College Trends: Top 10 Bachelor and Associate Degrees and Majors part 2

Bachelor or Associate Degree: What does your career path require?

In the fall of 2008, over 16.4 million undergraduate students were enrolled in degree-granting programs, but not all of these students were pursuing 4-year degrees. As you consider whether to work towards a bachelor or an associate degree, here are some interesting statistics to consider:

  • 36% of all undergraduate students who were enrolled in degree-granting programs in fall 2008 attended a public four-year institution leading to a bachelor degree.
  • 41% undergraduate students who were enrolled in degree-granting programs in fall 2008 attended public two-year colleges. 4
  • 25% of all students have enrolled in at least one online course.5 4% of undergraduate students have taken their courses of study entirely online.6

In addition to these degree programs, there were also an additional 471,000 undergraduate students enrolled in non-degree-granting programs. Many of these non-degree-seeking students were working toward vocational certificates.7 You can personalize your college experience to fit your unique set of personal and career goals. Pay attention to your goals; only you truly know what they are.

What Major to Study

Deciding to go to college is a big deal. Deciding where to go to college, whether at a traditional college campus or an online college or university, and how college can meet your personal and career needs is an even bigger step towards making that dream happen. But the decisions don’t end there. As you pursue your degree, you’ll need to think about what to major in and how it aligns with your career aspirations.

Are you looking to switch fields? As you pursue your degree, be sure to understand what prerequisites and certifications are required to enter that new field.

Will your degree be related to your current job? Studies have shown this can work towards your advantage. 38% of working students pursue an academic major related to their job and it’s been shown working in a position related to one’s academic interest has a positive effect on degree completion.8 If your goal is to graduate, as it should be, this is good news.

Work or College: It can be both

Do you need to work full-time while taking college classes? If so, you’ll be among 78% of students who work while attending college and the almost 25% of students who work full-time.9 This, however, doesn’t have to be seen as a detriment to your success. In fact, just the opposite can be true: those whose career and academic aspirations align themselves tend to have higher success rates of staying the course, succeeding in school, and obtaining their degree.

You are Unique

Each student’s set of needs is different. So, too, are career goals. Your major and the degree you graduate with will vary with your particular set of career goals, personal circumstances and interests. Pay attention to your particular situation. Choose your degree and major wisely. You can fit college to meet your specific and unique set of needs now and in the future. Allow your college degree to take you where you want to go.

3 College Board Advocacy & Policy Center, Trends in Higher Education Series: Trends in College Pricing, 2010, p.27

4 IBID, p.26

5 IBID, p.27

6 IBID, p.27

7 IBID, p.26

8 Acenet Issue Brief, Working Their Way Through College, PDF, May 2006, p4

9 IBID, p.1

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