right direction and use your degree to prove what you can do. Networking offers opportunities that you might otherwise have missed.
A Pathway To Advancement
Getting a job is one thing, but what do you want to do after that? Some people will be completely content to stay in that position until the day they retire, quite happy to keep doing the same job for decades. That’s not a problem as long as that is really what you want to do.
However, it might be that you have other ambitions and you want to get further in your career. Even if you didn’t need a degree to get the job you have now, it could be that you do need one to progress in it. In this case, having a degree already could be exactly what you need to show your employee you have not only the experience they are looking for but the skills and qualifications as well.
Of course, if the job you have didn’t require a degree to begin with, it might be that you don’t have the qualifications needed to move forward and climb the career ladder. In this case, going back to school might be an option to consider. In fact, speaking to your employer about this is an ideal thing to do because they might have a scheme in which they pay for your advancement degree. At the very least, they could allow you to study during work time as it will benefit them in the end. However, even if this is not the case, there are online degrees that offer the flexibility you might need to work and study, so you don’t have to give up on your ambitions.
Personal Growth and Self-Esteem
If the career you want is not one that requires a degree (as far as you can tell, at least), or you’re setting up your own business, meaning you’ll know whether or not a degree is going to be useful for you or not, you might not be sure that spending three or four years (or more if you choose a part-time, perhaps online, degree) studying for something you’re not going to officially need is worthwhile. Wouldn’t it be better to start working and learn through experience?
For some, that will be the case. As we said at the start, college is not for everyone, and if you are sure that is how it is for you, then gaining a degree may not be worth the other issues that could arise, especially when it comes to your mental health. However, if you are able to study for a degree, even if you don’t need one or can’t see the benefit of one, you will gain so much more.
The soft skills of communication and timekeeping are things we’ve already touched upon, and they are certainly crucial. However, it is the personal growth and self-esteem that you get from working towards a degree, getting through the challenges and past the obstacles, and finally emerging with the qualifications you’ve been aiming for through the years that can really make a difference.
You will be able to see that you can do everything you put your mind to. This will give you the confidence to move forward in life, even if the degree itself is not something you feel the need to use in any way. That’s not to say the degree is useless, of course, and in fact, it could be hugely beneficial, but adding the personal development element to the idea makes it much more interesting, and it could make all the difference in your career and in your life.
A college degree is not for everyone. It’s not right for some people, and it’s not going to help others get the job they want or build the career they dream of. However, for the vast majority of people, obtaining a degree qualification is going to help them hugely. It will give them an edge over the competition, offer them a better sense of self-worth, and it will teach them more than anything else ever could in terms of life skills.
If you’re wondering whether a degree would be useful for you in your life, the above points should have helped you make a decision.