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Considerations Before Pursuing a Degree

Thanks to Covid 19, we are seeing a huge change in the way education is being implemented. Many have been forced to educate at home, online, or to reconsider their whole career and degree path. Not only that, according to, the cost of college rose 489% from 1985-2011, while inflation only rose 115%. While the degree has more than doubled, salaries have not, making college a very expensive institution.

So, what is one to do? There are a few considerations one should keep in mind:

- First, determine if the traditional college path is for you. Does what you wish to do require a four year degree? A college degree today DOES NOT define a person's success in todays market. What are your interests, passions, priorities? What skills do you have? Would a trade school or internship get you where you need to go? Trades are now evolving and people in the trades are making incredible salaries. Also, according to the Georgetown Center, America has over 30 million jobs averaging around $55,000/year that don't require a university degree. A report by the National Center for Construction Education and Research stated that only one job out of ten requires a Master's degree or higher and two out of ten need a Bachelor's degree. The rest need only an associates, certification, craft training or credential.

- Research career options and various ways you can "get your foot in the door". I talk to so many teenagers who don't even consider trying to get into a field that they are interested in as a part time job versus working at the mall or a fast food joint. Interested in animals? Check to see if there is a vet you can work with part time or internship with, a farm nearby, a pet store, a groomer, an animal caretaker, a trainer, a veterinary technician, animal control, conservation companies, breeders, positions at the zoo, etc.... Don't know where to begin? Google is your new best friend. Type in what you are interested in and see what kind of jobs pertain to your passions, then see if any of those are available in your area. Get in contact with local businesses and see if any are willing to take you on and teach you. There have been many times where someone has started on the ground floor in a company, proved their worth, made themselves indispensable, worked their way up and got great paying positions without having to get a degree (or with the company paying for their education).

- Interview, job shadow, and volunteer! It's better to find out you definitely don't like working with animals or in a law office BEFORE you spend thousands of dollars. Many people spend so much money, go into debt, and take several years to earn their degree only to discover once they graduate that they really don't enjoy their chosen field.

- Can you afford college? Do you want to graduate with a huge amount of debt that you will have to pay off? Is there a way to reach your goals in a more effective and inexpensive manner? With online courses and a variety of ways to earn college credits, can you get many of your credits completed either free or at a substantially reduced rate BEFORE you transfer in to a university?

- Look at the ROI (return on investment). Once you graduate, will your education have advanced your career and path or stifled it? Will you owe more in student debt than you are making in salary? Would the time spent in college have been useful or could that time have been better spent doing something else or that time cut in half? In other words, would your college degree be worth the money and effort spent on it in the short and long run? Do a cost analysis evaluation.

- Brush up on your personal and professional skills. Employers are saying that it is getting more difficult to find employees who possess certain skills that include things like communication, leadership, honesty, confidence, critical thinking, flexibility, time management, stress management, plus others. These are skills that are in high demand no matter what career path you choose.

It's time to rethink education and how you get ready for your future career. If anything, Covid has taught us how to reevaluate those things we consider important and how to creatively go about continuing to strive for our goals. Sometimes we just have to think "Out of the Box"!

Check out my Ebook: College Out of the Box, the Facebook page or our website for more creative ways you can earn your degree- in less time, for less money and with no student debt- no matter your age!