Ready to jump into college, get your degree, and move on to the successful career of your dreams?
Before you dive right in, there are a few things to consider.
Suddenly the simple steps that your parents took no longer apply. The degree you may want doesn’t necessarily require the straightforward track your parents were once on, or even ones your older siblings followed ten years ago. Now, it’s more crucial than ever to consider the return on investment from your degree.
As of last year, student loan debt hit $1.5 trillion. In the past 20 years, average tuition rates at private universities have escalated 168%. So how can you move on to select the degree that will ensure you can pay off loans, launch you into a solid career, and still risk stepping towards a vocation you’re passionate about?
Start with the end in mind.
There are some concrete actions in determining your degree. While it may momentarily damper your dream, you want to first measure what will be your wisest financial decision. Calculating a precise return on investment (ROI) is your most useful way to gauge what degree you can afford and where you can afford to go. All this shouldn’t make you give up on your dream, but rather lead you to make more concrete and wise decisions towards the right degree and career.
So, how do you discover the degree you can bank on? (And be certain it won’t break the bank?)
Determining your ROI in a job market that is often shifting and changing will be the best way to ensure you’re headed on the right career path, towards the most suitable job for you and secure way of paying off those student loans.
The simple steps to discovering the ROI of your degree include: finding the net price, factoring in potential debt, knowing how long it will really take to graduate and discovering your future earning potential. Granted, crunching these numbers as a 17-year-old in high school can be a lot, even for any parent of a prospective college student.
Before determining your ROI you should be asking yourself, what field do I want to work in? How much does an entry-level position pay? Is this a growing industry that will be looking for new graduates? Does this job require a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree or certificate? There are a number of factors to consider when stepping into a college career. While this may all seem overwhelming, it is vital that college students today critically consider these questions and the potential ROI before determining their degree.
Current studies show more than 40% of graduates take a first job that doesn’t require a degree. This first job can affect the trajectory of your entire career. Recent graduates who end up in jobs that don’t require a college degree are five times more likely to be in a similar position in the next five years, compared to those who use their degree immediately. So, if you want to step into a sure thing, crunching these numbers is critical.
While factoring all the numbers may send your head spinning, be sure to take advantage of other resources. Talk with a financial aid officer. Speak with recent graduates who are now working in the fields of their degree. There’s no one size fits all, but maximizing your college tuition return on investment can be a matter of whether or not you can step into the job of your dreams post-graduation.
It’s not a matter of whether your college degree is profitable, but weighing out its worth when you enter the job market.
Dr. Kent Ingle serves as the President of Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida, and is the author of “Framework Leadership.” A champion of innovative educational design, Ingle is the president of one of the fastest growing private universities in the nation. As president, Ingle founded the American Center for Political Leadership at the university and is also a founding member of the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration. Before becoming Southeastern’s president in 2011, Ingle held leadership positions in higher education and the nonprofit sector in Los Angeles, Chicago, and Seattle. Ingle is the author of several leadership books and the creator of the Framework Leadership podcast. He currently serves on the board of the Florida Chamber of Commerce Foundation. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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