Though a college education is completely optional, it is still something that everyone should consider gaining. Just like how a good diet and regular exercise is optional yet essential for overall health, a college degree is optional yet essential for mental growth and career mobility.
The recent economic downturn caused many hardworking individuals to lose their long-held jobs and put many others at risk of unemployment as well. The job market is now flooded with experienced job candidates for numerous positions, even entry-level ones. This means that the competition for jobs is now much fiercer and employers can afford to be pickier with who they choose to take on. One way that many job applicants are choosing to stand out is by earning a college degree. More and more people are going the extra mile and choosing to enroll in college after high school. In fact, about 64 to 69 percent of high school graduates immediately go on to pursue a college education, which is a huge increase from the mere 49 percent of degree seekers in 1972, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. When the majority of the other candidates are degree holders, having a college degree yourself is the best way to keep up and ensure that you remain a viable competitor for the most coveted job openings.
A college degree also typically translates to better career opportunities when you are already employed. Earning a higher degree can open up more doors to career advancement, or even allow you to escape one droll job for a more satisfying one in the same field or in a completely different industry. Degree holders also typically earn more. For example, bachelor’s degree holders in 2009 earned a median weekly salary of $1,025, whereas a high school graduate only earned a median weekly salary of $626, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The earnings tend to increase with higher degree completion as well. In addition, degree holders are less likely to suffer from unemployment. While a whopping 9.7 percent of high school graduates were unemployed last year, only 5.2 percent of bachelor’s degree holders were out of work, the Bureau reports.
A college degree is still a valuable asset to have today, especially at a time when higher education is becoming a societal norm. Even occupations that traditionally did not require a higher education are opting for candidates that have a degree. In addition, pursuing a college education will help you to become more knowledgeable and cultured as an individual, which is vastly rewarding in itself.
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