5 reasons why completing your bachelor’s degree should be at the top of your to-do list
Life takes us in all kinds of unexpected directions. Needs change, and priorities and goals shift. There are plenty of reasons why it’s necessary to put a bachelor’s degree on hold, and just as many reasons why the time might be right to go back to school and finish your education. As KUEC’s student body can attest, it’s never too late to dive back in! Here are five reasons why it’s a good idea to consider completing a bachelor’s degree.
1. An income boost
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, professionals with a bachelor’s degree make 49 percent more in average weekly earnings than those with some college, but no degree. Those with a bachelor’s degree are also 40 percent less likely to be unemployed. As more and more jobs move toward automation, it’s also increasingly important to develop knowledge and skills that make you indispensable, such as critical thinking, emotional intelligence and collaboration.
Misty Chandler, Director of Student Success and Support Services at the KU Edwards Campus, says the bachelor’s degree line on your resume isn’t the only thing that will help you get a great job. “In the process of completing your degree, you have opportunities for networking and learning specific skills that can help you get a more satisfying, higher-paying job, and advance within your workplace,” Chandler says.
2. It’s within reach
Completing a bachelor’s degree is a significant investment of time and money. However, there are resources available to help you afford your education, and find classes fitting your busy life. The KU Edwards Campus offers many options to help you get a degree without draining your finances, including scholarships, in-state rates for Kansas City area students and more. KUEC’s student services staff are also committed to working with you to achieve your goals.
Chandler says seeking out resources and getting help early on can make affording a degree completion program easier.
“Financial aid is like a foreign language you have to learn how to interpret,” Chandler says. “At the Edwards Campus, your financial aid advisor is like your translator. They know your needs and can help make your goals a reality.”
KU Edwards Campus graduate Thaius Boyd says that mentorship and resources at the Edwards Campus helped him overcome academic obstacles.
“The most challenging part of earning my college degree was learning to tailor my study habits for different classes,” Boyd says. “Thankfully, KUEC has a myriad of services and resources that provide information and advice on how to adapt study habits to different classes.”
3. Increased job prospects
Completing a bachelor’s degree can help you develop the skills you need to change jobs, or specialize the skills you already have to help you advance your career. KUEC maintains a strong network of alumni and professional connections that also offer learning opportunities and valuable introductions to the field you’re pursuing.
Even if you’re not sure yet what you’re interested in studying, working toward a degree can help you discover a calling, at any age. Karen Holliday, who completed her bachelor’s degree in social work at KUEC at age 56, says finishing her education has helped her pursue a fulfilling career in counseling. “It has allowed me to obtain the job I believe I truly desire in my field, and it has also shown me what I still need to acquire in order to pursue the lifelong career I desire,” Holliday says.
4. You learn immediately applicable skills
Earning a bachelor’s degree as a career-minded adult means your focus is in a different place than it might have been when you hadn’t yet started your professional life. You’re looking for education you can use in the real world, and that doesn’t take four years to start paying off.
Degree completion programs geared toward working professionals, such as the ones at the KU Edwards Campus, focus on hands-on learning and practical skills you can apply directly toward the work you’re already doing. KUEC graduate Abrar Al-Naseri says her degree has made her a stronger employee and a more competitive job applicant.
“I’m now more confident when I make a decision,” Al-Naseri says. “I’m more equipped with the tools and methods that I learned and I’m able to apply in work. I now can compete in the market for the positions that I deserve to work in!”
5. It boosts your self-esteem and confidence
Last, but certainly not least: getting your degree, especially if you’re a working adult or have a family, is a lot of work, but it represents a powerful investment in yourself. The combination of hard work, hands-on experiences and networking you experience during your journey will help you feel more fulfilled, as well as give you a bright future!
Chandler says she sees the degree completion process as a holistic experience that benefits students personally and professionally. “Completing a degree represents hard work and resilience as well as skill and knowledge attainment,” Chandler says. “Better yet, it creates a truly unique experience that puts the learner in the center of a space where new knowledge, new networks and new resources all converge to set an individual on path to success.”
Find more resources on completing your bachelor’s degree at the KU Edwards Campus at edwardscampus.ku.edu/degree-completion.