6 Practical Insights to Consider Before Pursuing Your Degree

Applying to college, professional, or graduate school marks an exciting point in life. You’ve performed well in school so far and aspire to pursue higher education for personal growth. This is your chance to expand knowledge, sharpen analytical abilities, and learn from experienced individuals.

Conventional wisdom states that higher education generally leads to a higher salary, better job prospects, and numerous benefits. While this is true to an extent, the picture is more intricate. Embarking on the journey of advancing your education will likely fulfill most of your intended goals, but there are practical implications you may not have considered.

Here are six essential considerations before investing your time, money, and resources into a four-year college or advanced degree:

  1. Risk Balancing: Attending a good college or pursuing an advanced degree is often a wise choice for many. If you’re in high school, chances are you haven’t developed hard skills for the workforce yet. Graduating college or nearing graduation may enhance your career prospects and salary. Consider “risk balancing”—weigh the benefits of education against potential entrepreneurial paths or skill-based careers, such as becoming a real estate broker, artist, musician, restauranteur, etc. Degrees are generally helpful on average, but you need to think about your unique circumstances and determine what’s right for you.
  2. Debt: Unless you have a full or partial scholarship, debt becomes a serious concern. Many students don’t fully grasp its impact until years after graduation. Assess the economics of your chosen degree by comparing expected earnings to the cost of education. If your debt is likely to be $100k after graduation with a $50k earning potential, you might rethink the economics.
  3. School Ranking: School ranking affects job prospects and connections. Highly ranked schools offer better opportunities but are more competitive to get into and may be costly. Regional options can also be strong contenders in their respective markets.
  4. Realistic Job Prospects: Research employment rates, starting salaries, and employers that typically recruit from your potential university. This information is crucial in understanding your job prospects after graduation.
  5. Opportunity Cost: Consider what you could accomplish in the time spent pursuing a degree. Evaluate your current job prospects, potential for advancement, and how an advanced degree aligns with your long-term goals.
  6. Career Satisfaction: Understand the daily life in your chosen field and how it aligns with your personality and aspirations. Those who are more analytical minded might be better served working in an office environment than in the field, for example. Job satisfaction plays a vital role in long-term fulfillment.


By carefully considering these practical aspects, you can make an informed decision about your educational journey and pave the way for future success.