college education http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/11663/all en-US 7 Things Employers Care About More Than Your Degree http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-employers-care-about-more-than-your-degree <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-things-employers-care-about-more-than-your-degree" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-587892248.jpg" alt="Woman learning things employers care about more than a degree" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>A college education is a wonderful asset. You get a foundation on which you can build a great career, life experiences, and friendships that can last a lifetime. However, a degree is not the be-all and end-all of what makes you an ideal job candidate. Employers are looking for other key factors that separate you from the crowd.</p> <h2>1. Hands-on experience</h2> <p>There is a world of difference between college experience and real world experience. As it was so profoundly put in <em>The Secret of my Success</em>, it comes down to this: &quot;What you've got is college experience, not the practical, hard-nosed business experience we're looking for.&quot;</p> <p>Education is great, but it doesn't compare to being in the trenches, and employers know that. If you've got years of experience under your belt, it can often take the place of a degree or other form of education. And, it means you have references from people in the industry. This is by far the best way to separate yourself from the competition.</p> <h2>2. Ability to solve problems</h2> <p>It doesn't matter whether you have an office job, work in a garage, or are out in the fields every day. Whatever your chosen career, you are going to encounter problems; it's a daily part of every job. How you handle those situations will hold you in good stead, and problem solvers are highly prized.</p> <p>Do you think laterally? Can you condense the problem into key issues that should be addressed? Do you take charge when faced with a challenge? If you can hold your head up high and demonstrate your ability to solve problems quickly and effectively, your future employer will find you very hirable.</p> <h2>3. Communication skills</h2> <p>Directly related to problem solving, how well you communicate can be just as important as what you're communicating. It's no good having a great solution to a problem if you're afraid to speak up, or find yourself unable to distill your thoughts into actionable directions. Someone who can communicate well, and in a way that motivates and produces results, is a great asset to any employer.</p> <h2>4. Collaboration skills</h2> <p>Loners tend not to do well in most jobs. Sure, there are a few exceptions here or there, but for the most part, you must be able to work well as part of a team. In fact, one of the keywords you'll see most frequently listed in job postings is &quot;team player.&quot; Employers want candidates who can quickly and easily become part of a team, even if individuals in the group have clear differences. A candidate that can put aside those differences to produce a great team effort is worth their weight in gold.</p> <h2>5. Work-related achievements</h2> <p>Think about what achievements you can use as a plus during your application and hiring process. Have you written a successful blog or book about the industry? Are you a guest speaker at industry-related events? Have you appeared on television or radio? Have you won any industry awards?</p> <p>Any and all of these things can go a long way to getting you hired, and are often far more valuable than a degree. It shows that you know your stuff and know it well. Don't be afraid to list your achievements, even if they're not directly related to the job. They still count, and they have cachet.</p> <h2>6. Volunteer work</h2> <p>Charitable endeavors can do a lot to highlight the kind of person you are, and employers love seeing this on a resume. First and foremost, it's a sacrifice of personal time to do something for the greater good, and that says a lot about your character. The kinds of charities you work for can also sway the employer even more.</p> <p>For example, while volunteering at an animal shelter is great, helping people in need, like military veterans, will hold a little more value. How long you have been volunteering is also important. If you have been at it for 10 years, despite a poor economy and changing jobs a few times, it shows real dedication. And of course, you will get excellent references from anywhere you volunteer for, which leads to the final point.</p> <h2>7. Awesome references</h2> <p>The old saying &quot;It's not what you know, it's who you know&quot; is directly applicable to your career. In fact, many people climb the corporate ladder with great speed due to knowing the right people, regardless of skills or accomplishments.</p> <p>For example, let's say you're in the film industry, and you have no formal education in video production, editing, sound, or any of the other required skills. The employer will obviously overlook all of that if you have a reference from Steven Spielberg, Ron Howard, or Martin Scorsese. This is, of course, an extreme example. But if you have references from well-respected professionals in the industry, you're golden.</p> <p>When it comes to getting a job, you need to use every advantage you have; especially if you do not have the &quot;right&quot; kind of education for the position. But if you're smart and inventive, you can still get the job without the diploma. Good luck.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-employers-care-about-more-than-your-degree">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-skills-todays-employers-value-most">7 Skills Today&#039;s Employers Value Most</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-hired-by-your-dream-company">How to Get Hired by Your Dream Company</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-part-time-jobs-that-offer-college-benefits">8 Part-Time Jobs That Offer College Benefits</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-surprising-ways-to-pay-off-your-student-loans">8 Surprising Ways to Pay Off Your Student Loans</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/student-loans-the-third-way-to-ruin-your-finances">Student Loans: The Third Way to Ruin Your Finances</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Education & Training Job Hunting accomplishments college education employers experience getting hired no diploma skills volunteering Fri, 12 May 2017 08:30:07 +0000 Paul Michael 1943629 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Surprising Ways a College Education Will Improve Your Life http://www.wisebread.com/10-surprising-ways-a-college-education-will-improve-your-life <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-surprising-ways-a-college-education-will-improve-your-life" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/recent_graduate_000042637552.jpg" alt="Woman learning surprising ways college education improves her life" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Sure, we've all heard the statistics about the lifetime earnings power of having a college degree. But if you or the people around you are doing okay without college, perhaps you think a degree is unnecessary. This might be true in some cases (I've written a post recently that defends the argument against a college degree), but research also shows that a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-cheap-ways-to-continue-your-education-without-going-back-to-school">college education</a> can improve your life in more ways than one.</p> <p>Ultimately, though, it's your choice. So before you close the book on higher education, here are 10 surprising benefits of going to college to consider:</p> <h2>1. You'll Earn More Money</h2> <p>Graduates with a bachelor's degree earn about a <a href="http://www.marketwatch.com/story/a-college-degree-is-worth-1-million-2015-05-07">million dollars more over their lifetimes</a>&nbsp;than those with only some college education and a high school diploma. A Pew Research Center study on college-educated Millennials reports that college graduates between the ages of 25 and 34 working full-time <a href="http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2014/02/11/the-rising-cost-of-not-going-to-college/">earn roughly $17,000 more</a> a year. And according to College Board's Education Pays Study 2013, the average &quot;college graduate who enrolls at age 18 and graduates in four years can expect to <a href="http://trends.collegeboard.org/sites/default/files/education-pays-2013-full-report.pdf">earn enough by age 36</a> to compensate for being out of the labor force for four years.&quot;</p> <h2>2. You'll Acquire More Assets</h2> <p>Since college graduates on average earn more than their peers with a high school diploma, they typically have more assets. According to the USC Center for Higher Education Policy Analysis, people who <a href="http://www.usc.edu/dept/chepa/IDApays/resources/education_important.pdf">attend some form of college</a> usually save more of their money. They also have more assets, such as homes, cars, and investments.</p> <h2>3. You'll Face a Lower Unemployment Rate</h2> <p>Although there's no such thing as true job security (ask anyone you know&hellip; except your tenured professors), the unemployment rate is lower among those with a college education. The Pew Research Center study found that only <a href="http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2014/02/11/the-rising-cost-of-not-going-to-college/">3.8% of those with a bachelor's degree</a> were unemployed in 2012, compared with 8.1% of those with an associate degree or some college and 12.2% of those with a high school diploma. The percent of those living in poverty with a bachelor's degree and high school diploma were 5.8% and 21.8%, respectively. You don't have to be a math major to note the discrepancy.</p> <h2>4. You're More Likely to Have a Pension</h2> <p>A college education also increases the likelihood of enjoying a comfortable, more secure retirement. The College Board study reports that in 2011 only 52% of full-time employees were offered pension plans by their employers. Meanwhile, 65% of employees with a bachelor's degree and 73% of employees with advanced degrees were provided with pensions.</p> <p>Even if your company doesn't offer a pension plan (which is becoming more and more common, by the way), earning more with a college education puts you in a better position to open a 401K or IRA and contribute a greater percentage of your income.</p> <h2>5. You're More Likely to Have Health Insurance</h2> <p>If you don't have health insurance, it only takes one medical emergency to completely ruin your financial life or wipe out your savings account. This is less likely to happen if you have a college education. The College Board found that people with at least a bachelor's degree were more likely to receive health insurance through an employer. In 2011, employers only provided health insurance to 55% of full-time employees with a high school diploma, whereas 69% of employees with bachelor's degrees and 73% of employees with advanced degrees received coverage.</p> <h2>6. You'll Live a Healthier Lifestyle (After You Graduate, of Course)</h2> <p>There's a connection between a college education and a healthier lifestyle. In 2012, only 8% of people with at least a four-year degree were smokers, compared to 25% of high school graduates and those without a high school diploma.</p> <p>College graduates also were less likely to be obese. Looking only at adults between the ages of 25 and 34, the study found that 68% of college graduates engaged in vigorous exercise at least once a week, compared to only 40% of high school graduates. Because college-educated people typically adopt healthier habits, they also live longer.</p> <p>According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), &quot;Men without a high school diploma have a <a href="http://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2012/p0516_higher_education.html">life expectancy 9.3 years less</a> than those with at least a bachelor's degree, whereas women without a high school diploma had a life expectancy 8.6 years less than those with at least a bachelor's degree.&quot;</p> <h2>7. You're Able to Spend More Time With Your Children</h2> <p>A college education may also improve your family life, giving you more quality time with your children. College Board reports that mothers with a four-year college degree spend on average about &quot;51% more time on their children's activities than employed mothers with only a high school education.&quot; For those mothers with children under the age three, the amount of playtime spent with their children also increased with education.</p> <h2>8. You're Less Likely to Live With Your Parents</h2> <p>College-educated adults are more likely to be financially independent and less reliant on their parents (after college, that is). In 2012, only 12% of college-educated Millennials lived in their parents' home, compared with 16% of those with a two-year degree or some college, and 18% of high school graduates, says the Pew Research Center.</p> <h2>9. You'll Experience a Higher Rate of Career Satisfaction</h2> <p>If you're in a dead-end job, you might hate going to work every day, and your job might impact your day-to-day happiness. Although a college degree doesn't guarantee you'll enjoy your work, research proves that career satisfaction increases with the level of education. Among workers between the ages of 30 to 45, &quot;51% of those with at least a bachelor's degree reported being very satisfied with their work, compared to only 42% of those without a high school diploma, and 47% of those with a high school diploma,&quot; reports College Board.</p> <h2>10. You'll Gain the Ability to Make Better Decisions</h2> <p>Interestingly enough, a <a href="http://www.usc.edu/dept/chepa/IDApays/resources/education_important.pdf">college education can help you become a savvier, more informed consumer</a>. College doesn't only provide book knowledge to help you succeed in a particular field, it also teaches critical-thinking and problem-solving skills. You learn the importance of weighing the pros and cons before making a decision, and you're more likely to compare rates and prices, which helps you save money.</p> <p><em>Did you go to college? What other ways has a college education improved your life? Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-surprising-ways-a-college-education-will-improve-your-life">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-a-free-copy-of-navigating-your-health-benefits-for-dummies">Get a Free Copy of &quot;Navigating Your Health Benefits for Dummies&quot;</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-wait-to-go-to-college">Should You Wait to Go to College?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-every-parent-should-know-about-the-new-college-financial-aid-rules">What Every Parent Should Know About the New College Financial Aid Rules</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-score-free-or-almost-free-college-textbooks">How to Score Free (or Almost Free) College Textbooks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-college-students-can-save-money-before-class-starts">8 Ways College Students Can Save Money Before Class Starts</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks Education & Training benefits college college education Health health benefits unemployment Tue, 13 Oct 2015 09:00:11 +0000 Mikey Rox 1586508 at http://www.wisebread.com Student Loans: The Third Way to Ruin Your Finances http://www.wisebread.com/student-loans-the-third-way-to-ruin-your-finances <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/student-loans-the-third-way-to-ruin-your-finances" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/uofi-alma-mater-5_0.jpg" alt="Alma Mater Sculpture" title="Alma Mater" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I've long said there are two ways people ruin their finances &mdash; loss of income or large uninsured expense. I've recently become aware of a third. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/pre-career-advice">Pre-Career Advice</a>)</p> <p>The new way to ruin your finances is this &mdash; take on enough student loan debt to get a college education.</p> <p>This is new. It used to be that most people who ruined their finances did it one of the old fashioned ways:</p> <ol> <li>They suffered a sharp drop in income (such as by losing a job)</li> <li>They incurred a large, uninsured expense (such as losing a lawsuit)</li> </ol> <p>I suppose, in a sense, student loan debt is just a special case of the second, with the large expense being the cost of going to college. But student loan debt is special in a lot of ways.</p> <p>First of all, it's the only kind of debt still out there where lenders will send you money without any regard for how you might be able to pay it back. (And why should they care? Usually, the debt is guaranteed by the federal government. Plus, you can't escape it, even in bankruptcy.)</p> <p>Another way it's unusual is that the very first loan &mdash; often arranged before you even turn 18 &mdash; sets you on an irreversible path. Oh, it's not completely unchangeable &mdash; you can change your major; you can even switch to a different school &mdash; but if you change your mind and decide that you'd rather not go deeply into debt, you're left without the degree that was your main hope for earning enough money to pay the loan back.</p> <p>It's as if you'd borrowed money to buy a car without realizing that, in practical terms, you'd committed to buying seven more cars over the next four years &mdash; and if you decided you'd rather not, your first car quits running but you have to pay for it anyway.</p> <p>So, what are you're choices? Here are my thoughts:</p> <h2>The Old Usual Route</h2> <p>The standard advice has long been to pick the best college you can get into and borrow whatever it costs to get a good education.</p> <p>This may still be a good choice &mdash; particularly if someone else will pay a lot of the money, so that &quot;whatever it costs&quot; doesn't put you in debt for the rest of your life.</p> <p>So this is still a reasonable option for plenty of people. In particular, it's a fine option for rich people. (And we're not just talking about the 1% here. Probably the whole top 5% can afford to send their kids to the college of their choice with little or no borrowing necessary, if they want to bad enough.) It may also be an option for people with mad skills in one area &mdash; sports, music, anything that catches the eye of someone with scholarship money to dole out.</p> <p>If this is you, you hardly need my advice. Carry on.</p> <h2>The (Now, Sadly Risky) High-Reward Route</h2> <p>If you <em>really want</em> to do something that <em>pays really well</em>, you can just grit your teeth, borrow the money, and then hope that all goes well and you earn enough money to pay off your debt.</p> <p>There are a lot of jobs that will earn you enough money to cover those monthly bills. The old standbys of doctor and lawyer have the downside that you come out of college needing several more years of further study, but there are others. Any of several flavors of engineer will do the trick.</p> <p>Because the truth about student loan debt hadn't been so apparent until the last few years, a lot of people took this route without looking at how much money they could earn with degree that they'd spend all the money earning. This is why there are so many people out there with degrees in English or social work suffering the ungentle ministrations of our modern debt collection system.</p> <p>If this is you, my advice is that you only go down this route if you really want to do whatever it is you're being trained for. Don't do it because someone said petroleum geologists make good money; do it because you're really interested in rock strata. And then only do it if you're prepared to take the risk. If anything goes wrong &mdash; if you don't like the work, if you can't do it, if you guess wrong about there being good paying jobs a few years from now &mdash; you're screwed.</p> <h2>The &quot;Not Going to College&quot; Route</h2> <p>If you don't go to college, you can jump right in doing something to earn money.</p> <p>Of course, that's also the rub. How will you earn that money? If you jump in waiting tables, working at a gas station, or moving furniture, you'll start earning some money, but there's not really much of a path up from there.</p> <p>If you like the idea, try it for a summer. Then, look around. If you're where you want to be, fine &mdash; you're all set. If not, it's probably not too late to go to college.</p> <p>But what if you have some much more interesting way to earn money? What if you want to do something creative or artistic? What if you have a great idea for starting a business?</p> <p>In that case, it might well make the most sense to just jump right in and do whatever it is. Maybe you'll be able to make a living at it, and maybe you won't, but it's harmless to try. It's harmless, that is, unless you run up a lot of debt. Then you're screwed just like you'd borrowed the money to go to college, except you don't even have a degree.</p> <h2>The Cautious Route</h2> <p>Probably the safest thing to do is to minimize your borrowing by getting the <em>cheapest education possible</em> &mdash; go to community college for two years, then transfer to a state school where you can pay in-state tuition.</p> <p>This is not a bad option. It used to be that there were a lot of gradations of schools, with a wide range through the middle, but I think the advantages of a mid-tier school over a bottom-tier school are smaller than they used to be. (For a lot of reasons, beginning with the Internet.)</p> <p>You don't get a better education by going to a better school; you get a better education by using your time there as an opportunity to transform yourself.</p> <p>What you get out of going to a top school is mainly better contacts. Unless <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-go-to-college-to-learn">your plan requires those contacts</a>, don't bother.</p> <h2>Already Down that Road?</h2> <p>If you've already picked a route &mdash; or, more accurately, parents and guidance counselors and some high school kid picked a route and now you find yourself on it &mdash; your options at this point are limited.</p> <p>If you're still in college, you're on the &quot;potentially high reward&quot; route. If it's not too late, make it a priority to get a degree that will help you earn the money to pay off the debt.</p> <p>If you're out of college and &mdash; for whatever reason &mdash; you're not earning enough to pay your expenses and cover your debts, your options are limited. Do look into options for <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/escape-student-loan-debt-slowly">restructuring the debt</a>. And don't forget that Wise Bread is full of tips on living large on a small budget &mdash; which is probably your best remaining option.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/student-loans-the-third-way-to-ruin-your-finances">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-easy-ways-to-avoid-student-loan-debt">12 Easy Ways to Avoid Student Loan Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-wait-to-go-to-college">Should You Wait to Go to College?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-new-grads-guide-to-debt-management">The New Grad&#039;s Guide to Debt Management</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-definitive-guide-to-pay-as-you-earn-a-great-student-loan-repayment-plan">The Definitive Guide to Pay As You Earn — A Federal Student Loan Repayment Plan</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-employers-care-about-more-than-your-degree">7 Things Employers Care About More Than Your Degree</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Debt Management Education & Training college education financial disasters student loan debt Tue, 19 Feb 2013 10:36:45 +0000 Philip Brewer 967917 at http://www.wisebread.com Should You Wait to Go to College? http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-wait-to-go-to-college <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/should-you-wait-to-go-to-college" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/5561427203_2fa04b6cfc_z.jpg" alt="teen in chair" title="teen in chair" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>For many recent high school graduates, it&rsquo;s almost unheard of to consider <em>not</em> continuing onto college the following fall. There are some reasons people simply can&rsquo;t go to college &mdash;&nbsp; financial problems, etc. &mdash; but what if you were to have the time and money available, yet still opt out of the higher education route? (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/college/college-resources">40+ College Resources for Parents and Students</a>)</p> <p>This isn&rsquo;t to say you should never go to college, but what about waiting a few years to decide what you truly want to do with your life (and get a little traveling or work experience in while you&rsquo;re at it)? Making a major life decision at the relatively young age of 18 isn't easy, and taking time off from school to delve into your true interests can help you avoid a major career change in the future.</p> <p>So, should you wait to go to college? Let&rsquo;s examine the consequences of this decision.</p> <h2>Avoiding Student Loan Debt</h2> <p>Americans <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/escape-student-loan-debt-slowly">owe over $1 trillion in student loans</a>. This is more than what they owe in credit card debt, and according to <a href="http://www.finaid.org/loans/studentloandebtclock.phtml">finaid.org</a>, the average load per person is $27,200. Some people even rack up over $100,000 in student loan debt thanks to high interest rates, and the worst part is that you can&rsquo;t unload this debt in case of bankruptcy. Not to mention the poor cosigners (such as parents) who are left responsible for the debt in instances where the recipient of a loan dies.</p> <p>In this economic climate, the path to a career is no longer as straightforward as merely getting a college degree and immediately getting picked up by a firm that&rsquo;ll pay you the $40,000+ per year that was advertised by your university in the job prospects section. In fact, a significant chunk of the American unemployed is recent graduates who are unable to find work due to a flooded labor market.</p> <p>So what does this mean for those who are thinking about or currently going to college? It's likely that spending thousands of dollars on an education won&rsquo;t guarantee you a job, possibly leaving you with the burden of debt payments for years to come (especially if you don't get a highly sought-after degree). But if you hold off on the college route, you could ride out the economic downturn and build up your savings in the meantime (allowing you to pay for an education without acquiring debt in the near future).</p> <h2>The Employability Paradox</h2> <p>A major problem faced by the teens and 20-somethings of today is the paradox of needing a job to get experience, but needing experience to get a job. Sometimes, extracurricular activities can give your resume a boost in this area, but if you only have education under your belt, you&rsquo;re likely going to have a hard time finding that first job that pays well. Even in instances of a job candidate with a bachelor&rsquo;s degree and one with just work experience, there&rsquo;s a good chance the employer will choose the latter.</p> <p>Take culinary arts, for example. You could have gone to the best school in the country and dropped $100,000 on your education (thinking you were going to be earning $50,000 right out of school). Unfortunately, like everyone else, you&rsquo;re going to have to start out at the bottom, making a meager hourly salary and wondering how in the world you&rsquo;re going to pay off all that debt you&rsquo;ve accumulated.</p> <p>One way to avert this problem is through the &quot;learn by doing&quot; approach through internships and apprenticeships. This way, you can acquire practical, real-world experience that not only furthers your knowledge in your field beyond classroom theory, but also <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/great-ways-to-improve-your-resume-today">adds a lot of meat to your resume</a>.</p> <h2>Possible Alternatives</h2> <p>So if you&rsquo;re looking to wait a few years before college, what should you do in the meantime?</p> <p>If you had some sort of savings for college, one possibility is investing that money somewhere else. Real estate, stocks, mutual funds &mdash; you name it. Since a four-year education no longer guarantees you a steady job immediately upon graduation, investing the money is an excellent alternative and will really make your money &ldquo;work for you&rdquo; over the course of time.</p> <p>Aside from financial matters, you could pursue non-educational endeavors as well. Perhaps you can finally settle down and write that novel you&rsquo;ve had at the back of your mind. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-travel-full-time-for-17000-a-year-or-less">Travel cheaply around the world</a> while you&rsquo;re still young. Start a business using your college funds as start-up capital. Your options are limitless, and if you still want to go to college after a few years, that&rsquo;s an option as well.</p> <p><em>College &mdash; now or wait it out? What do you think? Discuss in the comment section below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kelly-kehoe">Kelly Kehoe</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-wait-to-go-to-college">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-surprising-ways-a-college-education-will-improve-your-life">10 Surprising Ways a College Education Will Improve Your Life</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/student-loans-the-third-way-to-ruin-your-finances">Student Loans: The Third Way to Ruin Your Finances</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-employers-care-about-more-than-your-degree">7 Things Employers Care About More Than Your Degree</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-easy-ways-to-avoid-student-loan-debt">12 Easy Ways to Avoid Student Loan Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-tips-for-my-career-clueless-college-self">5 Tips for My Career-Clueless College Self</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Education & Training college education internships student loan debt unemployment Thu, 19 Jul 2012 09:48:20 +0000 Kelly Kehoe 941426 at http://www.wisebread.com The Value of a Degree in Entrepreneurship http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/the-value-of-a-degree-in-entrepreneurship <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/managing/article/the-value-of-a-degree-in-entrepreneurship-thursday-bram" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/managing/article/the-value-of-a-degree-...</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/the-value-of-a-degree-in-entrepreneurship" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000003224162Small.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The stereotype of the entrepreneur seems to include pulling one up by one's boot laces, without any special training or education. But more and more schools are offering degrees in entrepreneurship to both undergraduate and graduate students. Schools like Stanford and MIT offer programs that promise to prepare an entrepreneur for all of the questions he'll face in founding a business.</p> <p>But what's the real value of a degree in entrepreneurship?</p> <p><strong>Is Any Degree Necessary?</strong></p> <p>When you found a new business, no one comes by to check if you have the proper credentials to operate a company. There are plenty of entrepreneurs who have grown companies with no college degrees whatsoever, let alone one in entrepreneurship. My own grandfather falls into this category. He likes to say that he has a degree from the school of hard knocks. In terms of formal education, he just barely completed the eighth grade. But he's built several businesses, including a real estate development company. My grandfather is in good company, as well, with the more well-known entrepreneurs without degrees, like Bill Gates.</p> <p>In truth, if you're committed to your business idea and you're willing to work every hour in the day, you don't need a degree to launch a successful company. A degree just makes certain aspects easier. Being in a college environment provides you with easy access to a lot of information, as well as to experts in a variety of fields.</p> <p><strong>The Actual Value of Your Degree</strong></p> <p>A college degree, at least at the undergraduate level, is a fairly in-depth introduction to your topic of study. When you graduate, you aren't an expert, but you probably have a pretty good idea of who the experts in your field are and what you can read to try to catch up with them. You can handle the nuts and bolts work without any problem and may even have a good idea of where to go next to get even more information you need. Depending on the program you choose, you may even be able to complete a project or two that are directly related to the company you want to start.</p> <p>There's a lot of theory involved in getting a degree from most schools, but not necessarily a lot of practice. Once you get a degree, taking it out and using it in the real world can be a little more complex than a student might expect. But your degree also means that you're not starting from scratch, trying to figure out how to even choose the books you should read about a given subject. Because you have experts (also known as college professors) guiding your learning, you can skip over a lot of material that doesn't actually help you. You even have access to experts outside of the business school at most colleges. If you need some help with other parts of launching your particular business, you can likely get it.</p> <p>With a good entrepreneurship degree, you don't just get exposure to one part of running a company, like you would with a management or a human resources degree. Instead &mdash; at least in theory &mdash; you get information that pertains directly to starting your own business, as well as a grounding in all those topics necessary to actually keep your business going. In Stanford's graduate program, you can take classes like &quot;Social Entrepreneurship&quot; or &quot;Building and Managing an Effective Sales Team.&quot; It's information that you'll have to figure out how to put into practice, but will leapfrog you ahead of the people trying to learn it on their own.</p> <p><strong>Deciding If You Need a Degree in Entrepreneurship</strong></p> <p>It's often a tough call to decide whether you need a degree in entrepreneurship or not. On the one hand, who wants to put down their money for a college degree when they're about to start a new venture that may need that cash? And, for that matter, who wants to spend time in school when they could be out starting a business? On the other hand, though, learning about entrepreneurship and running a business ahead of time can minimize risks, as well as damage caused by a trial-and-error approach. It is certainly a personal choice.</p> <p>If you know that you want to run your own business, but you don't know where to start and don't have an idea of what that business will look like, a degree in entrepreneurship is more likely to be useful. There are many entrepreneurs who have a great idea for a product or a service, but simply don't come from a business background. It's possible to pick up everything about business, but the structure of a degree can be very worthwhile in such situations.</p> <p>That said, a lot of entrepreneurs are going into business in an area that they're already familiar with and have a lot of passion for. It's not out of the question that an entrepreneur already has some background in running a business, even if it comes from working for an employer. If you know the ins and outs of your industry already, and you're comfortable figuring out details like funding a company, it's a lot harder to justify the cost of a degree.</p> <p>It's also worth noting that not all entrepreneurship degrees are created equal. It takes some hunting to find the good ones &mdash; simply running the phrase through a search engine only gets you links to online schools that may not provide you with a degree that really improves your odds of success when you start your own business. It's better to just dive into learning about business on your own than to waste your time on classes that won't get you where you want to go.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/thursday-bram">Thursday Bram</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/the-value-of-a-degree-in-entrepreneurship">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-small-business-pitfalls-and-how-to-avoid-them-part-one">6 Small Business Pitfalls, and How to Avoid Them: PART ONE</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses">Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-all-successful-freelancers-do">10 Things All Successful Freelancers Do</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-employers-care-about-more-than-your-degree">7 Things Employers Care About More Than Your Degree</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Small Business Resource Center business management college education MBA small business starting a new business Thu, 24 Feb 2011 11:47:49 +0000 Thursday Bram 491449 at http://www.wisebread.com Are You Saving For Your Child's College Education? http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-saving-for-your-childs-college-education <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/are-you-saving-for-your-childs-college-education" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/college-education.jpg" alt="paying for college" title="saving for college" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="129" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Are you worried about <a href="http://www.thedigeratilife.com/blog/index.php/2009/07/27/savings-account-rates-high-returns/">savings account rates</a> and whether your investments are keeping up with your financial expectations?&nbsp; That perhaps your money isn't stretching far enough to fund some of your future financial goals?&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Well you're not alone.&nbsp; There is one financial goal in particular, that looms heavily upon those of us with children: <strong>increasing costs tied to the call of higher education and college.&nbsp; </strong></p> <p>Lately, the issue of higher tuition rates has occupied the news; we heard of the disruption that took place at U.C. Berkeley when regents announced rising fees in the horizon.&nbsp; It can't be helped really -- it's one of those things that will hold true just like death and taxes do: rising college costs have always been a rite of passage for all of us -- parents and kids alike!&nbsp; (Check out our <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/college"><strong>College Financial Aid How-to&nbsp;Guide</strong></a> for ideas on how to deal with the rising cost of higher education.)</p> <p>But I'd like to bring up the notion that perhaps not all parents are intending to save for their children's education.&nbsp; No, they've decided not to set up that Coverdell ESA with an online stock broker or mutual fund company. There may be various reasons why this is the case and it's something I'd like to explore a little; I'd also like to determine how some well-meaning families are coping with the pressures of paying for college.</p> <h3>7 Reasons Why Parents&nbsp;May Decide Not To Save For College</h3> <p>I am making these points mainly to elicit discussion.&nbsp; But do you know anyone who has decided not to save for college?&nbsp; And if so, why don't they?&nbsp; I thought about it a bit and came up with a few possible reasons (or &quot;excuses&quot;):<br /> <strong><br /> 1. You feel that you don't have enough resources.</strong></p> <p>A common reason for not saving for college is that you just don't have enough money to fund competing financial goals.&nbsp; The rule of thumb here is that you should first fund your retirement accounts before you contribute to your child's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/college/section-529-plans">529 college savings plan</a>. The reason?&nbsp; It's more important to ensure that you take care of your own future to avoid having others worry about you in your old age.&nbsp; Your kids can qualify for financial aid, but it will be tough for you to handle any shortfalls in your retirement years if you don't have the means or the savings to live on.&nbsp; Now if financial resources are the issue for you, you may be assured by the knowledge that there are easier ways to get others involved with your savings goals: perhaps an avenue like a 529 account or a free savings account like SmartyPig that allows others to help contribute to your goals may be helpful.&nbsp; It's something worth checking out.</p> <p><strong>2. Some kids are independent and make their own decisions.</strong></p> <p>I believe that not everyone is necessarily cut out to go to college.&nbsp; It's also often the case that people in the cusp of adulthood will feel that they aren't ready to enter college at a certain point in their lives.&nbsp; Of course, they may always change their minds later, and that's something that they can decide for themselves.&nbsp; Now there are kids that only need a little motivation to be able to make it through school.&nbsp; If you're a parent, you'll know whether your child is the type whom you should trust with this important decision; and based on how you gauge your child, some of you may realize that your child may not require you to cover 100% of their educational needs.</p> <p><strong>3. Some parents expect their kids to pay their way.</strong></p> <p>Maybe it's a lesson in life that they'd like to impart to their kids, but many parents make the conscious decision to have their kids pay their way through school.&nbsp; In the past, by cobbling together various financing resources such as <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-win-small-scholarships-for-a-big-payoff">college scholarships</a>, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/college/financial-aid">financial aid</a>, work and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/college/federal-student-loans">student loans</a>, a student can make their way through college on their own.&nbsp; But in recent years, with college costs much more expensive, leaving the financial burden for college solely on your child may no longer be a reasonable option.&nbsp; Perhaps your children's efforts would probably be better spent attaining a full-time college education and then paying you back once they get a secure full-time job in their chosen career.</p> <p><strong>4. Kids of veterans may receive reimbursements of educational costs.</strong></p> <p>Children of veterans are entitled to have 70 percent of their college education reimbursed.&nbsp; However, parents must still pay for the first semester of college in full. Once the child attains a grade of C or better in all subjects, a designated percentage of the tuition is reimbursed.&nbsp; Parents can roll these reimbursements into paying for the next semester but still need to come up with the remaining money for their kids' education.&nbsp; Again, 529 programs such as the one offered by the College Advantage Ohio 529 Savings Plan may help you build up some of the savings needed to support your child.&nbsp; Veteran parents can save more on their children's schooling by remaining apprised of the latest programs available to them.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>5. Certain families don't see the value of higher education.</strong></p> <p>Unfortunately, not all people find value in going to college. Those folks who are particularly entrepreneurial by nature may think that their kids may be better off getting the experience from the school of hard knocks, say by working in the family business.&nbsp; They may value life experiences above those that can be obtained from a structured, academic environment.&nbsp; In this case, it's all about the family's values.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>6. Some parents have lowered expectations.</strong></p> <p>If a child is not doing that well in primary school, his or her parents may end up having lower expectations of the child. Without noticing the potential, some parents may become discouraged about helping their kids pursue a higher education.&nbsp; It's sad, but could they be unwilling to take the risk of investing in their child's education?&nbsp; I believe that no matter what, we shouldn't give up on our kids as surprising transformations can happen in people.<br /> <strong><br /> 7. There's the belief that what's good for the parent is also good for the chld.</strong></p> <p>There are some parents who didn't finish college or never attended college, and because of their own experiences, they may not feel compelled to have their kids acquire an education on their dime.&nbsp; But fortunately, there are many parents who don't think this way, despite the fact that they've never made it into the hallowed halls of academia.&nbsp; There are many parents who value college highly and look upon it as the holy grail for the next generation; therefore, they do what they can to encourage their children to get a degree.&nbsp; These are the stories that should inspire us to think about how we can push forward to better ourselves and the plight of the youths in our lives. </p> <p>Having the opportunity to attend college is priceless and even when resources are low, there may be ways to save up for this important phase in your child's life.&nbsp; If there's a will, there's a way.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/silicon-valley-blogger">Silicon Valley Blogger</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-saving-for-your-childs-college-education">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/survive-the-bear-market-10-steps-to-ride-the-downturn">Survive The Bear Market: 10 Steps To Ride The Downturn</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-the-most-of-your-401K">How to Make the Most of Your 401K</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-investing-lessons-you-must-teach-your-kids">10 Investing Lessons You Must Teach Your Kids</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/one-simple-trick-to-get-the-best-tax-benefit-from-your-retirement-portfolio">One Simple Trick to Get the Best Tax Benefit From Your Retirement Portfolio</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/who-cares-about-where-the-stock-market-is-headed">Who Cares About Where The Stock Market Is Headed?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment 529 savings account children's education college education investment saving for college Mon, 04 Jan 2010 17:00:09 +0000 Silicon Valley Blogger 4373 at http://www.wisebread.com