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Benefits of Earning a College Degree

Earning a college degree is such an important step in life that it has become a central part of the "American Dream". Go to college, get a job, buy a house, raise a family. It may not always be that simple, but it all starts with your college education.

Earning a college degree is all about opening up opportunities in life. It prepares you, both intellectually and socially, for your career and your adult life. The benefits of a college education include career opportunities like better paying and higher-skilled jobs, but studies have shown that it also leads to overall happiness and stability.

Many people know that they want to attend college, but don't know exactly why, or how it will enrich their lives. Below are some many benefits of earning a college degree.

1. Better Career Opportunities

Earning a college degree is the most common pathway to a better career. Entering college, not everyone knows what they want to do when they grow up. But most know they want to have a better job-not only one that will pay more, but one in which they are more satisfied and secure. That combination of benefits is why so many people make the investment of time and money to go to college.

Oftentimes it's not necessarily what you study, but the fact that you studied something at all. Aside from training you in an expert field, college trains you to think analytically, understand complex subjects and communicate your own critical ideas about them. It also instills crucial skills like organization, self-discipline and the ability to complete tasks from start to finish. In other words, college helps mold you into a more professional individual.

Because college gives you a broad range of skills, many college graduates end up in fields that are not what they studied in school. College can open up unexpected opportunities that aren't always there for those who haven't engaged in a higher level of education.

In today's economy, employment options are shrinking for people who only have a high school diploma. A large majority of high school graduates work in the service industry, in low paying jobs that don't offer many opportunities for advancement. College graduates, on the other hand, tend to have skills that qualify them for a broad range of employment in fields that offer more upward mobility.

2. Job Security and Satisfaction

Having a post-secondary degree typically leads to better job security. Let's face it: if you don't have a degree, you're probably not as valuable to your employer. When push comes to shove it will be much easier to replace you with someone else who only completed high school.

In fact, educated staff is so important to some companies that they will even pay for employees' tuition. This is how valuable a college degree can be. It is seen as an investment that will bring substantial rewards, not only to the employee but to the company as well.

Data shows that in an economic recession, college graduates are less vulnerable to layoffs. The people who suffer the most from job cuts are lower level employees who only have high school diplomas. There are no guarantees, but if you have a college degree you will be less likely to suffer long-term unemployment.

As a college graduate, it is also more likely that you will enjoy your job. All the factors listed above-higher income, employment benefits and advancement opportunities-lead to better job satisfaction. But a college degree also gives you more freedom to pursue a career that interests you, maybe even inspire you.

3. An Investment in Your Future

Attending college is a major commitment of time and money, but it is also a down payment on success. Earning your college degree will help you realize your goals in your career as well as life in general. It requires a lot of hard work, but that work prepares you for a challenging and rewarding career and more fruitful life.

4. Networking

It’s quite easy to think of the benefits of a college degree in terms of future earnings and promotion opportunities. However, what’s spoken of less frequently is the role that networking can play in these opportunities. People often get jobs based on recommendations made by my friends, while in other cases, having a professional network can help people learn about upcoming job opportunities before others do. The truth is that creating a professional network can mean the difference between finding a job or getting a promotion, and those networks start forming in college.

On your way to a degree, you can either passively sit through courses before leaving for the day or become active with your fellow students. Colleges are filled with volunteer organizations and professional societies where you can meet others who are in your field. Through these contacts, you may learn about opportunities while you’re still in school. This might include internship opportunities and other chances to get real world experience that will look good on your resume.

These same contacts may be able to link you to resources that will help you better understand your field. By connecting with these people, you can more quickly learn about your field while you’re in school. They may provide access to resources that include books or even professionals that you can talk to who can help you learn more about the industry you hope to enter.

Of course, the most helpful aspect of making these connections is likely the recommendations they will make to their employers on their behalf. It’s not uncommon in businesses for managers to first look internally for potential hires. Your professional contacts may be able to suggest you as a recommendation when businesses start hiring, giving you an advantage when it comes to being hired by a company in your field.

5. Personal Development

A college degree is helpful for many practical reasons, ranging from your increased competitiveness to the increased likeliness that you’ll be promoted within your job. However, people underestimate the degree of personal growth that they’ll experience as they’re working through their degree. A college education requires students to overcome all types of adversity and prepares them not only for the workplace, but for dealing with many of life’s challenges.

Time management and organization, for example, are just two examples of the skills that you’re likely to pick up during your time in college. Both are needed to successfully navigate the many courses you’ll be taken while also successfully tackling the tasks before you. Test, quiz, and homework dates can all become confusing when you’re dealing with multiple classes. Good organization can help you manage all of your responsibilities, and it’s a skill that will be useful once you have your degree. Not only is it useful in the workplace, but it can help you manage your personal responsibilities at home. Even simple tasks like bill payments are made easier when you can properly track what is due and when.

Of course, on a larger level, the sort of personal development you’ll experience will largely be related to overcoming adversity. College requires that you overcome one challenge after another, ranging from financial responsibilities to passing tests or completing projects. You’ll need to be not only intelligent but disciplined in order to complete your schooling. These traits are often developed slowly throughout college. As you learn how to better respond to stress and adversity, you’ll slowly find that you’re better able to deal with adversity in a number of situations.

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