Perhaps you put college on hold and entered the workforce to save money while you figure out what you want to do with your career. Or maybe unexpected plans deterred you from finishing the degree you started.
Wherever you happen to be in your higher ed journey, it’s never too late to go back to school. While it’s true that this decision is a significant investment of time and money, college grads also reap plenty of benefits that make it worthwhile.
4 advantages to finishing your degree
If you’re looking for a sign that now is this time to go back to school, look no further. Learn more about four of the many great reasons to finish your degree.
1. You’ll increase your earning potential
One of the most common motivations for earning a degree is the prospect of higher-paying jobs. While successful completion of a bachelor’s program doesn’t guarantee a job with a hefty salary, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
(BLS) reports that the average salary of a bachelor’s degree holder in 2020 was 67 percent higher than someone with a high school diploma.
To put that into perspective, if you are currently receiving a $35,000 annual salary with no college degree, earning a bachelor’s degree could increase your earning potential to more than $58,000. Calculate that over several years, and it’s easy to see how investing in your education now can pay off in the long run.
2. You’ll be eligible for more job opportunities
College graduates also have more job opportunities compared to someone with a high school diploma. The unemployment rate in 2020 for individuals with a high school diploma was 9 percent compared to just 5.5 percent for bachelor’s degree holders, according to the BLS
To illustrate this point even further, we used real-time job analysis software to examine more than 450,000 jobs posted in Kentucky over the past 12 months.* According to the data, bachelor’s degree holders were eligible for 74 percent more jobs than those with a high school diploma.
Even as the pandemic has created a surge of entry-level openings, the analysis shows that job opportunities increase with education level. And not only do college grads have more career prospects, but they also enjoy more upward mobility
. That means that a college-educated worker who wants to transition to a job that pays more or requires additional skills will have an easier time than a worker who does not have a degree.
3. You’ll have increased access to high-quality, employer-provided benefits
As we’ve just explained, college grads have more opportunities for higher-paying jobs. It should come as no surprise that degree holders also have increased access to high-quality benefits like health insurance and retirement plans. In fact, one study
Bachelor’s degree holders are 47 percent more likely to have health insurance provided through their job
Their employers contribute 74 percent more to their health coverage
Access to these benefits can increase quality of life and even life expectancy. Studies suggest that those who have attended at least some college can expect to live seven years longer than their peers with no postsecondary education.
4. You’ll experience enriching personal development
Job prospects and compensation are certainly important, but the ROI of a bachelor’s degree can’t be defined by quantitative metrics alone. Higher education also provides an inspiring opportunity to grow and develop as a person, professional, and community member.
There is a strong correlation
between educational achievement and civic participation. For example, in the 2016 presidential election, 73 percent of 25- to 44-year-old citizens with at least a bachelor’s degree voted, compared to 41 percent of high school graduates in the same age group.
Higher education is also linked to increased community engagement. One study
found that college degree holders are 2.3 times more likely to volunteer and contribute nearly 3.5 times more money to charity.
A different report
concluded that in 2017, volunteer rates among adults ages 25 and older were as follows:
- 19% of those with a high school diploma
- 42% of those with a bachelor’s degree
- 52% of those with an advanced degree
Take the next step toward finishing your degree
It’s clear that earning a college degree can open up many doors that lead to good jobs and a healthy, happy life. No matter what your motivations and aspirations are, earning a bachelor’s degree could be the key to achieving those goals.
Bellarmine University is ready to help you navigate your way back to the college classroom. Our small class sizes and emphasis on experiential learning is a winning combination: 98 percent of our graduates report working or continuing education within six months of commencement, and 92 percent are working in their chosen field.
We offer options designed specifically for adult students with some prior college credit looking for an accelerated online path to finish their bachelor’s degree. Learn more about our Degree Completion Program