Benefits of Earning a College Degree
Sure, there are a lot of naysayers out there who claim a college education just isn't worthwhile anymore. With so many dissenting opinions, it can be difficult to decide whether or not the benefits of a college degree justify the costs. However, data from a wide range of reputable sources (such as the U.S. Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics) suggests that individuals with a college degree are much more likely to enjoy a host of life-long benefits than individuals without a college degree. Here are some of the main benefits of a college degree:
1) College Graduates are More Attractive to EmployersIndividuals with college degrees are 1) more likely to be offered a position by an employer, and 2) are qualified for a wider range of opportunities. For these two reasons, there are many more job opportunities open to college graduates than there are to individuals without a college education.
Why is a college graduate more likely to be offered a position? For one, people who have completed a college degree of some kind tend to have stronger analytical thinking skills than those who haven't. Secondly, completing a college degree demonstrates something very important: that you have the persistence and dedication necessary to finish what you start. These two factors alone--apart from the specific skills you acquire throughout college--are enough for most employers to choose the college graduate any day of the week.
In many fields (engineering, finance, education, healthcare, etc.), a bachelor's degree is required even for entry-level positions. It's easy to see, therefore, how a degree opens up a whole vista of opportunities that would simply be inaccessible otherwise. The potential opportunities are even greater in number for those with graduate degrees. Earn a terminal degree in your field, and the sky's the limit.
2) College Graduates Earn More MoneyOf course there are exceptions to this (or any) rule, but statistically speaking, college graduates have a much higher earning potential than individuals with no college education. In fact, the U.S. Census Bureau reports that the median annual earnings of individuals with a bachelor's degree is roughly twice the amount earned by individuals with only a high school diploma ($42,783 vs. $21,569). That's a big difference. The U.S. Census Bureau study goes on to suggest that education level is actually the biggest determining factor for earning potential, and that earning potential increases significantly as education level increases.
These findings are echoed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, who report the median weekly earnings of college graduates to be almost exactly double the weekly earnings of individuals with only a high school diploma ($1300 per week vs. $652 per week).
In terms of lifetime earning potential, the trend remains consistent: individuals with a high school education earn about 1.2 million dollars over the course of their lifetime, whereas individuals with a bachelor's degree earn about 2.1 million dollars--roughly double the amount. In other words, data suggests that a college degree could actually earn you a million dollars more over the course of your lifetime!
3) College Graduates are More Satisfied with their JobsJob satisfaction plays an enormous role in our overall happiness level, and with good reason: most of us spend the majority of our waking time working!
College graduates tend to be more satisfied with their jobs than individuals without a college education. The reasons for this are not surprising. The jobs held by college graduates 1) Pay better, 2) Offer better benefits, 3) Offer more opportunities for advancement, and 4) Are typically in a field which interests them.
4) College Graduates Receive Better BenefitsAs anyone who's ever looked for a job before knows, benefits are a huge deal. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that college graduates are much more likely to be offered health insurance by their employer than individuals with a high school education or less (74.5% vs. 53.3%).
And it's not just healthcare. College graduates are more likely to receive such benefits as retirement matching, tuition reimbursement, travel compensation, childcare, and paid vacation. In terms of earnings, such benefits packages are significant, and can equal a worker's take-home salary in monetary value.
5) College is a Great Place to Make Professional and Social ConnectionsFor those interested in career advancement, college offers a huge number of opportunities to network and connect with other members of your field. What's more, the number of networking opportunities increases as the level of education increases. In many fields, who you know is just as important as what you know, and college is the perfect arena to improve in both areas.
College is just a great place to meet people, regardless. With all the activities, clubs, organizations, and services provided on college campuses, meeting people in college is typically a lot easier than meeting people elsewhere. In fact, it's quite common for students to meet life-long friends and even spouses during their schooling.
6) College Graduates Fare Better During Economic InstabilityBy this point, our nation is no stranger to economic recession, and a large number of people have borne the burden of layoffs and cutbacks. It's a scary thing, and hard to plan for. However, prospective college students will be pleased to hear that college graduates experience a much lower unemployment rate during economic downturns than their counterparts with no college education.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that individuals with only a high school diploma were almost twice as likely to be unemployed as individuals with a bachelor's degree (8.3% vs. 4.5%). As level of educational attainment increases, unemployment rate decreases. Individuals with a professional degree (such as a medical or law degree) experience an unemployment rate of only 2.1%.
Certain professions are in higher demand, and naturally experience lower unemployment rates even during recessions. Examples of these professions include registered nurses, doctors, college professors, public school teachers, and accountants. It's not surprising that the majority of such jobs require a college degree.
7) College Graduates Have Better Communication SkillsCollege students are taught to write and speak clearly and effectively. These are skills with far-reaching benefits that can improve every area of your life. Individuals with strong communication skills will do better in job interviews, will be a more valuable part of any professional team, and will enjoy healthier relationships with friends and family.
8) College Graduates Make Better ChoicesHow does a college education improve someone's choice-making skills? First of all, college students acquire a large amount of general and specialized knowledge throughout their schooling, so they're better informed when making choices. Additionally, college students learn not only facts and information, but also choice-making strategies. These students are taught to analyze complex problems, to think critically, and to break down larger questions into component parts. College students acquire choice-making skills which are highly valuable in every area of life, from business strategies to investment options and more.
9) College Students Pass On These Benefits to PosterityThe benefits of a college degree are long-term, affecting not only the college student but also future generations to come. It's been shown that, in general, college graduates earn more money, have better benefits, and more job security, among other benefits. The children of these graduates, therefore, will enjoy a higher quality of life, will have easier access to healthcare, and will be less likely to experience the strain of parental unemployment. Furthermore, children of college graduates are more likely to pursue a college education themselves, and thereby pass these benefits on to yet another generation.
The implications of widespread college education are, therefore, quite stupendous. A college education has the potential to improve not only your life, but also the life of your family, your children, your children's children, and even society in general.
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