The Dollars And Cents Of A Four Year Degree
When it comes down to the importance of an education there is no denying that the longer you stay in school the better off you are when it comes to earning potential over the course of your lifetime. Recent estimates have presented some rather astonishing figures to support these claims however, and I for one think they are well worth mentioning.
Let's discuss first things first however. A high school diploma will net the average citizen $200,000 additional dollars of lifetime income on average. This is one small baby step when it comes to the educational process however. Some college, even without a degree will even increase that figure an additional $150,000 for a total of $350,000. If this isn't enough to convince you however try the facts and figures that are associated with the additional earning potential that a four-year degree introduces: $500,000. This addition makes a total of $850,000 more over the course of a lifetime in earning potential. I don't know about you but I find those figures to be quite a nice motivator for going back and finishing a degree.
While a person's education may not be an accurate indicator of his or her actual ability it is often used in the business world to narrow down a growing field of applicants for a sadly stagnate number of positions across the country. There are things you just can't see on a piece of paper and ability and capabilities are among those things. Businesses need a defining factor by which they narrow down the field of potential employees and that defining characteristic is often a college degree in the field of business or a complimentary major course of study.
While this may not seem fair to many who have the practical skills companies are seeking employees that can fill multiple roles in order to eliminate positions that have been occupied in the past. For this reason they want business people who have technical skills and a college education provides a brief introduction to many skills that are useful in these situations. Unfortunately, the only way to know whether or not you have these specific skills is if you list them on your resume while those who have a four-year degree are believed to have them by the merit of their educations.
The earning potential alone should be enough to turn your head when it comes to the importance of earning a college degree though there are many more excellent reasons to pursue the completion of your degree. If you haven't considered some of the other wonderful reasons for returning to college and getting your degree, perhaps the reasons below will provide a little additional motivation.
1) Challenge. There is very little in life that offers the challenge of returning to college after an absence. It is a frightening prospect for many and yet can be equally as exciting. You will find that the constant exposure to academic debate is a great way to feed your mind and open your eyes to new ideas. Challenge your preconceptions and challenge the limits of your own experiences by opening up your mind to the thoughts and ideas of others.
2) Learn New Skills. There is never a bad time to begin learning new skills no matter what they say about old dogs and new tricks. The truth is that as long as you open your mind to learning you are feeding it and that is a great thing.
3) Career advancement. Whether you realize it or not, a college degree is one of the quickest paths you can take to career advancement.
If the money wasn't enough to convince you of the impact that a four-year degree can make in your life perhaps the reasons mentioned above were enough to do the trick. Whether or not you realize how much a degree can affect your life the truth of the matter is that it can improve so many things about your life and how you view yourself and the world around you. Now is the perfect time to go back to school and earn your degree.
We have discussed some of the wonderful advantages that university life and educations present. However, we must in turn discuss some of the other disadvantages that are associated with university learning as well. While we discuss these you should keep in mind that they do not by any means indicate that you should give up on your higher education goals, only that you should view your educational process with realistic expectations.
When compared with the community college system the very first and most distinctive disadvantage that comes to mind is the high cost of upper education on the university level. Community colleges are simply more cost effective all around than universities. The costs go well beyond that money that would be spent on room and board making the tuition alone cost prohibitive in many cases. While there are many types of financial aid available to students the vast majority of college students in this country make ends meet through the use of student loans, which must be repaid at quite a hefty interest rate, in order to cover the costs associated with university educations.
Beyond the one obvious disadvantage there are a few other disadvantages that bear mentioning in this particular circumstance. First of all, universities do not have the small intimate classroom settings that literally set community colleges apart. In fact, for lower level course, most universities offer large auditorium classes that are taught by graduate students rather than professors and more often than not the students never get to know those who are charged with their education on more than a nod and smile while passing in the halls basis. This method for learning is considered by many to be exceptionally inferior and the statistics prove that students who go straight into a four-year college environment rather than going through a community college first are far less likely to complete their degrees.
If that isn't enough of a disadvantage, many people find that the impersonal atmosphere of most universities is quite limiting when it comes to interaction with other students. The smaller classroom environments of community colleges invite interaction between the students in the class. An open line of communication within the classroom is greatly preferred to having so many students that no one gets a voice or the ability to voice their opinions or personal experiences when it comes to certain topics.
Another disadvantage to university life is the sheer size of university campuses. Community colleges tend to be much more compact. This means that students have a fairly decent chance of making it to all classes on time and without the worry of walking 2 miles in ten minutes. While this is great for physical fitness, missing the first ten minutes of class each week can limit the educational process that your university experience should be providing. It seems like such a small thing on one hand but when you are hauling around a day's worth of textbooks and a laptop-that hike can be the thing that marines seem dubious about accomplishing.
While there are a few distinctive disadvantages to university life, the fact remains that graduation from a university is the single biggest way to increase your earning potential over the course of your lifetime. The amounts are by no means insignificant. I highly recommend whenever possibly that you attend community college for the first two years of your college education. Beyond that, I strongly urge you to consider the value that completing your education and getting a four-year degree can provide.
If you wish to build self-confidence, earning potential, and job security, there is no way of doing so that is superior to getting a four-year degree. It doesn't matter where you are in life or your career; it is never too late to begin getting your education. There are so many things in the world that a good education will open your eyes to in addition to the doors of opportunity a four-year degree will open.
Community College Advantages
If you happen to be fortunate enough to live in a community that has a community college you should really make the time in your schedule to check and see what kind of classes they can offer that can help you advance your education and your career. You might be amazed at the different types of courses you can take even on the community college level. I know that I have found some of the courses that are offered and the degree of learning that takes place to be quite impressive. I think that many people who have in the past disregarded the important role that community colleges play in providing an affordable venue for learning will be quite amazed as well.
Community colleges have an undeserved reputation for inferiority when this could not be further from the truth. A good many of the nations nurses are products of community college educations. In many states, the associates degree nursing programs are quite rigorous and provide more clinical experience than most bachelor's degree nursing programs. This means that students graduating nursing school with an associates degree in nursing are often better prepared to deal with patient care than those who have the 'superior degree'. This by no means is meant to disparage B. S. Nursing students at all. In fact, most hospitals will not even consider you a candidate for an administrative nursing position unless you have the Bachelor's degree. This is only meant to point out that associates degree programs can be quite competitive and inclusive despite common misconceptions.
Of course there are other benefits to learning on the community college level, at least for the first two years of your education. One of those benefits that speaks volumes to me is the fact that teachers in community colleges are dedicated to teaching. They are not working on their own research or books. They are there for the purpose of helping you achieve your goals, which means you aren't an interruption in their pursuit of their own goals.
Community colleges also offer an excellent buffer for students who may not have been on top of their game academically in high school or those who are returning to college after a long absence from academia. You won't find the large auditorium classes on the community college level that major universities are famous for offering. You also won't find that teachers do not have time for their students. There is a lower teacher to student ratio in community colleges so that professors will have time to address the needs of students.
Another benefit is that even if you do not go on to get your four year degree after completing your community college education you will find that your earning potential is significantly improved over those who do not have at least a two-year college education. Research also indicates that students who complete a two-year degree program at a community college are more likely to finish and get a four-year degree than those students who begin their educational experience at a four-year university.
There are a few problems that can be associated with a community college education and you should take note of these so that they do not become a problem for you. First of all, some universities do not accept many of the courses that are offered on the community college level as transfer credits. Make sure that you know what courses are required for the university that you are planning to transfer to in order to avoid this. You also may find that you are limited on the courses you can take and the times in which they will be available. Make sure that you have all the limited courses well ahead of time so that you aren't taking another year of classes in order to graduate.
All in all, a community college education can be just as enlightening as a university education if you enter into the process with an open mind and a willingness to learn. I hope you take advantage of this much less expensive option before moving on to university courses if possible.
The True Value Of A Two Year College
Higher education in this country is rapidly becoming a necessity in the business community rather than a luxury. There was a time when those who had a high school education still had the opportunity to build a better world for themselves and their families. Those days are rapidly becoming another dieing ember of the past. If you hope to have significant earning potential during your lifetime you are almost completely limited by your learning potential and the level of education you have received.
The good news is that you do not have to have an all or nothing approach when it comes to education. You can begin by taking baby steps when it comes to higher education. If you have a community college in your area, this is one of the greatest resources for beginning your college education at any stage in your life. Most community colleges offer classes at various times during the day and evening, even some on Saturday in order to accommodate students of different ages and backgrounds.
Community colleges also offer an excellent opportunity to begin your learning quest in a manner that is much more easily affordable to the average citizen than a full-blown university. These colleges are largely commuter colleges though there are several that allow students the experience of living on a college campus at a much lower price than most major universities charge for the same or very similar privileges.
Community colleges also allow you to explore your options if you aren't really sure what direction you wish for your education to take without paying such a high price for the process. If you know the career path you wish to take you might find a two-year degree program that can have you out of school and in a career much sooner than a four-year program will allow. If that isn't good enough news for you, many of the two-year programs of study that are offered at the community college level may very well transfer quite easily into bachelor degree programs at the university level.
Community colleges offer an excellent start for many people who are seeking higher education whether to further their careers or just to find fulfillment on a personal level in life. There are many wonderful programs in vocational fields as well as academic fields that can be explored and studies on the community college level.
For graduating high school students community colleges help students ease into the adjustment from high school to college without going through the culture shock that some universities can put students through. You will find that there are often many opportunities to meet educational as well as social needs on the community college level for students that are interested in pursuing a community college education.
You should also discover that community colleges are much easier to budget when it comes to setting aside funds and savings for either your personal college education or the educational expenses of your children. Having them attend a community college for two years then transferring to a University can save a great deal of money and provide you a little piece of mind that your children are still receiving an excellent level of education.
Seriously, if you are looking for an excellent value when it comes to education you would be doing yourself or your children a disservice if you do not check out the community college options in your area before taking the plunge and diving into the university lifestyle. You will find that community colleges often offer an equal level of education for the introductory classes that first and second year college students often take, they are a much better value for the money, and they are an outstanding values for those who are trying to juggle their education with family and work responsibilities.
Associate Degree Vs Bachelor Degree
There really are few ways to compare a two-year education with a four-year education that would be fair to either degree program. The truth of the matter is that both are excellent for certain things while both also offer serious limitations. When it comes to pros and cons they both have their own set of both that make excellent food for thoughts.
When it comes to a two-year college program there are several things you should consider in its favor before you take the plunge. First of all, you should keep in mind that the degree or certification at the end of your studies doesn't necessarily indicate the end of your education. Two-year degrees are excellent starting points for four-year degrees but also allow you the option to venture out into the workplace with your own skills and knowledge that will allow you greater earning potential than a high school diploma. You will also have the benefit of entering the work place much sooner with an associate's degree than with a bachelor's degree. Most importantly for many who are limited by budgets, two-year colleges offer an affordable alternative for an education or even the first two years of your education.
The biggest cons that most people find when it comes to getting a two-year degree is the growing competition for limited jobs. In fact, it is difficult to remain competitive in any industry when there are more and more entering the work force with bachelor's degrees. It is simply more difficult to maintain a competitive edge with only a two-year degree though it is not impossible. The other obvious con when it comes to two-year college degrees is that fact that some positions will not even consider anyone with less than a four-year degree. This means that you aren't even in the running required to worry about competition.
A bachelor's degree will earn you far greater earning potential in your lifetime than a high school education without a doubt. It will also place you in a position of serious competition within your chosen field or industry. This means that you will often be given preference when seeking jobs over those who do not have degrees or those with lesser degrees regardless of experience. There is also not enough that can be said about the personal confidence that goes along with earning your degree. You will find that you are much more confident on both a personal and a professional level once you've earned your bachelor's degree.
The single largest con associated with a bachelor's degree is the expense. Both in terms of time and money bachelor's degrees exact a price. You should be certain that you are both willing and able to pay that price before setting out to get your degree.
Regardless of whether a two-year degree or a four-year degree is in your personal best interest at the moment neither are a waste of time or effort. I hope that you will eventually seek a four-year degree, as this will give you a competitive edge in business, however, even the smallest improvement in your education level can mean big changes over the course of your lifetime. Sometimes it helps to improve your education in steps. Take one class at a time until you have your associate's degree then repeat until you have your bachelor's degree. Good luck!
Why A University Education
The world in which we live is constantly evolving. We are demanding more and more from our citizens than ever before and in order to live up to the demands of the world we need a solid education upon which to base our skills and knowledge. There are many alternatives available for receiving an education these days, which is good news for those who have not yet managed to obtain a four-year college degree. Truthfully, that degree is the difference in literally hundreds of thousands of dollars over the course of a lifetime than not having a degree.
Four Reasons for a Four-Year Education
Money. The first reason that you should consider a university degree is the fact that it will substantially increase your earning potential. If nothing else appeals to you, this is typically the one reason that most people return to school after years in the work place. If you are in high school and haven't really had to deal with the bills and burdens that many adults face it's difficult to explain how important any edge when it comes to earning ability truly is. However, you should be aware that you need to choose your major wisely if money is your sole motivation. Not all careers pay equally when compare to the education required to enter them.
Insurance. This may seem like a strange term to use when discussing why you should get a university education but this is perhaps the best insurance you can find as far as employability goes. Having a university degree gives you a competitive edge over those who do not. In many cases you will find that education is beginning to trump experience as employers are seeking workers with more rounded skills rather than those with very specific skills. The modern university typically requires a brief exposure to all kinds of information and coursework that isn't necessarily related to your major. This provides graduates with a broader understanding of the world (at least that is the assumption).
Employability. Believe it or not, those with degrees are much more employable than those that do not have them. There was a time when the trend was to employ those who had experience over those who had education. That trend is rapidly evaporating as companies want employees that can fill multiple roles more and more often. The limited exposure to certain ideas or ideals and principles that most people receive as part of their university education makes you a more employable candidate because you should be able to adapt and adjust, as this was required during your educational process.
Confidence. There is nothing quite like believing in yourself. Getting a four-year education is one way to build confidence not only on a personal level but also on a professional level. Whether or not you realize it, this is often the best reason for pursuing a university degree. This reason, as a matter of fact, will actually affect all of the other things I mentioned above. If you have more confidence in your ability you will be more willing to go out there and get the job done. As a result, you will earn more money and you will insure that you are an asset to your company by proving yourself to be just that.
Regardless of your personal reason for pursuing a university degree there are very few wrong reasons to get your degree. Good luck in your educational pursuits. I know they will serve you well.
Are Student Loans Becoming Necessary Evils
When it comes to getting a college education most people can agree that the costs can be staggering at best. Even the least expensive colleges in the nation can add up over a four or five year period of time creating crippling debt for those who do not qualify for some of the better grant programs of substantial scholarships.
The problem lies in the fact that the parents of most traditional college students make too much money to qualify for the free financial aid that is needs based and very few qualify for the limited number of scholarships that are available to students based on merit. Even among those that qualify competition and fierce and there are no guarantees. Enter the student loan. There are all kinds of student loans and unfortunately with rising costs associated with college attendence and the growing necessity of a college degree for success in this country it is becoming more and more difficult to pay the price that is associated with higher education.
There are three types of loans that are commonly found for college students. They include federal student loans, federal plus loans, and private student loans. Each type of loan has advantages and disadvantages that are unique to that particular loan. Below I will give a little information about each of the loan types and whom they may benefit.
Student loans. There are three different types of student loans: subsidized, unsubsidized, and Perkins loans.
Perkins loans are only available to students who display exceptional financial need. These loans are available at a 5% interest rate and are available to both graduate and undergraduate students. Perkins loans are extended through the university you attend and will be repaid to the university unlike the other types of student loans, which are repaid to the lending agency.
Subsidized student loans are loans in which the interest is deferred until graduation or you cease to be a qualifying student. What this means is that while you are responsible for repaying the loan upon graduation the interest on these loans does not begin to accrue until your begin repayment 6 months after graduation or your cease to be at least a half time student of the university. You must qualify based on your income in order to receive a subsidized student loan. While the needs requirements for these loans isn't as grave as those required in order to receive a Perkins loan you must still qualify.
Unsubsidized student loans do not require qualification on a needs basis. You must be a student and enrolled at least half time in order to receive an unsubsidized student loan. The good news however for those who do not qualify based on needs for other student loan options is that this type of loan is available to all qualifying students regardless of need. The interest on these loans however begins to accrue immediately, which means they can really add up over time.
PLUS loans are loans that are taken out by the parents of students who need the funds in order to cover educational expenses. The maximum amount that can be borrowed is the cost of attendence minus any financial aid awards the student has already received. The repayment on these loans begins 60 days after the loan is dispersed and the repayment period can be up to 10 years.
In order to cover the costs involved in education that go above and beyond what the government recognizes as acceptable college related expenses you can opt to go the route of private student loans rather then relying solely upon federal financial aid for your student loan source. These loans require that you qualify in order to receive them based on your credit rather than your need and must be used for educational purposes only. With these particular loans you really need to make sure you read all the fine print as different companies offer different conditions and different perks. You should really take the time and compare prices and options before taking out a private student loan and this should be done only as a last resort.
Student loans for many can be the difference in attending college and getting the education you are hoping for and not being able to pay the high costs that go along with higher education. For this reason you should treat them with respect and not take them lightly.
Scholarships Are Excellent Source Of Financial Aid
If you are getting ready to attend college I'm sure you are wondering how on earth you are going to pay for it. Even graduating high school students are more and more often finding that they need to contribute in some manner to their college educations. Whether you will be taking out student loans, applying for scholarships or grants, or praying for some sort of work study program to come along there are a few things you need to know about financial aid at the college level.
First of all, financial aid can be a tricky beast. For this reason it is best to apply early and keep records of everything you send to the financial aid office. The information age has made things easier on one level and yet has eliminated the personal factor on other levels. However, if you own a personal computer you will find that Internet is an excellent source for financial aid and scholarship information. While the government offers a wide array of financial aid resources, there are many opportunities for you to get an education that do not revolve around government funding. You simply need to spend the time finding them.
Your local community is an excellent resource and a good place to start when it comes to financial opportunities for those preparing to attend college. Civic organizations and local businesses like to give out scholarships to promising students. Many of these have very specific requirements and you should pay close attention that you meet the qualifications before applying. There is no sense in wasting your time and that of the scholarship committee by applying for scholarships for which you do not qualify. Scholarships are preferable to student loans, as they do not need to be repaid. This is one of the most important things you need to understand when seeking financial aid for college. Loans are killers to your income for the first several years after graduation. The fewer loans you can manage to take out for your education the better. They are however there for those who couldn't possibly afford an education without them.
If you don't find the scholarships you are hoping to at the local level, you should check with the county in which you live, your state, and the school you plan to attend. There are excellent resources for each of these when it comes to financial aid. Within the college you will be attending you should consult your department head (for your chosen major) in order to see if there are any scholarships available. You will be surprised at the number of scholarships for which you may qualify. Apply for all that you meet the requirements in order to apply. Competition for these scholarships is often fierce but you never know when your letter of application might spark the interest of one of the panel members or you simply might be the most impressive candidate.
When applying for scholarships remember to read all the instructions carefully, make sure you have all the necessary documentation, and that you have checked and rechecked everything for accuracy and clarity. It takes time to make corrections and they can often be the difference in your being awarded a scholarship and the honor going to another student. Scholarships are by far the best route to go when it comes to applying for financial aid but you should be careful that you aren't placing all your eggs in one basket. Try for multiple scholarships, work-study programs, grants, and if necessary loans in order to achieve your educational goals.
Online Education Offers Unparalleled Learning Freedom
As the information age rolls on we are finding more and more universities that are willing to invest in the education of students who may not necessarily be in a position to attend classes at that particular university. The offerings are still somewhat limited but there are opportunities to earn associates, bachelors, and even master's degrees strictly though online course work. This is something that was virtually unheard of even a few years ago.
Today's students truly do have more options available to them than ever before if they are willing to invest the time and effort into their studies, there are few limits to the level of education you can receive, even if it has been years since you last attended a university or community college. Even those colleges and universities that do not offer full fledged degree programs exclusively through online learning mediums are beginning to offer many courses online for students with busy schedules and lifestyles. This means that you now have the opportunity to combine distance or online learning with a few night or weekend courses in order to complete your degree even if you have a full time day job and family that needs to see you at home on occasion.
Even if a degree is not something you are necessarily seeking you might be amazed at the wide array of courses that are available for those interested in increasing their depth of knowledge on different issues from the comfort of their own homes. I know that the idea of self-directed online learning opportunities appeal to me on many levels. These opportunities however, are not necessarily a good idea for everyone. We all learn in different manners and some of us learn best by actually being in the classroom and hearing what has to be said or from hands on experience. This type of learning is not necessarily possible when it comes to distance learning in an email or bulletin board type of environment, which is how many Internet classrooms operate.
Online learning is also not a good idea for those who aren't perfectly willing, able, and capable of holding themselves responsible for their learning. Face it, for some of us it is much easier to get up and go to a classroom than it is to force ourselves to log on and pay attention at home. We all have areas in which our discipline is well in hand and others where we seem to have no discipline whatsoever. If you can't hold yourself on task or have difficulties not being distracted by the many other novel things there are to do online you might be best served through an actual classroom experience rather than a distance learning environment like those of online classes.
This is not meant to discourage you from distance learning or online classrooms. In fact, I think these are by far the best option for many working professionals who are seeking to advance their careers, knowledge, and/or earning potential. You will not need to feel as though you are choosing between the future needs of yourself and your family and the limited time you have with your family already. You can schedule around your family time and make the sacrifice when it comes to sleep.
With online classes it doesn't matter if you are in your pajamas or in a suit and tie you can still do the work you need to do online and no one will be the wiser. You also might find that you can squeeze your education into your lunch hour, particularly if you can type and chew at the same time. The truth is that online classes offer superior flexibility to those hoping to further their education. Whether you are hoping to earn a degree or simply wish to broaden your horizons by taking a few online classes, you just might find that the possibilities are limitless once you begin taking these courses from home.
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