Is college worth it?
This is a question many potential post-secondary students are asking. The answer is...complicated, to say the least.
Today’s academic environment is in a state of massive transformation. For many, the traditional college experience is still the most beneficial when it comes to preparing for career success. However, for others, the realm of nontraditional education has never been more enticing. The introduction of cutting-edge technology and alternative credentials has made learning outside of the classroom easier than ever before.
Determining whether or not to pursue a postsecondary education, what sort of credentials are best to have, and how best to ensure workplace preparedness is a uniquely personal decision. Students want to know that the degrees or targeted credentials they have pursued clearly signal to employers the knowledge they have. This is not an unrealistic desire. With so many options out there, students want to confirm they’re making the right choices for their education.
Here are some common questions potential students have about pursuing higher education:
Are college degrees relevant anymore?
To answer this question succinctly: yes and no, respectively.
College degrees do still hold their value and are still relevant. In fact, a whopping 81% of high school juniors and seniors who plan on attending college believe it is still worth their investment. According to The College Payoff, published by Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce, a bachelor’s degree is worth, on average, $2.8 million over the course of a lifetime.
As a post-secondary institution, you can help your students understand that the academic landscape is constantly changing, but institutions are making target efforts to avoid becoming obsolete. By introducing non-degree programs like virtual certificate courses and pairing with Fortune 500 companies to bring their students valuable partnerships, colleges and universities can implement tools that evolve to meet student needs. The definition of “degree” might change in the future, but education holds its value.
Does college really help you get a job?
College can certainly help students get jobs, but it all depends on how well they are able to offer the programming students need to hone workplace-desired skills.
Alternative credentials, especially those in partnership with businesses and professional organizations, can give students a leg up when it comes to preparing to enter the workforce. The more degree-bolstering credential offerings and applied learning experiences students have access to, the more likely employers are to feel they are prepared for their careers.
How can I show that what I have learned is what most employers want?
Many employers want a clear indication of what students know and can do. Providing students with a competency-based education enables them to focus on the skills that qualify them to hold a particular career.
Beyond a more comprehensive degree, micro-credentials can be considered a small sliver of expertise, enabling students to demonstrate their engagement in a subject. As a bonus, many certificate programs offer badges upon student completion, sending a digital certificate that students can easily attach to a resume, website, or LinkedIn profile to easily show employers evidence of their individualized learning.
Can you be educated without a college education?
You can certainly be educated without a college education. IBM’s Senior Program Executive of Innovation and Growth Initiatives, David Leaser, recently highlighted the likelihood of inaccessibility of transitional schooling: “Many people cannot complete a four-year degree…[b]ut what they can do is get into a certificate program, get into a job, and continue their education at nights or whenever it happens to be.”
An increasing number of credential programs like those offered by FranklinCovey’s LeaderU are designed to both supplement college curricula and stand on their own to support the lifelong learner.
Are there advantages to not pursuing higher education?
The advantages of not pursuing higher education revolve around flexibility. Attending additional schooling is an investment of time, money, and resources, which are not always available to students. In fact, most families do not feel comfortable covering the cost of higher education
By offering educational opportunities that better fit the busy lives of working adults, colleges and universities can attract a whole new pool of applicants. This includes lower-cost courses, turnkey options, and even virtual certificates that supplement in-person classes.
Are there any good alternative credentials to a college degree?
There are many alternative credentials available for those who do not want to or cannot pursue a college degree. In many cases, these credentialing programs are spurred and initiated by higher education-industry partnerships with businesses. These connections can serve students looking to build certain skills by giving them a way to more directly identify and work to meet the needs of the organizations they work for (or would like to work for).
As the Strada Center for Education Consumer Insights reported, “unlike degrees, which are exclusively awarded by colleges and universities, nondegree credentials are awarded by a diverse array of education and training providers.” A heterogeneous mix of credentials from different providers can be a great way to diversify student education in a way that a college degree cannot.
LeaderU by Franklin Covey offers a rich catalog of courses that helps you equip your students with the skills necessary to succeed in their careers. Learn more about our powerful content.