A Bachelor’s degree (or BA) is an undergraduate academic degree awarded to those that successfully complete the three or four year duration, though at some institutions it can take up to five years study. What the course entails also varies from university to university.
In Britain and Canada, for example, there are two levels of BA: a pass and Honor’s. To achieve an Honor’s degree – BA (Hons) – means taking more credits than a pass and achieving higher grades. In the USA, depending on GPA averages, there are different levels of Honor’s. These are usually “cum laude” (with praise), “magna cum laude” (with great praise) and “summa cum laude” (with highest praise). You will usually be put forward for an Honor’s degree automatically unless you request otherwise.
So why take a Bachelor’s degree? Personally, I hold a BA (Hons) in English and American Literature. Most people expected that with this degree I would end up a teacher but I actually now work in television production. The truth is that a lot of people at my university were doing BAs because they weren’t sure what to do and so chose courses they liked in school. Obviously for those determined to become doctors or architects, there are specific degrees that have to be taken. However, a BA can provide a great stepping stone to other fields. For example, a number of people from my degree went on to do conversion courses in Law, Civil Engineering, and Psychology.
The brutal truth is that with the expense of university today, you usually need a good idea of what career you want before you go or it could end up a costly mistake. While most universities see no problem with you changing your mind once there and deciding on a different course, constantly altering your major will certainly be frowned upon and may even result in your removal altogether. The great thing with a BA, therefore, is the fact that you can have an incredibly wide variety within your curriculum.
Although I majored in Literature, I also had the opportunity to take International Politics, Introduction to Criminal Law, and Californian History (at a British university no less). There is a vast array on offer so don’t feel that by choosing a specific major you are therefore boxed in to that subject alone. As long as it all fits in to your timetable and you’re doing the required number of modules, you can usually do almost anything you want. In fact, these days, most courses actually require a certain breadth to your choices.
The truth is no-one knows what you want to do but you. While a BA was the perfect choice for someone like me (I’ve always been a writer at heart), it may not necessarily be the best fit for you. Be sure to carefully research your options. By that, I don’t just mean your course of choice but also the universities that provide it. While one institution may offer a great curriculum, their dorms might be a disgrace. If you’re not happy with your environment or course, you won’t put in the effort and work needed to make it a worthwhile experience. All in all though, I’d say a BA is a good way to go. Just remember to have fun while you’re there.