Does Your College Degree Define You or Is It Just A Notch In Your Belt?

Does Your College Degree Define You or Is It Just A Notch In Your Belt?

by Shae H

In our current cultural and political climate this is often a hotly debated topic, and, as with most hotly debated topics, the reality is somewhere in between the two extremes. No degree, no matter how prestigious, will ever solely define any person. It will never automatically open doors and shower a person with wealth, and the lack of a degree does not condemn someone to eternal poverty. Alternatively, a college degree is not totally without meaning. It can, and for many college graduates does, open up career opportunities that would not have been available without the degree.

So What’s the Answer?

For every individual, the benefit of a college degree should be weighed against the cost. If the earning potential of your future career is not enough to pay off the debt that is incurred by obtaining the degree, then the degree will not impart any economic benefit to the recipient. For (an extreme) example, if a student takes out $100,000 in student loans to pay for a degree with which they can obtain a job making $30,000 per year, the burden of that debt will likely be higher than the benefit of the degree. Is there a magic formula that will tell potential students if a degree will be worth it? Not really. We can all certainly hope that they come up with one, but in the meantime the answer lies in making smart choices.

Does Your College Degree Define You or Is It Just A Notch In Your Belt?

Smart Choices: Picking and Paying for College

These choices can take many different forms, as a college student will make many decisions throughout the process of enrolling in college. A student will need to choose a school to attend. Do they want to attend a more traditional university or an online college? How will they pay for college, and to that end, how much do the different colleges cost? Are there options that can save money overall, so as to increase the cost benefit ratio? Some options that could help would be to look into various scholarships and grants prior to taking out any loans, looking into online degree programs that afford the student the flexibility of working while in college, and comparing multiple college to aid in selecting the most cost-effective option.

Smart Choices: Picking a Degree that Works for You

In additional to being smart about the cost of the college and how a student will pay for the college, students can make smart choices about the program they enroll in. The reality of the world is that some jobs make more money than others. Also, the need for some jobs is projected to grow over the coming years, and some jobs will fall by the wayside. By doing research into the projected outcomes of the degree they enroll in, a student can increase the likelihood that their degree will pay off.

Deciding What’s Right

The bottom line is that there is no one single answer that is right for every person. Anyone looking at obtaining a college degree, regardless of age or financial situation, should do their research and put forth the effort to ensure they are getting a degree that is cost effective for their career path, provides them with a multitude of future career opportunities, and does not have a higher debt burden than earning potential. Though there is never a guarantee, if students who do their due diligence and make smart choices should be able to obtain a college degree that does not define them, but provides them with greater career opportunities and a chance to live the life they desire.

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