When it comes to maxing out your earning potential, endless studies have shown a direct correlation between the level of education and the average salary.
Furthermore, despite the on-going student debt crisis and an outbreak of controversies on campuses, many employers still put a lot of stock in college degrees and require them from their applicants. For these reasons and others, college is often viewed as a financial investment that students make in their futures.
With the cost of high education continually trending upward, here are a few quick tips for making the most of your college investment:
Consider community college first
One of the somewhat ironic aspects of the university is that, while it’s mostly intended to prepare you for your career, you must first take a series of general education courses that might have little to do with your major. That’s not necessarily a bad thing overall, except that it often means you’ll be spending thousands of dollars in tuition before you even get into more career-specific courses. That’s why it may make more financial sense to start off at a community college for your general education classes before transferring those credits to a university.
That said, before embarking on this plan, just be sure to do your research and ensure that community college credits will be accepted by the university you ultimately plan on attending. This can be especially problematic if the four-year school you want to go to is in a state other than the one you’re currently in. In you have any questions, you can always speak to advisors at both the community college and university you’re pursuing.
Take on a larger course load
Although community colleges may be a cheaper place to start, one advantage universities have is that they tend to charge by semester instead of by credit. This could give you the opportunity to save money by taking more credits in a semester. Of course, you’ll want to be sure not to overload yourself but don’t let yourself be lazy either. Again, you’ll also need to check with an advisor at your school to first see what the maximum number of credits allowable per semester is and then determine how to best fit those classes into your schedule.
Make connections and network
As much as you might like to think that simply having a degree will lead you to a great job after graduation, that’s rarely the case. More often than not it’ll be entirely up to you to find companies in your field that are hiring and show them why you’re a worthy candidate. However, beyond the academic aspects of college, it turns out that the social connections you make in school could also serve you well down the road.
There are several different ways to grow your network while in college, ranging from the on-campus career center to pursuing internships to simply making friends with recent or soon-to-be graduates in your area of study. It’s also possible that, if you impress your professors, they might be able to put in a good word for you with people they might know in your field. Like with most things in life, the key is to not only keep an eye out for an opportunity but to also be prepared for when the right moment might strike.
While the cost of a college education doesn’t seem like it will be declining anytime soon, there are a few ways that students can make the most of their school years and truly get their money’s worth. By looking into more affordable community college options for general education, taking on a fuller course load per semester, and making connections that will assist you in your eventual job search, you can help ensure that your investment in education pays off.
DISCLAIMER: This article expresses my own ideas and opinions. Any information I have shared are from sources that I believe to be reliable and accurate. I did not receive any financial compensation in writing this post, nor do I own any shares in any company I’ve mentioned. I encourage any reader to do their own diligent research first before making any investment decisions.
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