2 answers

What is the best way to obtain ROI on a college degree?

Asked Yorba Linda, California

2 answers

Danielle’s Answer

Updated Tallahassee, Florida

Hi Lianne! I know your question is about degrees, but I wanted to mention that there is a large portion of today's economy where certificates hold a good weight to degrees. Depending on what state you live in, there middle-class, high-wage jobs waiting to be filled by a specific talent pool. Unfortunately, many of these vacancies remain unfilled because people aren't pursuing technical certificates that provide the specialized skills necessary to fill those jobs with qualified employees. I say that not to discourage you from pursuing your degree, but just as food for thought as you follow your dreams. I have three degrees (two bachelors and one masters). If I had to go back and do it all over again, I think I would get my greatest ROI by majoring in something more specialized versus general degrees that require further education. For example, one of my bachelors degrees is in Psychology. While I enjoyed learning about the brain and its relationship with the world and things we do, I would have found more benefit for immediate workforce entry if I had a more specialized major like Nursing or Management Information Systems. I would suggest conducting some labor market research to see what careers and industries have a positive outlook on job growth and expansion. See if those industries align with your skills, talents, and desires and seek a degree in it.

Danielle recommends the following next steps:

  • Conduct labor market research for growing industries.
  • Seek out paid or unpaid internships for exposure, resume building, and networking.
Updated
I've actually already gotten a tech degree for medical assisting which I love. Unfortunately the career college I attended neglected to inform me they are not nationally accredited only state certified so I can't take it with me if I move. I definitely agree with your statement about the importance of vocational positions needing to be filled but as I'm going for a degree in healthcare admin a bachelor's is more than sufficient. I wanted to complete a psychology degree but knew a master's degree was the bare minimum for ROI.

Jacqueline’s Answer

Updated

Hi Lianne,


Getting a college degree is an investment of both time and money, however, college graduates typically make more money that individuals who only have a high school diploma or even an associates degree.


Check out out the scholarships available at your college of the colleges that you are applying to. Find out if their scholarships are for 4 years or if they are for 1 year with the ability to renew it for additional years. If you are transferring from another school there may still be an opportunity for scholarships from your school. There may also be alumni or foundation scholarships that you can apply for on a yearly basis. Talk to your financial aid office about what is available in financial aid as well.


You our can also check the internet for scholarships. There may be local companies and organizations that offer scholarships as well. Remember that any service that guarantees a certain amount of scholarship money for you paying their service is a scam.


Once you're in college use all of their resources including their career development center. If you don't already know what you want to major in or what kind of work you want to do take assessments to help you learn about yourself and what types of profession may be more in line with your personality. Additionally, the career center at your school can help you with resume writing, interview skills, creating a linked in profile, and possibly hold mock interviews. It is a good office to be involved with from the moment you start college.


Also, do internships is a good way to get hands on experience and network for a job once you graduate. Use office hours to get to know your professors and ask questions about concepts you may not fully understand or get answers about upcoming assignments. Also, professors can provide you leads to job opportunities in your field and/or scholarships opportunities in your field.


good luck.

Jacqueline recommends the following next steps:

  • Contact your college about scholarships for incoming students.
  • Contact Financial Aid about other available aid. Fill out a FAFSA form to apply for state and federal aid. There are deadlines, so do it early.
  • Do scholarship searches online. You can general searches and more specific searches based on majors, etc. Remember paying to get scholarship is a scam.
  • Connect with your school's career center and use their various services.
  • Do internships to gain value experience in your field and network your way for future employment.