The Advantages of Attending a Four-Year Degree Program
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A four-year degree program takes place typically over the course of four years, and the end-result is receiving a bachelor’s degree. This type of degree can be completed at countless accredited universities and colleges across the country. The other option for your post-secondary education is to undertake an associate degree. This is completed at a community, a technical or a vocational college, and takes place over two years.
This second option is understandably attractive to many people for a number of reasons, including the fact that you can fast-track your way into working life for at least half the cost of a four-year degree program. Before you decide anything about your post-high school education, take a look at these five major advantages of attending a four-year degree program.
Two-year college courses are typically tailored to the local employment market, meaning they lean toward specific trades offered by regional employers. But on a four-year degree program, the sky really is the limit in terms of the breadth of your studies. From math, science and English to art history and anthropology, your first two years will allow a generalized study of a wide range of subjects before you decide on your major. So, someone who always thought of himself or herself as a future lawyer might discover as a freshman that what he or she really loves is botany. This is your time to freely explore what you love; an opportunity which many never have again.
The Range of Learning
Forget staring out the window at your high school daydreaming your way to recess; the way in which you learn and earn a bachelor’s degree is often as varied as the subjects, themselves. From studying abroad to completing an internship, or taking part in on-campus cultural events, you can pick and choose from a smorgasbord of opportunities to make your experience as rich and as varied as you are – or want to be. And in terms of your studies, the level of detail obtained on a four-year degree program is incomparable to a two-year course. Say, for example, you take a marketing course at a vocational college and gain a broad understanding of the principles of this subject. But on a bachelor’s track, this would be broken down into public relations, advertising, corporate communications and so much more. This means you are better prepared for the world of real-life work ahead of you, and far more employable.
The Range of Opportunities
Networking is a huge part of the experience while in a four-year degree program. Whether you join a fraternity or a sorority and make friends for life, take up a new hobby at one of the many on- and off-campus clubs or you take advantage of professional networking opportunities, you will have the freedom to create a circle of support not just for now, but for your future self, as well. Both curricular and extracurricular activities abound, meaning you will come out the other side of this experience a much more well-rounded individual with a range of skills and achievements that are hugely attractive to potential employers.
More often than not, people attend two-year college courses in their local towns or cities. But with a four-year degree program, the benefits to your personal development from learning to live away from home really should not be underestimated. Making financial decisions for yourself, cleaning, cooking and getting up in time for class is important groundwork to experience. Plus, you will have the support of your tutors and peers to see you through this important life transition.
Money talks. And when you’re making a decision about taking a four-year degree course and the figures are racking up, you really could be scared off. Also, there’s the prospect of dedicating four years of your life, which is an investment of time, as well. But before you run screaming, consider this: according to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2012 the average difference in the salary of a person who attended a two-year college course compared to someone who finished a four-year degree program was $15,500. So, not only will you be paying back what you put in, you will reap the benefits financially, you will have a whole collection of life experiences under your belt that you never would have had otherwise. And most importantly, you’ll have some absolutely priceless memories.