Category: Educate

Benefits of Earning a College Degree

Earning a college degree is such an important step in life that it has become a central part of the “American Dream”. Go to college, get a job, buy a house, raise a family. It may not always be that simple, but it all starts with your college education.

Earning a college degree is all about opening up opportunities in life. It prepares you, both intellectually and socially, for your career and your adult life. The benefits of a college education include career opportunities like better paying and higher skilled jobs, but studies have shown that it also leads to overall happiness and stability.

Many people know that they want to attend college, but don’t know exactly why, or how it will enrich their lives. Below are some of the many benefits of earning a college degree.

1. Make More Money

For most people, the ability to earn more money is the driving force behind going to college. A post-secondary degree, whether it is a bachelor’s, master’s or PhD, is the most common route to careers that demand higher skills and offer higher pay.

Studies show that college graduates earn significantly more money throughout their lifetime than those with only high school education.

According to a national report by the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (sheeo.org), high school graduates earn an average of almost $30,000 per year. Bachelor’s graduates earn an average of just over $50,000 a year. And those with a higher level degree (master’s, doctorate or professional) average nearly $70,000 per year. This translates to a significant earnings gap over the course of one’s life.

Earnings potential varies depending on what field you work in. For example, a master’s degree in education or nursing won’t lead to nearly as much wealth as a master’s degree in engineering or business. But education and nursing are far and away the most in-demand professions out there. If you enter one of these fields, you’re likely to find a good job somewhere – even if it doesn’t pay as well a job in engineering or business.

There is still an income disparity in gender and race. White males tend to make more money than their non-white-male counterparts. But relative to all gender and racial demographics, earnings potential still increases dramatically with a college degree.

2. Benefits for You and Your Family

Obviously, higher income is a primary benefit of earning your college degree. But most jobs that require a bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral or professional degree tend to also provide more benefits. This can include health care, retirement investment, travel and other perks. These types of benefits are rarely offered for high-school-level jobs.

Part of the reason employment benefits are so important is because they offer stability for your family, especially in the case of health care. They are called benefits, but in reality, they are a vital part of anyone’s salary. In some cases, the value of benefits even exceeds an employee’s take-home pay.

The benefits of a college education also extend beyond generations. Families of college graduates are generally better off economically and socially. But it is also more likely that the next generation of children will attend college. So you can look at it as an investment in the future of your family.

3. Better Career Opportunities

Earning a college degree is the most common pathway to a better career. Entering college, not everyone knows what they want to do when they grow up. But most know they want to have a better job-not only one that will pay more, but one in which they are more satisfied and secure. That combination of benefits is why so many people make the investment of time and money to go to college.

Oftentimes it’s not necessarily what you study, but the fact that you studied something at all. Aside from training you in an expert field, college trains you to think analytically, understand complex subjects and communicate your own critical ideas about them. It also instills crucial skills like organization, self-discipline and the ability to complete tasks from start to finish. In other words, college helps mold you into a more professional individual.

Because college gives you a broad range of skills, many college graduates end up in fields that are not what they studied in school. College can open up unexpected opportunities that aren’t always there for those who haven’t engaged in a higher level of education.

In today’s economy, employment options are shrinking for people who only have a high school diploma. A large majority of high school graduates work in the service industry, in low paying jobs that don’t offer many opportunities for advancement. College graduates, on the other hand, tend to have skills that qualify them for a broad range of employment in fields that offer more upward mobility.

4. Job Security and Satisfaction

Having a post-secondary degree typically leads to better job security. Let’s face it: if you don’t have a degree, you’re probably not as valuable to your employer. When push comes to shove it will be much easier to replace you with someone else who only completed high school.

In fact, an educated staff is so important to some companies that they will even pay for employees’ tuition. This is how valuable a college degree can be. It is seen as an investment that will bring substantial rewards, not only to the employee, but to the company as well.

Data shows that in an economic recession, college graduates are less vulnerable to layoffs. The people who suffer the most from job cuts are lower level employees who only have high school diplomas. There are no guarantees, but if you have a college degree you will be less likely to suffer long-term unemployment.

As a college graduate, it is also more likely that you will enjoy your job. All the factors listed above-higher income, employment benefits and advancement opportunities-lead to better job satisfaction. But a college degree also gives you more freedom to pursue a career that interests you, maybe even inspires you.

5. An Investment in Your Future

Attending college is a major commitment of time and money, but it is also a down payment on success. Earning your college degree will help you realize your goals in your career as well as life in general. It requires a lot of hard work, but that work prepares you for a challenging and rewarding career and a more fruitful life.

6. Networking

It’s quite easy to think of the benefits of a college degree in terms of future earnings and promotion opportunities. However, what’s spoken of less frequently is the role that networking can play in these opportunities. People often get jobs based on recommendations made by my friends, while in other cases, having a professional network can help people learn about upcoming job opportunities before others do. The truth is that creating a professional network can mean the difference between finding a job or getting a promotion, and those networks start forming in college.

On your way to a degree, you can either passively sit through courses before leaving for the day or become active with your fellow students. Colleges are filled with volunteer organizations and professional societies where you can meet others who are in your field. Through these contacts, you may learn about opportunities while you’re still in school. This might include internship opportunities and other chances to get real world experience that will look good on your resume.

These same contacts may be able to link you to resources that will help you better understand your field. By connecting with these people, you can more quickly learn about your field while you’re in school. They may provide access to resources that include books or even professionals that you can talk to who can help you learn more about the industry you hope to enter.

Of course, the most helpful aspect of making these connections is likely the recommendations they will make to their employers on their behalf. It’s not uncommon in businesses for managers to first look internally for potential hires. Your professional contacts may be able to suggest you as a recommendation when businesses start hiring, giving you an advantage when it comes to being hired by a company in your field.

7. Personal Development

A college degree is helpful for many practical reasons, ranging from your increased competitiveness to the increased likeliness that you’ll be promoted within your job. However, people underestimate the degree of personal growth that they’ll experience as they’re working through their degree. A college education requires students to overcome all types of adversity and prepares them not only for the workplace, but for dealing with many of life’s challenges.

Time management and organization, for example, are just two examples of the skills that you’re likely to pick up during your time in college. Both are needed to successfully navigate the many courses you’ll be taken while also successfully tackling the tasks before you. Test, quiz, and homework dates can all become confusing when you’re dealing with multiple classes. Good organization can help you manage all of your responsibilities, and it’s a skill that will be useful once you have your degree. Not only is it useful in the workplace, but it can help you manage your personal responsibilities at home. Even simple tasks like bill payments are made easier when you can properly track what is due and when.

Of course, on a larger level, the sort of personal development you’ll experience will largely be related to overcoming adversity. College requires that you overcome one challenge after another, ranging from financial responsibilities to passing tests or completing projects. You’ll need to be not only intelligent but disciplined in order to complete your schooling. These traits are often developed slowly throughout college. As you learn how to better respond to stress and adversity, you’ll slowly find that you’re better able to deal with adversity in a number of situations.

8. Higher Likeliness of High Quality Benefits

As the economy improves, companies find it harder and harder to attract top talent. The reason why is that, as the economy improves, businesses need to hire more. That puts highly qualified employees in high demand. In turn, these employees are more easily able to say no to one company in favor of another.

This is especially true with a college degree, which prepares employees with a number of skills that make them more highly qualified. The more highly qualified, the more likeliness that they’ll be in high demand. To lure these kinds of employees, businesses will often try to lure them incentives other than just good pay. These incentives include benefits packages that include more vacation time and better healthcare options.

One of the best parts of getting your college degree is the access it gives you to high quality benefits and perks. Employers will often offer to cover more healthcare costs or offer more vacation time to lure highly qualified employees. In other cases, they may offer better retirement investment options that will make life after retirement easier. These kinds of packages take some of the responsibility for saving for a rainy day off of the shoulders of these employees.

Individuals with a college degree are more often economically well off not only because they’re paid better but because they have to worry less about sinking the majority of their money into healthcare or retirement funds. For many people, this paves the way for more easily preparing for a family and saving for a child’s college. Even for people who don’t plan to have families, the savings from better benefits packages makes it easier for them to save money for personal enjoyment, like traveling or investing into a hobby.

Some College Majors Promise Better Future Than Others

A degree in art might not lead to a career with a six figure salary but where would society be if everyone became an engineer. We need artists too, don’t we? Does it really matter what college major you pursue? Well, a lot of people didn’t think so until recently. Due to falling post-graduate employment numbers and rising cost of tuition, many people are beginning to rethink the value of certain majors and degree programs. Many researchers are now investigating which majors provide a decent return on investment and which don’t. Not surprisingly, you could probably guess what researchers have discovered.

Without fail, students who major in STEM fields – science, technology, engineering and math – find jobs quicker, earn more money, and experience more job stability than students who earn degrees in liberal arts and humanities fields. In a tight job market, or during a recession, recent graduates with degrees in social sciences, humanities or liberal arts can find it challenging to find gainful employment.

While the answer to the dilemma seems very straight forward to most – earn a degree in a field with high earning potential – some argue that the answer isn’t so simple. A few educators at Oregon State University, suggest that forcing people into a major, such as computer science, simply because it yields a relatively high financial return on investment may create shortages in occupation that are just as important to the economic future of our country. These same educators also assert that it’s not fair to compare STEM majors head to head with more non-technical majors because students interested in degrees in the social sciences, humanities or liberal arts might be looking for personal rewards that are not financial in nature.

The reality is, not all degrees are equal. But you may be surprised to find how valuable different degrees actually are. A recent report published by the Georgetown Public Policy Institute (GPPI), a leading public policy program at Georgetown University, found majors yielding some of the lowest unemployment rates are chemistry, finance and nursing. While recent graduates of engineering, mathematics, and computer science programs demanded the highest starting salaries ($56,000+), unemployment rates in these job sectors were about average. It came as no surprise that anthropology, photography and film majors experienced some of the highest rates of unemployment just out of college, however, the report also showed that students who majored in architecture and information systems also experienced relatively high unemployment rates as well. Students who majored in fine arts have some of the lowest starting salaries of any group.

A study produced by the Employment Department for the state of Oregon corroborated the findings published by GPPI – job opportunities for nursing, engineering and computer science majors were substantially greater than those who majored in architecture, arts, and related fields.

Notwithstanding all the evidence, a tough job market, and the increasing cost of attending college, hoards of students are still enrolling in social science, humanities and liberal arts majors. In some states the number of students enrolled in social science, fine arts or humanities majors outnumbers students majoring in STEM fields 10 to 1.

Proponents of non-STEM majors argue that a good liberal arts education develops well-rounded students that can succeed in any number of jobs. Proponents of STEM majors point out that many students opt for liberal arts majors because they are not as difficult and require less work to get good grades. However, all agree that acquiring leadership, communication, analytical and problems solving skills in college is what’s most important to future success – regardless of how it occurs.

Whichever educational path students choose to pursue, one thing is clear, they must be better prepared to face an increasingly competitive job market and turn their college education into a winning proposition.

10 Habits of Highly Effective Students

The key to becoming an effective student is learning how to study smarter, not harder. This becomes more and more true as you advance in your education. An hour or two of studying a day is usually sufficient to make it through high school with satisfactory grades, but when college arrives, there aren’t enough hours in the day to get all your studying in if you don’t know how to study smarter.

While some students are able to breeze through school with minimal effort, this is the exception. The vast majority of successful students achieve their success by developing and applying effective study habits. The following are the top 10 study habits employed by highly successful students. So if you want to become a successful student, don’t get discouraged, don’t give up, just work to develop each of the study habits below and you’ll see your grades go up, your knowledge increase, and your ability to learn and assimilate information improve.

1. Don’t attempt to cram all your studying into one session.

Ever find yourself up late at night expending more energy trying to keep your eyelids open than you are studying? If so, it’s time for a change. Successful students typically space their work out over shorter periods of time and rarely try to cram all of their studying into just one or two sessions. If you want to become a successful student then you need to learn to be consistent in your studies and to have regular, yet shorter, study periods.

2. Plan when you’re going to study.

Successful students schedule specific times throughout the week when they are going to study — and then they stick with their schedule. Students who study sporadically and whimsically typically do not perform as well as students who have a set study schedule. Even if you’re all caught up with your studies, creating a weekly routine, where you set aside a period of time a few days a week, to review your courses will ensure you develop habits that will enable you to succeed in your education long term.

3. Study at the same time.

Not only is it important that you plan when you’re going to study, it’s important you create a consistent, daily study routine. When you study at the same time each day and each week, you’re studying will become a regular part of your life. You’ll be mentally and emotionally more prepared for each study session and each study session will become more productive. If you have to change your schedule from time to time due to unexpected events, that’s okay, but get back on your routine as soon as the event has passed.

4. Each study time should have a specific goal.

Simply studying without direction is not effective. You need to know exactly what you need to accomplish during each study session. Before you start studying, set a study session goal that supports your overall academic goal (i.e. memorize 30 vocabulary words in order to ace the vocabulary section on an upcoming Spanish test.)

5. Never procrastinate your planned study session.

It’s very easy, and common, to put off your study session because of lack of interest in the subject, because you have other things you need to get done, or just because the assignment is hard. Successful students DO NOT procrastinate studying. If you procrastinate your study session, your studying will become much less effective and you may not get everything accomplished that you need to. Procrastination also leads to rushing, and rushing is the number one cause of errors.

6. Start with the most difficult subject first.

As your most difficult assignment or subject will require the most effort and mental energy, you should start with it first. Once you’ve completed the most difficult work, it will be much easier to complete the rest of your work. Believe it or not, starting with the most difficult subject will greatly improve the effectiveness of your study sessions, and your academic performance.

7. Always review your notes before starting an assignment.

Obviously, before you can review your notes you must first have notes to review. Always make sure to take good notes in class. Before you start each study session, and before you start a particular assignment, review your notes thoroughly to make sure you know how to complete the assignment correctly. Reviewing your notes before each study session will help you remember important subject matter learned during the day, and make sure your studying is targeted and effective.

8. Make sure you’re not distracted while you’re studying.

Everyone gets distracted by something. Maybe it’s the TV. Or maybe it’s your family. Or maybe it’s just too quiet. Some people actually study better with a little background noise. When you’re distracted while studying you (1) lose your train of thought and (2) are unable to focus — both of which will lead to very ineffective studying. Before you start studying, find a place where you won’t be disturbed or distracted. For some people this is a quiet cubicle in the recesses of the library. For others it is in a common area where there is a little background noise.

9. Use study groups effectively.

Ever heard the phrase “two heads are better than one?” Well this can be especially true when it comes to studying. Working in groups enables you to (1) get help from others when you’re struggling to understand a concept, (2) complete assignments more quickly, and (3) teach others, whereby helping both the other students and yourself to internalize the subject matter. However, study groups can become very ineffective if they’re not structured and if group members come unprepared. Effective students use study groups effectively.

10. Review your notes, schoolwork and other class materials over the weekend.

Successful students review what they’ve learned during the week over the weekend. This way they’re well prepared to continue learning new concepts that build upon previous coursework and knowledge acquired the previous week.

We’re confident that if you’ll develop the habits outlined above that you’ll see a major improvement in your academic success.

What Inspired You to Become a Teacher?

I’ve been a teacher for 7 years now, I qualified when I was 37, so I was quite late to the game. In many ways, having a bit of life experience before you teach is a good thing but there are amazing teachers who go straight into teaching from university. I was wondering the other day, what inspired you to be a teacher (“you” being the rest of the teaching world!).

The reasons for becoming a teacher are numerous, but in my opinion, there are some reasons that are more valid than others. I stress, this is only my opinion but I feel I am in a good place to comment.

The best reason to be a teacher is that you want to have a positive, inspiring impact on children’s lives. You achieve this by being kind, caring, empathic, passionate and funny. These are great qualities that a teacher should possess.

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Who Inspired Me to Be a Teacher?

There have been two people who have inspired me to become a teacher, although I didn’t realise it at the time. The first was my English teacher at high school, she was a relatively new teacher but was excellent.

I always struggled with writing and was always told, “you must improve your handwriting”. Miss Greig wasn’t bothered about it but was more interested in what I wrote, not how my writing looked. She inspired me to be the best I can. I enjoyed her lessons and looked forward to them. She was engaging and kind.

Next up, is one of my university lecturers. I was studying marine biology (I was a mature student, starting my degree when I was 31). I don’t think I ever spoke one to one with this lecturer but his 3-hour lectures passed in a flash, It was like watching an amazing movie, he was passionate and active, he had a sense of humor that permeated through the very technical topics he taught (e.g. Marine Ecophysiology). I was left always wanting more.

What Are the Qualities of a Good Teacher?

Between the above two educators, I realised that being kind, caring, empathic, passionate and funny were great qualities that a teacher should possess.

Why?

Children face an immeasurable amount of different life circumstances, for some, (more than we usually know or like to think) home life is not always a happy place. School for them can be a place where the troubles of home don’t matter, a place where they feel safe.

Having someone who is kind, is caring and who has chosen to be there for them means more than any fancy new device, clothes or money.

The is no more inspiring quality than passion, those we follow or admire, they all have a bucket load of it. Where that passion comes from doesn’t matter, the fact they have it is what is important. Think of someone you admire, what passion do they show, think a little deeper and you will find it’s their passion that is the reason you admire them.

As for the reason why humor is a good quality for a teacher? Has there ever been a time you didn’t want to laugh? No. All of these qualities serve one purpose, engagement.

If your students want to be in your room, the battle is won before it starts. Fail in this and you may as well not bother.

What Are the Qualities of a Bad Teacher?

In contrast, there are qualities that are bad for a teacher to have. I’m not going to state the obvious and talk about lack of subject knowledge or lack of classroom management, these are things that can be learnt. I’m thinking about the basic personality traits that a good teacher shouldn’t have.

Putting career before the student’s welfare and education is unforgivable in my opinion. Yes, it’s a positive quality to have but NOT at the expense of great teaching. Yes, it shows ambition but I’ve seen too many teachers think more about their career than the education of their students.

They change things for the sake of it, only to get their name mentioned and noticed by leadership. Children need stability and things should only be changed when there is a benefit to the those we serve, the children.

Not being able to think through their eyes. Expecting learners to adjust the way they think to our way is never going to be successful. The children in your classrooms do not live in the same world we do, theirs is a digital world.

If you find yourself thinking or saying anything along the lines of “I got through school without using a device” or “we actually spoke to people and went outside” then guess what? You’re probably not in the right frame of mind to be a good teacher. Yet.

How Do I Become an Inspirational Teacher?

First and foremost, you need to take a good look at yourself. Teaching is hard, it is very stressful but it also rewards great satisfaction. The pay isn’t great, the hours you work will be long and the things you are asked to do over and above your normal duties every growing.

But…

There is no career more rewarding or more important. To be an inspiring teacher you must really want to do it. Inspiring teachers don’t go into it with the thought of it being a career move, more, that they want to help sculpt the minds of the future, to be there for those who need it.

The journey to being an inspiring teacher starts with your basic reason for wanting it in the first place. Teach with the passion that fuels you, show them your fire. Care for them the way you’d want your own children (or yourself, when you were a child) cared for.

As stated above, you must have the ability to see the world through their eyes, both from an educational and a nurturing perspective.

Great Personalities Who Were Influenced by Their Teachers.

Bill Gates
Bill Gates

Bill Gates attended Seattle’s View Ridge Elementary School. It was all thanks to Blanche Caffiere. She was the librarian and was his inspiration. Because of her empathy and guidance, he was able to florish into a man who would change the world forever.

Bill gates maybe one of the richest people in the world and we may mostly know him because of Microsoft and Windows but the Gates Foundation, run by Mr Gates and his wife Melinda, donate BILLIONS of Dollars to help people around the world who live in extreme hunger and poverty. He Gates tells his story on his blog:

“When I first met Mrs Caffiere, she was the elegant and engaging school librarian at Seattle’s View Ridge Elementary, and I was a timid fourth grader. I was desperately trying to go unnoticed, because I had some big deficits, like atrocious handwriting … and I was trying to hide the fact that I liked to read—something that was cool for girls but not for boys … Mrs Caffiere took me under her wing and helped make it okay for me to be a messy, nerdy boy who was reading lots of books.”

He credits Mrs. Caffiere for many things but he attributes her guidance as one of the initial sparks that ultimately lead to the Gates Foundation.

He also said this of Mrs Caffiere, which I think is pertinent to this article:

“It’s remarkable how much power one good person can have in shaping the life of a child.“

Maya Angelou
Maya Angelou

As we know, Maya Angelou was a civil rights activist, an author and a poet. Her early life was full of horrid physical and emotional abuse, abuse administered by a family member, someone who should have protected her. The abuse was so bad that she became mute for five years.

That was until she met a teacher named Bertha Flowers. Mrs Flowers was a family friend, she introduced Angelou to Dickens, Shakespeare, Poe and other hugely influential writers as well as artists and performers. It was through Mrs Flowers’ influence and guidance that Angelou found her voice again, A voice so powerful and influential, it is still heard in classrooms across the globe years after her death in 2014 and will continue to do so for many years to come.

Maya Angelou also is quoted as saying this, again, it’s very relevant to this article:

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

What Inspired You to Be a Teacher?

What comes up time and time again is that behind every great person there have been one or more great teachers inspiring them. Scientists, writers, leaders, the list goes on, all guided by the hand of a teacher. Maybe not always in the traditional sense but always a teacher.

I decided to be a teacher because I wanted to do something worthwhile in my life, I love working with kids, no day is the same, they never cease to make me laugh and they are a lot more bloody interesting than the corporate robots that I’ve encountered in previous careers. There are some exceptions (in case they are reading this!) and they would be the ones who influenced me.

But, what inspired you? Leave a comment below and let me know, I’d love to hear your story. New teachers and those thinking of education would really benefit from hearing it. I’m sure they would greatly appreciate it.

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