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The Importance of Higher Education in the 21st Century

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No doubt you understand the importance of higher education. Higher education can lead to many benefits, including a prosperous career and financial security. In the 21st century, education plays an even more significant role in other aspects of your life. Attaining a higher education can increase your opportunities and improve your overall quality of life.

Today, more Americans are seeing the significance of a college education and its role in providing better job opportunities and a comfortable lifestyle. In fact, about 84 percent of Americans claim that a higher education is very (47 percent) or extremely (37 percent) important to get ahead in life. Among these Americans, 66 percent of those who didn’t graduate from college say they wished they had, and 62 percent feel that going to college would have improved their present standard of living significantly.

Why Higher Education Is Important

Practical benefits of higher education

In general, the College Board considers the practical benefits of higher education in the 21st century to include:

  • Economic: As the Bureau of Labor Statistics stats reveal, people with some form of higher education earn more money and have a lower probability of unemployment.
  • Health: Gainful employment and a positive cashflow take away the stress factors associated with financial insecurity. As such, you are likelier to live a happier and healthier life with some form of college under your belt.
  • Civic involvement: People with gainful employment and financial resources often give back to the community. When you earn well and your network expands, you are more likely to give to charity and become involved in volunteer work.
  • Personal development: People with careers tend to lead more structured lives and have a stronger sense of responsibility, traits that serve as strength-builders in other areas of life.
  • Better communication: Most jobs involve some form of written or verbal communication. As such, you will generally improve in both areas during your college and professional career.
  • Realization of passions: As with most people, the more you learn, the likelier you are to find your true passions in life. Through the education process, you can explore the various facets of a prospective field and find your strengths.
  • Greater sense of discipline: The regiments of education can instill you with the discipline required in the professional world. By learning to follow complex instructions and meet strict deadlines, you will be better prepared for the rigors of the marketplace.
  • Sense of accomplishment: Each time you complete a school assignment or job task, it’s the product of your talent and hard work.

As you can see, the benefits of higher education in the 21st century are not just career-oriented. Being able to develop yourself is invaluable, and having a higher education helps you do that.

Create More Opportunities With Higher Education

Being a high school graduate doesn’t open up the doors to many rewarding careers as it did in past generations. These days, the United States has turned from being an economy that was once manufacturing-based to one that is now knowledge-based, and the significance of a higher education today may be compared to what having a high school education back 40 years ago provided: more opportunity and better career options.

The quickest pathway for many, if not most, people to a rewarding career is going to college and getting a higher education. You may not know exactly what you want to do after graduating from college, but you do at least know you want a career that is more rewarding, pays well, and is something you feel secure in and satisfied with. These factors are why many people invest in college both with their money and time.

A higher education trains you in your chosen field, but it also teaches you to understand complex subjects, think analytically, and communicate your ideas effectively. You also learn important skills, such as organization, self-discipline, and how to see a task from start to finish. A higher education helps you become more professional and gives you many work-related skills.

Since you learn a broad range of skills, you could end up in a field you didn’t necessarily study for. This can open up new and unexpected opportunities that might not have become available to you had you not received a higher education.

In our economy today, career options are declining for those who haven’t furthered their education after high school. Many high school graduates who don’t go on to college end up working in the service field with jobs that pay low and don’t offer advancement opportunities. Of course, this isn’t always the case. There are many high school graduates who have become and are very successful.

That said, by furthering your education, you acquire a broad range of skills that can qualify you for a wider range of career choices in different fields and that offer you more room for advancement.

Become and Stay Competitive With Higher Education

Higher education also provides a competitive edge in the career market. We all know that in the economic times we are living in today, finding jobs is not guaranteed. The number of people unemployed is still relatively high, and the number of new career opportunities isn’t nearly enough to put people in jobs they are seeking. As a job seeker, you’re competing with a high number of experienced workers who’ve been out of the workforce for a while and are also seeking work.

However, when you have a higher education, it generally equips you for better job security. Generally speaking, employers tend to value those who have completed college than those who have only completed high school and are more likely to replace that person who hasn’t received a higher education.

Furthermore, some companies even go so far as to pay your tuition because they consider an educated employee to be valuable to their organization. A college education is an investment that doesn’t just provide you with substantial rewards. It benefits the hiring company as well.

Graduates of college who have multiple skills may be less susceptible to layoffs during an economic recession than less skilled workers. And, although it isn’t a guarantee, chances are you’re less likely to struggle with unemployment long-term if you have a higher education.

Learn New Skills With a Higher Education

The college experience encourages you to - think, analyze, explore new ideas, ask questions and be creative

During your college experience, you’re learning new skills. You’re able to listen to lectures and read books that are from top experts in your particular field. This encourages you to:

  • Think
  • Analyze
  • Explore new ideas
  • Ask questions
  • Be creative

These allow you to grow and develop even further which provides you with that competitive edge in the job market.

You’ll also be expanding your skills and knowledge, grasping abstract theories and concepts, expressing your thoughts clearly in writing and speech, and increasing your understanding of your community and the world.

The 21st century economy is different than 20 to 40 years ago. Today, the existing market is made up of more architects, artists, designers, healthcare workers, information technology experts, video game developers, and so forth.

You have the chance to adapt to this new era and succeed in it with a higher education that incorporates these fields into its curriculum. When you combine this knowledge with actual hands-on experience, you’ll be able to thrive in this economy. Our courses and programs at Vista College strive to help prepare you for all of this, and more.

Invest in Your Future With Higher Education

Investing in your higher education is a huge commitment of money and time. However, you can think of it as a down payment on your future. Investing in your education will help you achieve your career goals and succeed in life in general. There’s a lot of hard work involved, but you’re preparing yourself for a rewarding and challenging career that leads to financial security and a fruitful life.

This type of education will eventually pay for itself in the long run. Even though universities and college can come with a hefty price tag, you shouldn’t let this discourage you from advancing your education.

Besides, as tuition costs increase, so do the available financial aid options, like those we offer here at Vista College. You’ll want to explore all of your options before investing in your higher education such as:

As tuition costs increase so do the available financial aid options

  • Federal Student Aid Options: Financial aid is awarded to students seeking a higher education because the federal government realizes how important this type of education is.
  • Local Options: Investigate organizations that can provide you with scholarships in your local area.
  • Corporate Options: These organizations also realize how valuable a higher education is, and many offer financial assistance to help you in your college career.
  • Merit-based options: Students are awarded with merit scholarships based on athletic or academic abilities as well as other types of categories like club membership, talent, interests, ethnicity, religious affiliation, or career plans.

There are other financial aid options, like Tribal (BIA) Funding, Trade Adjustment Act Funding, Rehabilitative Services Funding, as well as grants to look into.

Remember, a higher education is an investment in your future and should be treated as such.

Gain Job Satisfaction With Higher Education

A higher education allows you to pursue a career that interests and inspires you. When you have the freedom to choose your career, you’re more likely to enjoy it. Higher job satisfaction also comes from higher income, better employment benefits, and more advancement opportunities.

Often people are looking to get out of their dead-end job, which is why they seek a higher education. They’re seeking an actual career instead of just clocking in everyday so they can pay the bills. When you’re in a rewarding career, you’re more apt to perform your job well and get genuine job satisfaction out of it. When you’re more satisfied with your career, you’re more likely to be productive and become an asset to the company you work for, which leads to better job security.

Improve Your Self-Esteem and Self-Confidence With Higher Education

When you have a higher education, you tend to stand a bit taller and straighter — metaphorically speaking. In other words, you are more confident in yourself, and your self-esteem is boosted after you have completed those college years. Not only are you better equipped to deal with life’s mental challenges, but you are more likely to feel more satisfaction doing so.

A higher education has long been thought of as a rite of passage, and, therefore, once you’ve crossed that finish line, you have that extra sense of accomplishment. Nobody can take this accomplishment away from you.

Even if you were to lose the physical college Diploma and go on to a different career than what you studied for, the hard work you put into your journey will never be lost. There will always be rough patches as you move on in life, but you will always know exactly what it takes to begin something and successfully complete it. This is priceless.

Achieve a Happier and Healthier Life With Higher Education

Among the most vital benefits of higher education in the 21st century is the fact that it helps communities and societies operate smoothly and enhances personal lives. Educated individuals are involved more actively in societal activities like political interest, voting, interpersonal trust, and volunteering, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). When you have more knowledge, you are more inclined to participate in these events and activities.

A higher education makes you more aware of what you’re actually capable of as well. This enables you to improve your own life, as well as contribute to the world as a whole. When you spend one, two, four, or six years learning and developing yourself, you tend to feel more content and happier as you lead an educated life.

According to the College Board, this knowledge and the skills you gain and develop over time promotes a healthier and fulfilling lifestyle and cuts back in healthcare costs. Take the following statistics, for example:

  • Smoking: Those with four-year college degrees are less likely to smoke, as indicated by the fact the gap between the smoking rates of high school graduates and four-year college graduates increased to 17 percentage points in the year 2012 — from the two points back in 1962.
  • Obesity: Those with a higher education are not as prone to becoming obese as those with just a high school education. Additionally, kids with parents who are more educated also tend to be less prone to becoming obese than other kids.

With the additional schooling, taking care of your mind becomes a priority. Therefore, you naturally make your body a priority as well. Bottom line, when you know better, you end up doing better.

Bottom line when you know better you end up doing better

A higher education offers progress to a more efficient economy, improvement in people’s lives, and contributions to a more stable society. It gives you the opportunity to rise above your parent’s socioeconomic status and become something better. When you’re born into a lower economic atmosphere, you’re more likely to stay there without a college education.

Remember, a higher education doesn’t necessarily guarantee you financial security and a great life. But, there are overwhelming facts and statistics, some of which we’ve shared above, that indicate when people go beyond high school, they tend to improve their probability of employment significantly, increase their income potential, and secure their lifestyle. It can also create opportunities for your children as well.

Even if you’re challenged with going to college locally, online degrees can make it easier to attain higher education no matter what stage of life you’re in. We invite you to read about our programs, review our online campus offerings, and learn about our career services here at Vista College to find out how easy it is to start your higher education today.

Further Study: The Benefits of Education

View our infographic below for a detailed look at the benefits of higher education.

Benefits of Higher Education

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