Like any good ghost, a lack of a college degree can haunt one for eternity. Lingering in the background, shifting in the shadows, it can wreak havoc even when its power is not believed-in.
As most recent college graduates now realize, a bachelor’s degree is no longer guaranteed entry into a good job (or even any paying position!) Due to both the current economic meltdown and more predictable economic trends rising costs of living, inflation, etc. college degrees may not be worth as much as they were in the past. Unfortunately, college itself is now more expensive than ever. As a result, many would-be college students are either willingly or involuntarily foregoing college altogether. It may even seem to make short-term sense to earn money instead of spending it on school. Nevertheless, not earning a degree is almost always a huge mistake, one that can indeed haunt someone for years to come.
Unlike degrees themselves, the absence of a degree does guarantee something. Several things, actually: extremely limited career options, years of financial struggle, and shame when comparing oneself to others. Those who don’t get a degree will watch as their friends go on to higher-paying jobs, earn promotions, and start living more comfortable lifestyles. Those without a degree, on the other hand, will languish in jobs that garner barely more than minimum wage. Without a degree, one is also prevented, quite obviously, from earning an advanced degree. These are the real tickets to career and financial success, and can’t be obtained without the first step of undergraduate effort.
In social situations, those without degrees will often be on the receiving end of at least some amount of pity. Perhaps unfairly, those without formal educations are often stigmatized as lacking in wherewithal and intelligence. Those holding degrees, on the other hand, often receive at least a baseline degree of respect.
Thankfully, colleges and universities have adapted well to the demand for flexible methods of earning a bachelor’s degree. Many schools offer night, weekend, and online courses for working students, in addition to on-site daycare programs for students with children. Some schools now have bachelor’s degrees in general studies, in which students can choose from a wider array of elective courses to fulfill their educational requirements. Since so many adult students are now returning to school, many employers offer tuition assistance or flexible scheduling options. Given these recent developments, today’s students have few excuses for not doing everything they can to complete their education.