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Why is college important? [Top three compelling reasons]

Why is college important? [Top three compelling reasons]

What is the true value of a college degree? Is college still important? Are jobs still requiring a bachelor’s degree? With these questions circulating, things can quickly get confusing. But the short answer to these questions is: it’s subjective.

When making this critical life decision, it’s important to understand the reasons why people choose this route and the value they see as a result. And during my time as a Readmissions Advisor, I heard various reasons why students came back.

They wanted to finish their degree to:

  1. Finish what they started or accomplish a goal.
  2. Be an example to others, mostly to their children.
  3. Secure an impending promotion or job opportunity.
  4. To see an increase in their salary.
  5. Deepen their knowledge and be more competitive.

There are many personal reasons for students to finish a degree program. But there are also persisting and widespread reasons why college is important. These are the top three.

Why college is important

Earn more on average

College degree holders earn more on average than non-degree holders. Getting your college diploma can increase your lifetime earning potential by over $1M. 

Keep in mind that other factors can affect your earning potential, like your chosen degree program. The more in-demand STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) degrees generally see a higher return than degrees in performing arts and leisure and hospitality. 

Researching your intended career path, degree requirements, and potential salary outcomes can help steer you toward the program that helps meet your goals.

Popular programs at CityU:

  1. Master of Business Administration
  2. Bachelor’s in Management
  3. Master of Education

"Find the right program for you and hit the ground doing. 65+ programs. We're here to get you there" clickable graphic to view available academic programs

Secure a position or promotion

Having a degree or specialized certificate can put you ahead of the competition when you’re trying to secure a new job. It’s the same story for those transitioning into another industry or career, and those in line for a promotion.

And, although there have been recent changes in tech companies deciding to no longer require Bachelor’s degrees for a number of positions, companies like Microsoft and Google still list a bachelor’s degree requirement in 70% and 72% of job postings, respectively. 

Bootcamps and apprenticeships help get your foot in the door, but it’s likely that a degree will be required as you progress in your career.

During the pandemic, research data concluded that those with bachelor’s degrees were least impacted by unemployment. Those with some college or an associate’s degree saw twice the unemployment rates than bachelor’s degree holders. Finishing your bachelor’s or higher helps you get your job, and keep it.

 

Professional and personal growth

As you advance in your career, employers will evaluate fit based on your credentials and experience, as well as your ability to display critical thinking and soft skills. Professional development communicates to potential and current employers that you are invested in improving your skills and increasing your knowledge for your current position (and would be more adaptable and willing to acquire the skills needed to perform in a higher role).

 

Here are a few ways students have seen growth both professionally and personally:

1. Increased confidence

Finishing college continues to be a contributor to feelings of achievement and pride in oneself. As you hit milestones in your academic journey, gathering increasing knowledge in your current or intended field, you also gather courage and confidence in your competence and abilities.

Where you might have started doubtful, new skills and knowledge replace doubt with certainty.

2. Improved critical thinking and problem-solving 

With increasing complexity in business and technology, leadership candidates with skills to creatively and critically solve problems are valuable. Most higher education assignments require students to consider many aspects of a problem to find the best solution. And colleges are only becoming more aligned with employers’ needs pertaining to new hires and leadership positions.

3. Gained specialized training and expertise

Throughout high school and going into college, Andrew planned to pursue professional football. However, life decided to take him in a different direction when his high school football coach’s wife suggested that he come and help out with some of her students. Despite his initial hesitation to work with children, Andrew decided to visit the school and he has been working with, teaching, and mentoring youth in the community ever since. “I’ve been in the schools ever since; it changed my life,” Andrew said, regarding the curve his life had taken.

Andrew Campbell, CityU class of 2020, applied the expertise he gained from his MBA program to start his own tutoring center, Shine Kinesthetics.

4. Cultivated an enhanced professional network

If you’ve ever submitted a job application online, you understand the ambiguity of today’s job search. You might also have found that investing time in building professional connections can get you further in the hunt for a new position than spending the same time completing hundreds of employment requests on the internet.

Higher education (and even attending online as an adult learner) provides ample opportunities to connect with like-minded, driven, ambitious professionals both as peers and as mentors. Of course, this doesn’t happen on its own, but takes a strategic approach to authentically connect with classmates and professors working in your intended field.

In conclusion

If you’re looking at the possibility of returning to school to finish your degree, the answers to the question “why is college important” are here. With your credential, you increase your chances of earning a higher salary and/or securing (and keeping) a promotion. Personal and professional growth can increase your marketability. The question really comes down to what is your ultimate goal, and does college help you get there? Only you can make that decision.

See if CityU of Seattle is the right choice for you. Learn more here.

1. https://www.pewresearch.org/short-reads/2022/04/12/10-facts-about-todays-college-graduates/

Britney Taylor
Britney Taylor, Content Specialist
Having worked in higher education for nearly a decade, Britney has gained a strong passion for empowering students toward graduation. Originally from SoCal, she’s currently living and working remotely in Atlanta. You can likely catch her at a spin class or watching the latest episode of 90 Day Fiancé.
Published February 22, 2024

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