Wondering if a college degree is really worth the time and money investment? What if it doesn’t pay off? And what about the people who find success without a college degree?
Here’s the thing… those situations are more of an exception than the rule. In the real world, people without a bachelor’s degree end up earning 35% less per year than those who graduated. In addition, bachelor’s degree requirements have become more commonplace for good-paying jobs.
Overall, college is still the best way to set yourself up for success in life. Here are five reasons why.
1. Higher income
According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the average college graduate earns $78,000 per year, against an average of $45,000 per year for individuals with only a high school diploma. Even college dropouts are twice as likely to live in poverty compared with those who completed earned a degree.
In the information age, this trend will only continue, and the best jobs with higher incomes will require a college degree. Bottom line… if you want a stable career where you can build your profession and earning potential over time, college is the way to go.
2. Better employer benefits
Don’t want to end up in the gig economy with no health insurance or other safety nets? College graduates have greater access to employer benefits like paid time off, retirement savings plans and other full-time perks. In fact, degree holders are 47 percent more likely to have health insurance through their jobs than individuals with just a high school diploma.
These types of benefits can have long-term significance, especially if you live in a country with soaring healthcare costs and expensive retirement living. Having a full-time job with good benefits can help you build long-term security and savings—rather than being wiped out by an emergency or sudden health scare. You’ll have the chance to live and retire more securely.
3. Lower unemployment rates
The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics consistently shows that college graduates have lower unemployment rates than individuals who did not go to college. In February 2022, high school graduates with no college had an unemployment rate of 4.5 percent, whereas those with a bachelor’s degree had the lowest unemployment rate at 2.2 percent.
Bachelor’s degree holders have better chances of possessing the skills that appeal to employers and therefore of getting hired and earning more. Not only does unemployment decrease considerably for college graduates, but they can also move up the career ladder faster and find more career options.
4. More career opportunities
As mentioned, college graduates have a wider variety of career options than other workers do. Having a bachelor’s degree allows you to apply to many different career fields, even outside of your major. In fact, over 80 percent of jobs in four of the fastest-growing occupations—healthcare, STEM, education and government services—require a bachelor’s degree.
Having more job opportunities also means having a greater chance of finding a career that you enjoy. For example, if you majored in psychology but eventually decided that you’d prefer to teach, you could still qualify for a teaching position and could transition more easily than someone who has to start their education from scratch.
5. Stronger personal development
Earning a bachelor’s degree is a terrific way to let employers know that you’re a goal-oriented applicant who can provide great communication, leadership and problem-solving skills—all attributes which are key to the future of work.
However, a degree is much more than just proving your value to others. College helps you achieve personal growth and self-development. There’s a deeper type of learning that you gain as you pull yourself out of your comfort zone and endure the academic, personal and social challenges faced as an incoming first-year student. College challenges you intellectually while also giving you the opportunity to explore your interests, expand your mind, reach new goals and define who you want to be in the world.
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No matter where you are in completing a degree, you can do it faster—and cheaper—by knocking out college credit with Accelerated Pathways. Why not start today?