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If you dream about becoming a doctor, lawyer, or engineer, you’ll need an advanced degree or maybe even two. A simple search will help you determine if your dream career requires a degree. But keep in mind that even if your dream job doesn’t require a degree, some companies choose to only hire graduates. The practical skills you learn in college, like time management, study skills, stress management, and assertiveness, are skills many employers look for in their employees.
You’ve watched all the movies, heard stories from siblings and friends, and can’t wait to experience college for yourself. For many, college is a “right of passage,” the first step into independence.
College allows you to attend university sports games, live in the dorms, join a fraternity or sorority, try out for a sports team, or participate in a club. If you love college tradition, making lifelong friends, and living out the “college experience,” then it’s a sign you should go to college.
Remember, college is expensive, so it’s a good idea to factor in cost, academics, and internal motivation before you apply.
If you always have your head buried in a book, crave learning new information, and question everything, it might be a sign college is for you! College is a built-in community of learners who enjoy pursuing knowledge. Simply discussing life with fellow students and professors can be an enriching experience. Sometimes the connections you make with fellow like-minded people help you uncover your career passions and can lead you to the career of your dreams.
Colleges and universities, especially ones in the US, offer general courses and electives you can apply to any major. They’re designed to help you decide your career path without costing you additional time in college. These general education courses help refine your interests and define your career goals. In fact, many students choose to wait until their 3rd year before they even declare a major.
If you’re still unsure of a career path, you may want to consider academia. Then you can stay in college forever!
One of the easiest ways to make professional connections is on a college or university campus. Professors and university administrators offer an abundance of insight and knowledge you can use in your career pursuits. Internships and campus clubs are other ways to connect with experts in your area of interest. If you attend a school specializing in your particular field, you’re going to find even more opportunities to connect with people in your potential career field. You might even get your first job through a campus connection!
It’s widely known that college graduates typically earn a higher salary than high school graduates. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, “workers with a bachelor’s degree had median weekly earnings of $1,305 in 2020, compared with $781 for workers with a high school diploma.”
In general, many careers that require a degree pay higher than those that don’t require higher education. According to the Lumina Foundation, if you hold a bachelor’s degree, you will earn $32,000 more than those with a high school diploma. Additionally, the Pew Research Center notes that millennials with a high school diploma only make 62% of what they would earn if they had a college degree.
College isn’t the only option after high school. Some students need time to narrow down what they want to study, while others choose vocations that don’t require a degree. If you’re not quite ready for a 4-year university experience, here are three alternatives to college.
1. Consider community college:** Community colleges offer many of the same general education courses available at 4-year universities. You can receive a 2-year associate’s degree from a community college and apply those classes to a four-year college. Sometimes waiting one or two years, exploring degree options, and solidifying your future plans before heading to a 4-year university will make your years at the university more fruitful and set you on a path for success after graduation.
2. Take a gap year: Many students choose to take a gap year to “find themselves.” This is common for students who aren’t sure what they want to do and need time to explore, learn, and create new experiences. During a gap year, many students:
3. Attend a trade school or obtain a certification: While some career paths don’t require a degree, some ask for certifications or want you to attend a trade school. Some common careers that might require a certificate or trade school include:
Going to college is a big decision, and you are the only person who can honestly decide if college is worth it. If any of these signs sound like you, consider taking the next step towards your future. Crimson’s expert advisors can answer your questions and help you choose a college and career path that’s perfect for you.
Ready to start your education journey? Book a free consultation with our advisors to learn more about how Crimson can help you!