When considering your career, you will likely face one of the most important decisions of your life: deciding whether to go to college. Often considered the next step after high school, college prepares you socially and intellectually to begin your career and adult life.
In this article, we’ll discuss some benefits of earning a college degree.
Benefits of a college education
Like many people, you may know you want to attend college but are not sure if the time, dedication and tuition costs are worth it. However, after carefully considering the pros and cons, you may find that the effort will be worth the achievement. Below are just a few of the benefits of earning a college degree. Use them to help you decide if going to college is the right choice:
- Higher income
- Employer-offered benefits
- Advantages for your family
- More career options
- Job security
- Job satisfaction and happiness
- Personal development
- Employer interest in furthering your education
1. Higher income
Many people seek a post-secondary degree, such as an associate, bachelor’s, master’s or Ph.D. in pursuit of careers that offer better pay but demand a more intensive skill set.
College graduates typically earn significantly more money throughout their lifetimes. It is essential to consider which field you will want to enter, as some careers will have a higher earning potential than others.
For example, pursuing creative arts or counseling may not pay as much as a career in engineering. Someone with a master’s degree in counseling still may not make as much as an engineer with only a bachelor’s degree, though that is not always the case. However, you may be more likely to stay on your career path if you are studying something you are passionate about.
2. Employer-offered benefits
Most jobs that require you to have a bachelor’s degree or higher will likely offer better job benefits. Some of these include health care coverage, retirement plans, paid time off (PTO), flexible schedules and other perks.
3. Advantages for your family
Another thing to consider, especially if you have or are planning to have a family, is how your earning potential affects them. Families of college graduates are generally financially more stable and have more opportunities available to them. Additionally, the next generation of children may be more likely to attend college.
4. More career options
When first considering pursuing a college education, you may not have decided your career path. It is common for college students to begin without declaring a major, allowing them to study core courses while talking to professors, college counselors and other students to find out what field most appeals to them. The more you learn about wages and prospective careers for your major, the more options you will likely have.
In many cases, employers only require a college degree, regardless of the field. College prepares you to enter a professional working environment and provides you with the skills you will need to succeed, such as writing skills, analytical skills and the ability to think critically. For example, you could major in history but apply those skills to a career in financial planning.
If you change careers, it is relatively common to build on your undergraduate degree and pursue a master’s degree or additional certification, further expanding your career opportunities and increasing your earning potential.
5. Job security
Another thing to consider when deciding to go to college is job security. If you are more skilled and have a college degree, you may be more valuable to your employer. This is especially the case for jobs or careers wherein college education is expected or standard.
6. Job satisfaction and happiness
If you pursue a college education, you could be more likely to find a job you will enjoy. If you need a career that brings purpose and meaning to your life, such as working in the health care industry, you will likely need a college education. For someone whose passion is improving the lives of others and caring for the sick, working as a cashier may not be as satisfying.
Related: How to Find Your Passion
Being able to expand your professional network can be helpful when starting a career. By getting to know other students pursuing similar careers and other professionals in your field, you will be able to gain professional insights you may not have otherwise.
Another great way to meet more people in your field is through student groups on campus. If you are pursuing a degree in communications or media studies, you can see if your college or university has a student media group you can join. Going to group meetings on campus will allow you to get to know others pursuing the same career as you. Your peers can help give career advice, tips for creating a resume or how to make sure you have a successful interview.
Experts in your field may even provide you with invaluable resources to help you jumpstart your career. You will likely be able to learn insider information on potential careers while improving your research and writing abilities.
8. Personal development
Besides the practical reasons for getting a college degree, also consider the personal growth you will likely achieve with higher education. Getting a college education requires you to overcome many challenges and obstacles, preparing you not only for the workplace but for the rest of your adult life.
You will also learn other skills like time management, organization and multitasking. You will show your ability to organize and manage your time effectively and efficiently to accomplish all your work.
Personal development is more than just learning practical skills. You will likely have to overcome adversity. College requires you to respond to challenges, which can range anywhere from maintaining financial responsibilities to managing multiple class projects at the same time. To do so effectively, you will have to be not only organized and good at time management but also intelligent and disciplined.
9. Employer interest in furthering your education
Sometimes, having educated employees is so crucial that companies will even pay for an employee to return to school by covering tuition costs or offering grants. A college degree can be invaluable not only to you but also to your employer. In the same way that pursuing higher education can be a way of investing in your future, covering partial or full tuition is also a way for employers to invest in their companies’ futures. If your employer offers to help pay for your college tuition, you will not only save money on educational costs, but you will also be able to expand your value as an employee.