Three Tips to Maximize the Value of a College Degree
Nov 12, 2020 | By: Kathy Griswold Fine, PhD
For the most part, I am a pragmatic person. While I love the idea of everyone doing what they love, personally, I struggle to advise my clients to do so in all absence of the reality that life is expensive. At some level, it is about choices; understanding the consequences of choices is critical for young people as they make decisions about their potential life-trajectories,
According to figures published on The National Center for Education Statistics website, the average price of a college education for the 2017-2018 academic year in the United States was $17,987 at public institutions and $46,014 at private institutions. Multiplied times four, that is $71,188 and $184,056 respectively. Considering that the four-year graduation rate for students attending public institutions is 33.3% and 52.8% at private institutions, there is little doubt that a college degree is a significant investment.
So, it worth it? Unquestionably, YES!
Data published by the US Department of Labor shows that during the last 20 years, a college degree has been a buffer to unemployment. Furthermore, lifetime earnings differ substantially based on educational attainment. At the most basic level, ssa.gov reports that men with bachelor's degrees earn about $900k more in median lifetime earnings than high school graduates and women $630k more.
What are Some Ways to Maximize the Value of Degree?
Tip # 1: Start thinking about what you want to do
While in high school, spend some time exploring interests and preferences by completing interest inventories and personality tests. John Holland suggested that people work best in work environments that match their personal preferences. Click here to take a free Holland Code Career Test and here to learn more about your personality based on the Myers-Briggs types.
Tip # 2:Work the four-year plan and graduate in 4 years
Work hard in college to ensure graduation in four years. Although college is challenging, selecting the right college and working closely with advisors to make sure classes are mapped out realistically and taking general education classes during the summer are just three strategies to bolster the ‘four-year plan.’
Tip # 3: Know your degree
Understanding the value of specific degrees is important in order to avoid disappointment upon graduation. Fortunately, the Center for Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University calculated the Economic Value of College Majors.
Earning a college degree and finding a career that is fulfilling are too important to be done in the absence of forethought and planning.
For more information on the interest inventories and personality tests I use with my clients and the value they bring to high school and college students, click here