Why should YOU pursue a Bachelor’s degree?
The answer to this question will depend upon your current age and goals. If you are currently in high school, you may see no real value in getting a degree beyond your high school diploma. After all, many families will argue that they are doing quite well financially. “My father’s worked in the coal mines for all his life, and so did his daddy before him, and we’ve never wanted for anything,” I hear the students from my rural area argue frequently.
Then again, you may already be working, even above the age of the typical college student, and feel you are doing well for yourself. Or, you may be completely frustrated with your current state of affairs and income, lack of status, and inability to advance further; if a student, you may have a goal to reach beyond your family profession.
If you have considered getting a Bachelor’s degree, but are not sure why, then let me break it down into a few simple aspects of the process and end results that may serve to persuade you.
Perhaps the most commonly cited reason is money. Common knowledge always asserts that people with a Bachelor’s degree make more money than those who have a high school diploma, or less. Is this true? A recent census reported that those with a 4-year degree earn an average of over $20K (that’s “twenty thousand dollars”) more annually than high school graduates (http://money.cnn.com/2006/10/25/pf/college/census_degree/index.htm?postversion=2006102606). This is, of course, only one census to consider, and it was an average of nationwide figures. Your state may have figures exceeding or less than that. However, it does serve to indicate the common knowledge is true.
If college graduates tend to make more money, then this fact is directly linked to the kinds of and availability for employment that they have. A great many positions and careers are requiring a 4-year degree in order to even be considered an applicant for employment. Furthermore, these positions tend to be the more desirable; that is, those career choices that do not require a Bachelor’s tend to have higher amounts of physical labor and, thus, are less appealing to most.
Additionally, the salary paid for these positions tend to be higher for college grads-and more adamantly, a Bachelor’s degree is becoming more of what the high school diploma used to be: the main requirement for application.
Everyone wants a little bit of appreciation for what they do. It is no secret that higher status positions [e.g. doctors, teachers (to some extent), and lawyers]receive more prestige and respect than do lower status positions (e.g. maintenance workers, receptionists, and sales personnel). Likewise, it is not surprising that access to these positions are limited to those with the appropriate education.
GETTING THE DEGREE
Finally, we come to what I consider was the best part of getting my Bachelor’s degree…GETTING IT! The entire college experience, whether you are a freshman straight from high school or a more mature parent going back to get your first degree, is simply enjoyable and fun. It is socially rewarding as you are put in a new avenue to meet others with similar tastes (fellow students taking the same courses as you), which can lead to growing friendships. It is psychologically fulfilling to know that the courses you are taking are leading you to the benefits listed above.
The classes are typically unlike those you were used to in high school, with much of the teenage drama and adolescent mindset replaced with more mature and sometimes even intellectual pursuits. And, if you have some extra time, the events and club activities that most campuses have are great ways to explore your other tastes (try joining an acting club).
Granted, there are drawbacks and negatives about all this, as usual with things dealing with real life: time, frustration, grades, etc. However, you SHOULD get a Bachelor’s degree. Even if you end up in a profession that has nothing to do with your degree (which is a whole other topic of discussion), it is still rewarding.