When Does Your Degree Really Count?

There’s an unspoken and unwritten rule that insists you go on to college after you’ve graduated from high school; the general perception in the job market is that if you want to make something of yourself, you need a college degree backing you up. However, not all college degrees are equal; some of them have higher standing and are more widely accepted than others, so if you’re making the effort and raising the necessary funds to go to college, you must ensure that the degree you’re going to earn counts for something in the world you’re going to inhabit in the near future. So how do you go about doing this?

  • Know what you want to do in life – having an aim and setting personal and professional goals is the first step towards choosing the right degree.
  • Find out what qualifications you need to achieve your goal.
  • Make a list of colleges that offer the degree you need to break into the profession of your dreams.
  • Assess your potential and the viability of gaining admission to these colleges; based on this evaluation, choose ten (or more if you prefer) colleges where you stand a reasonable chance of admission.
  • If your school grades are low, focus on getting good scores on your SAT/ACT – this could help you gain entrance to a better college.
  • Apply to the list of colleges and hope to be selected by one or more.
  • Don’t take out a student loan if you can help it; look for scholarships and grants that can pay for college, and start your search early, when you’re still in high school. Ask your parents, friends and relatives for assistance, and if all else fails, take out a loan at a low interest.
  • Once you start college, start working on your grades right from your freshman year instead of slogging it out in your senior year to make the required grade when you’re desperate for a job.
  • Find a job that allows you to earn money for everyday expenses and if possible, set aside some money towards repaying your student loan.
  • Also focus on boosting your extracurricular profile by getting involved in sports and other non-academic activities. This helps develop your overall personality and helps differentiate you from the hundreds of thousands of people who hold the same degree and have better grades than you.
  • Try and improve your communication skills, especially those that come in handy during job interviews and when dealing with clients and customers (employers are on the lookout for people who come with more than just a degree).
  • Build a network of people who can help you in looking for a job, providing recommendations, and helping you out of tough situations; start with your professors, they’re more valuable than you think they are.
  • Start looking for jobs even before you graduate – attend job fairs, prepare your resume, and apply for jobs through online and offline channels.
  • Once you get a job, focus on repaying your student debt at the earliest.

If your degree helps you do all of the above, then it’s really, really worth every penny, every minute and every drop of sweat you’ve put into it.