November 15, 2012, 6:00 am

Why You Should Earn a Degree That Actually Pays

by: MD    Category: Career
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Did you attend college? Are you now working in your original field of study?

The responses to the latter question are always unique. Some of my friends went exactly towards their desired field. Others tried out a few options before they ended up where they are now. Where do you stand? Did you even bother with college?

This then leads us to a critical question…

Is your degree on the list of college majors that pay well or not?

While college in itself is a great experience, regardless of what you study, you really want to ensure that you study something that’ll lead you to money. I don’t see any problems with studying a program that doesn’t have a history of paying well, as long as you don’t pick up massive amounts of debt.

However, if you’re past your mid-20s and are thinking about going back to school, you really should consider your earning potential and your ROI like you would with any other investment.

I wanted to write about why you should earn a degree that actually has a history of paying well…

Why should you earn a degree that actually pays?

You have to bust it in college.

I can’t speak too much on this because I studied business and it’s not the most demanding program. My cousin on the other hand, took chemical engineering and he had to bust it all throughout college. He told me that he would only go out for drinks during the first week of the semester and then after finals. The time in school was all spent on working on assignments, dealing with the course load, and trying to get good enough grades to land a job after college.

When you earn a degree that pays well the chances are that you’re going to have push yourself constantly throughout your undergraduate run.

This then leads to the next point…

You’re more prepare for the real world.

I’m sure I would’ve had a blast if I got to drink more, watch tv all day, and lounge around when I was in college. The reality is that working full-time while studying, really prepared me for what’s next. I’m no longer intimated by hard work or working long hours. I’m ready to take on all possible challenges, as our my buddies that also worked in school.

Those that took it easy in college are struggling with getting adjusted to the real world now. When you have a job or want to start a business you can’t really sleep in all day and pass the buck. You have to be ready for the least likely problems to hit at the worst times.

Busting it in college will definitely leave you more prepared for life after school.

“College wasn’t originally designed to merely be a continuation of high school (but with more binge drinking). In many places, though, that’s what it has become.” — Seth Godin

You’ll likely have a work term.

After browsing through the list of the top paying college majors, I noticed that most of these programs also had a history of offering work terms. One thing that I’m ashamed to admit is that I never had a work term.

What are the benefits of a work term?

  • You get paid.
  • Real world experience.
  • You see if the field is right for you.
  • Make connections.
  • Land a job after college.
  • Get into the habit of working.

So yeah, there are many benefits to a work term.

When your program is easy you have more time to go out and have fun. While this is awesome at the time, it’s hurtful in the long run. I don’t regret missing any parties because my busy schedule forced me to pick-and-choose. When I did go out, it was a wild time.

I applaud you if you’re thinking about going back to school. There’s no better investment than investing in yourself. I just want you to be wise with your money and study a field that will help you increase your income.

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Comments

College degree is an investment too, so we should think wisely before investing money in any college degree and must choose a degree that can help us earn more money later.

I graduated in 2001 with a BS in Business Administration with concentrations in MIS, HR and General Management; I was 2 classes shy of a minor in Computer Science. I work on Wall Street as a software engineer and make more than the combined salary of number 2 and number 14 from the list in your CNN link above.

I slacked plenty in college because I thought I was smarter than my professors, in hindsight I probably would have gained more from being a better student. However after 11 years of working most of the things I disagreed with my professors about, it turns out that I was right. Now if I challenged my professors now after real world experience it would somehow be more acceptable.

Either way if you are going to take on the amount of debt needed to pay for college or your family is capable and generous enough to send you to school, it is very important to study something that will pay enough to justify the expense. Back when I started college a degree in anything was good enough to get jobs, nowadays most liberal arts degrees at private colleges will never be financially justified.

There is more to college then the classes, the experience is priceless and I encourage everyone to attend, it makes you a more well-rounded person, just don’t be afraid to challenge your professors, after you are in the real world for a while you will begin to realize on your own that school doesn’t prepare you for the real world as much as you would think.

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