As the price of higher education continues to increase, the value of a college degree has been heavily scrutinized. Especially in the wake of a national recession, it is logical to consider whether one will directly benefit from the time and financial commitments that are required to obtain a degree. For instance, some might suggest that (when factoring in the cost of tuition and the loss of income from potential employment while seeking a bachelor’s degree) long-term gains will be greater for those who enter the workforce immediately after high school. Some may even point to a variety of successful people who have been able to live successful lives without degree credentials. Bill Gates went on to develop Microsoft after having dropped-out from Harvard, and Jim Clark even was able to develop Netscape after having dropped-out of high school. Both have been able to amass billions of dollars in net-worth despite lacking the important credentials that society has identified as critical to social mobility and economic success.
One might look at these examples and be willing to take a chance, trust fate, and play the long-shot in hopes of achieving at these levels. However, it is important to note that examples such as these are anomalies when considering the most logical path to successful career opportunities. Most people recognize that playing the odds and “betting on one’s education” is a more sound decision. When considering the wide range of factors that can help ensure one’s long-term potential for employment in a career or field that will produce lifelong rewards, acquiring a postsecondary degree stands out as an important indicator for producing the social mobility and economic success that so many strive to achieve. When considering the postsecondary landscape, students are presented with a wide range of opportunities to pursue degree programs or majors that are in line with their future career goals. You are encouraged to make careful decisions to pursue coursework in areas that will allow you to take advantage of the job opportunities that may be available.
As individuals look to make these decisions, they should do so with a complete understanding of the long term potential that can come from an investment in a postsecondary degree. One should not be persuaded to enter into a field because of the perceived opportunity to enter quickly into the workforce for what might currently appear to be a high paying salary. Furthermore, while many vocational or associate degree programs might offer these rewards, there is added benefit that comes from bachelor’s degree programs that balance the need for specialization and skill development with a strong foundation in the innovation skills. Skills in this latter category allow for greater flexibility to transition between anticipated and unanticipated career opportunities that are likely to present themselves in the future. Take a closer look at each of these issues: