If you are thinking of attending higher education, then you are certainly thinking about which type of degree is best for you. There are many options today, from online college coursework, to in-person classes. From two-year diploma programs, or an Associate degree, to four-year diploma programs, also known as a bachelor’s degree.
Deciding which program is right for you can involve asking yourself important questions, like the ones listed below. Answers to questions about your short and long-term goals, your lifestyle and the benefits you desire can give you great insight and can give you clarity into whether an associate or bachelor program is best for you.
Short-term Goals: Why Do You Want a Degree?
The answer to this question will vary for everyone. Some may want a degree for personal satisfaction, while others want to get a promotion at work. Other reasons to get a college degree may include making more money, entering a career that requires a degree, or to gain a more satisfying job.
Furthermore, people choose to get a degree to make themselves more desirable to employers, improve specific skills like communication or critical thinking, and for access to more job opportunities.In some cases, having a college degree can offer job stability and benefits that non-degree requiring jobs don’t offer.
Once you decide on your short-term goals, you can evaluate the degree program that helps you reach those goals the fastest. Then you can focus on long-term goals.
Long-term Goals: What Do You Want to Do After You Get a Degree?
Setting long-term goals means looking into the future, far into the future. Ask yourself what you want to do once you have achieved your degree, whether it be an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. In ten or more years, will the degree you earned still be satisfying personally and professionally? Or, do you feel more education will be needed?
Do you see in your future a desire to move higher up the corporate ladder? And if so, will that require more education? Many factors should be prioritized when setting goals, from family and social life, to hobbies and career needs.
Once you set goals and priorities, you can move on to the next question, which focuses on how to reach your goal.
What Type of Degree Helps You Meet Your Goals?
You have determined why you want a college degree. Now you must figure out the best way to reach that goal. For instance, if you are seeking a college degree to get a promotion at work, you will need to meet the requirements of that new job.
If the new job requires at least an Associate degree, then you know you need an Associate degree program. If the job you want requires a bachelor’s degree, then you know a four-year program is needed.
If you are seeking personal satisfaction, you will need to look inward to decide if getting an Associate’s or bachelor’s degree will help you feel most satisfied. You may even choose to get both, starting with an Associate’s and then transferring those credits to a bachelor level program.
Take time to write down your “why” and the steps needed to get there. Then you can focus on other issues that may affect your decision, like your lifestyle.
What is Your Lifestyle?
For some, adjusting lifestyle to meet the demands of college will be easy. For others, many factors must be considered, and college life is not so easily adjusted. Some may choose to be a full-time student. They may choose to forgo working and live full-time on campus, taking a full course load every semester for at least four years until they finish their desired bachelor program.
This may not be the case for you. You may need to work full-time while attending college. You may have children or other family members to care for while taking college courses. You may not even be able to attend classes in person and may need to seek a program that is online.
Prioritizing the elements of your lifestyle will help you determine which type of degree program is best for you. Many associate degree programs are flexible when it comes to when, where and how they offer courses. In addition, you can obtain a degree in a shorter amount of time since they do not require the general education classes that most bachelor’s degree programs do.
So, if you are seeking more flexible options that lead to achieving your goal of a degree in the shortest amount of time, an Associate degree may be the best option for you. Each degree program offers different benefits. It’s up to you to figure out the one that provides you with the most.
Which Degree Gives You the Most Benefits?
There are many advantages to obtaining both an associate’s and bachelor’s degree. Reports state an associate degree program may be more affordable for some. This could be due to fewer classes needed to complete the program.
Associate programs have also been reported to get you into a career field quicker than if you attend a four-year program. And while you may not be in your dream job just yet, you are at least in the field. With an associate degree, the option for furthering your education is always available.
Bachelor’s degree programs are filled with benefits also. Once completed, reports show you can earn more income than if you have a bachelor’s degree, although there doesn’t seem to be a huge difference in some fields.
One of the best actions you can take to help you decide between an associate and bachelor’s degree program is to get to know yourself. Ask yourself these questions and more. What is it you really desire in life? What will make you happy? Give yourself honest answers.
What you want for yourself, your family, and your future will be the ultimate determinates of choosing a degree program.