Should I continue my Degree?
I'm graduating this month from a community college with my Associates in Business. I am thinking about transferring to a university to get my bachelors in marketing, but I honestly don't know what I want to do with my degree/career. I'm struggling to make a decision on whether or not I should go to school in the fall to get my bachelors. I have been working full time throughout college to pay for my tuition, and don't want to blow all my hard working money to get my degree in something I'm not sure I want to do. Any advice? #college #college-major #career #business #marketing
We all know about the obvious benefits to having a college degree — namely, a steady job and financial security. But we often overlook other benefits to higher education: quality of life improvements that deserve to be brought into focus, whether you’re on the fence about continuing with collegel or are just having a hard time appreciating the degree you already have.
MAJOR BENEFITS OF A COLLEGE DEGREE
Earning a college degree – at any level – will open doors for you that would otherwise but shut. In addition to the skills and knowledge acquired by earning a degree, attending college provides professional networking opportunities inaccessible to those who don’t go to college. And the career networking opportunities typically increase with every level of education attained (e.g. associates, bachelor, master, and doctoral).
So why do employers place such an emphasis on you earning your degree? Does earning a college degree mean that you’re smarter? Well, that all depends on you – but in most cases, the answer is yes. Even if you don’t remember everything you were taught in college, most students come away with:
1) a greater ability to think analytically and theoretically;
2) a stronger ability to work in teams and groups;
3) the ability to solve a task or problem and the discipline to see it through from beginning to end; and
4) a measured ability to understand aspects of certain subject matter – four very attractive qualities in a potential employee.
For these reasons and many others, employers seek after college graduates when looking to fill job positions. Earning a college degree will greatly enhance your marketability as a professional. Not only does a college degree make you more marketable, it makes you more marketable to a much greater range of career options. While high school graduates can look forward to entry-level positions in non-skilled positions, graduates with a 4-year bachelor’s degree and even those with a 2-year associate degree, will qualify for a much greater range of higher paying entry- and upper-level career positions.
BETTER DEGREE OF BENEFITS
Studies have shown that college graduates are more likely to receive greater employer-provided benefits than employees without a college degree. This is especially true when it comes to healthcare coverage. A 2020 report produced by College Board showed that roughly 70 percent of individuals with a four-year college degree received health insurance from their employer, while less than 50 percent of employees with only a associate degree received the same benefit. Across the board, college graduates are able to find jobs with better benefits. In addition to health care insurance, college graduates can look forward to better retirement matching, health savings accounts, tuition reimbursement, free childcare and reimbursement for travel and commuting costs. In some instances, a benefits package can be worth almost as much as an employee’s take-home pay.
Not surprisingly, college graduates are typically more satisfied with their careers than individuals with a high school diploma – and since we spend almost our entire lives working, job satisfaction can be a large factor in our overall satisfaction with life and sense of well-being. Studies have also shown that as the level of education increase, so does job satisfaction. College graduates are typically more satisfied with their careers for a number of reasons. They’re able to find higher paying careers. They’re able to get into positions with job advancement opportunities. They’re able to get hired by employers that provide generous benefits. And most importantly, they’re able to work in fields and industries that interest them.
Finally, one of the greatest benefits to having a college education is passing on the legacy to your children. Children of a college grad are more likely to have a better quality of life and pursue extended education themselves. Those children also have a much easier time getting into good schools because their parents have emphasized the importance of an education to them. They also tend to have better grades and test scores.
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Shawnee Jackson - MBA, CSM
I can totally relate! I was in your shoes, many, many (MANY) years ago. I attended my local community college (while working FT) and was hesitant and unclear of my next move (particularly since I was putting myself through college). Marketing was one of my three career choices (accounting and international business being the other two); but ultimately, I decide on a BS in Management (I continued with my BS right after my assoc degree and was able to get a partial scholarship too- they are out there!). I figured that a BS in Bus. Mgmt. would be a good start since I could potentially transfer units to another degree should I change my mind (which I didn’t).
Because of the financial and time commitment, deciding became very over whelming…but Taylor- it was the best investment I’ve made! The most valuable thing (besides the knowledge in your field, net-working, and the actual degree, etc.) is who you become after the whole experience. I loved the experience during my two-years at my community college, that experience was amazing; but what you’ll be exposed to while you obtain your BA/BS is quite different than what you experience in a community college. The exposure will continue to broaden your perspective for both your personal and work situations. You just become more well-rounded, you will enhance personal abilities and skills and learn of new ones you may not even know you have. Not that you are not confident now Taylor (I was not shy or lacked confidence then- or now) but you will strengthen your confidence level which makes you better equipped for work (and personal) environment. Lastly, keep in mind that an investment in yourself stays will YOU no matter where life takes you!
I wish you all the best- Good luck!
Enma Ninoska’s Answer
You must be going through a lot during this time, with everything going on and trying to make this decision is also probably not making things any less stressful. I think the first thing you need to ask yourself is do you want to do Marketing, what about Marketing interests you? What type of Marketing do you think you want to get into? If you can answer some of those, I think the next best thing is to reach out to people who work in this industry, such as looking up a company in LinkedIn, then narrowing that search to people who work in entry level positions and then to people who work further up that ladder. Simply send them a message, state your dilemma and ask what they regularly do day to day, or what they usually get tasked with quarterly or accomplish yearly even. Reaching out to faculty for certain Universities that you're interested in who've worked in the field would also be a good idea. After all of that, asking what it usually requires to enter those companies you've searched that you're interested in their work, from someone who works in HR would be a good step to see how much education you really need, and how much more you would need in skill sets experience instead.
Don't forget that college is an investment, an expensive one, but sometimes some jobs require much less education than you think so it's be good to look into the actual hiring requirements for the work that interests you.
Also if at the end of the day you figure out you don't like Marketing and want to do something else, well at least you caught on early about your interests and can get started on something else that may suit you more. Only if that's what it comes down to.
Best wishes in your search.
One thing I would like to ask is, is this a feeling that you had recently, or have you been unsure about your degree for a while now?
I ask because I feel that the feeling of uncertainty that we all have, and the fact that we're finding out that no one seems to know what will happen in the future (versus a few months ago, when we all knew exactly what was going to happen in the summer, e.g. baseball was starting in April, etc). Given this uncertainty, I think a lot of people are feeling unsure about our future path forward. If this is a new feeling you've had, I would recommend that you press on with your education. As John stated in his response, a college education is worth it for a multitude of reasons. And if this is a degree that you were sure about before the COVID crisis, when we come out of it, perhaps you'll find the joy for it again. For me, this stressful time has made me rethink some core beliefs that I've had, and I think that's ok. An unlikely event should make us rethinking things. But I also think that while our brain tries to adjust to this new world, it doesn't mean that you or I are different people than who we were before this crisis. We'll adjust/change during this crisis, but I'm not sure if we'll change enough for you to need to rethink a whole new career for yourself.
However, if this is a feeling that you've had for a while, well I would advise that you spend some time figuring out who you are before committing to a career. The way I think about college is that it's as if you're in a slingshot and the more you learn and commit to a degree, the more you are pulling the sling shot back so that when you graduate, you're being shot into your career. In this analogy, earning a degree is being pulled back, so you have all that potential energy stored up and the career you dream about having is the target that we're aiming at. Now, it's possible to choose the wrong target, but still get a bullseye, but it's unlikely. Like so, it's possible for you to get a degree in something that you don't love, but end up in a job that makes your soul sing; possible, but unlikely. Right now, what you may be feeling is that you're aiming at the wrong target. I think it's prudent to take a breather, really find out what you want to do, and aim at a different target, if that makes more sense to you. There's no need to press on if your gut tells you that you're making the wrong decision for your future self.
I hope this was helpful Taylor, and I wish you the best of luck.
Also, another site that I found to be highly informative was the US Bureau of Labor Statistics' "Occupational Outlook Handbook". This helped me learn the level of projected demand for the major area I was interested in, and what duties/positions were associated with the area I was wanting to learn more about.
I definitely recommend to continue with your education-because right at this very moment it might seem like it’s more then enough but as you will be getting work experience- most companies do look for the `bachelor degree and `master degree. So, I don’t recommend you stop -because it’s very difficult to go back to college once you are out of the routine. continue to look for bachelor degree-some could be online, expand the skills level research, conduct some online testing about your personality and what you enjoy doing. Ask yourself, this questions :`’what would I enjoy doing 24/7 and ?`’ try to match that passion to your future career.
What are your interests ? Do you enjoy video games- perhaps you could look into the product development degree . Do you enjoy communicating with clients, solve problems- do you like math , law? What experience did you have in the past?
Which classes did you enjoy taking for your associate degree?
All these questions are relevant to you and once you start writing down your strength you will be able to see what motivates you .
After you complete your Bachelor Degree- you can continue your education by taking specific career certificates
You are 1/2 way there and have worked hard to obtain your associates degree. The next two years will help align you with potential career paths and might highlight other areas of business you may not have been aware of, like accounting, finance, business management, information technology.
Having your bachelors will open doors and distinguish you between other job applicants, whether you decide to stay in this field or not.
You will feel a sense of accomplishments and your hard work and sacrifice will not have been for nothing.
Hang in there and go get that degree.
First of all, kudos to you for being thoughtful and practical about your education and for analyzing what your next steps would be and how the Marketing degree would best help you accomplish your goals and career vision. Working full-time while in college to pay for tuition is not easy at all, and proves your ability to work hard to pursue your dreams.
If you are debating whether a Marketing degree best fits your skills and interests, I would recommend trying to get a summer internship that involves Marketing work. You could also refer to your academic advisor in finding what companies in the area usually recruit Marketing majors and for what kind of work. The Marketing major is usually offered as part of the College of Business; and if you see yourself having a career in Business (but potentially find out that you would be rather interested in a different Business major such as Management Information Systems or Finance later on), you can also apply for a major switch within the College of Business as all your Business pre-requisites are met. Alternatively, if that happens, you could even keep Marketing as your minor as some colleges offer it as a minor.
I would strongly encourage to finish your education and receive a Bachelor's degree, as holding it both significantly widens your skills & knowledge and opens a large door of employment opportunities.