woman in academic dress wearing academic hat

Have you ever considered why people attend college and earn four-year degrees? Ask most graduates or future students, and they’ll likely rattle off a very short list that mentions reasons related to getting a better job or learning new skills. But, there’s much more to the pursuit of higher education than that.

In the real world, adults who seek degrees do so for varied, subtle, and highly personal reasons. Along with increasing their chances of obtaining the jobs of their choice, people enroll in a challenging, multi-year curriculum to make themselves more attractive to current employers, earn more money through the course of their careers, expand their skills, gain access to better on-the-job benefits, build vast professional networks, boost job satisfaction, open the door to other fields and career paths, and enhance their lifelong job security.

Of course, a diploma from an accredited institution goes a long way toward helping grads land better jobs and acquire marketable skills. But the real list of reasons for earning a degree includes other, equally important reasons. Here are pertinent details about why serious, hard-working adults go to college and earn degrees.

Getting and Financing a Degree is an Achievable Goal

Taking out student loans to cover tuition, books, and all the other costs associated with a four-year degree is not difficult. In fact, you can apply for student loans online and get results in a matter of minutes. In the past, many people were essentially locked out of higher education, but that’s no longer the situation. Luckily, getting and financing a four-year course of study is an achievable goal for anyone wanting to move a career to the next level.

Advancement at a Current Job

Many working adults get online degrees while remaining in their jobs. They aim for a diploma primarily to move up the career ladder at their companies. Of course, some are looking to find completely new positions at other corporations, but for those who want to climb the management ladder, obtaining an academic credential while working is the surest way to attract positive attention from superiors.

Potential Earnings

When you get right down to the cold facts, one of the surest ways to ramp up lifelong earning potential is to tackle and complete a four-year college program. Working people with degrees tend to earn much more over their decades in the working world, get raises more frequently, and have the chance to accumulate significant bonuses, stock options, and other financial incentives offered by the organizations for which they work.

Skill Development

In disciplines like IT (information technology), engineering, business studies, and the sciences, one of the most valuable aspects of attending school is acquiring specialized skills. This is particularly true for those who intend to work in technical fields like computer programming and accounting, where many basic skill sets are picked up in the classroom.


Don’t underestimate the power of using a four-year academic program to build a vast professional network for yourself. Those in law, medicine, management, education, and other career categories rely on well-developed networks to help them with mid-career challenges like job switching, starting new businesses, obtaining advanced degrees, and more. In so many cases, their networks include large numbers of names and contact information from college classmates.

group of fresh graduates students throwing their academic hat in the air

Enhancing Job Satisfaction

Graduates tend to have higher career satisfaction levels than workers who never attended college. The obvious reason is related to grads having access to better jobs once they earn their diplomas. When you’re earning good money, working in a field for which you’ve been properly trained, and have ongoing access to career advancement, it’s much easier to maintain a high level of day-to-day job satisfaction.

Building Employment Security

In corporations all over the world, non-graduates are usually among the first to be laid off when times get tough. Company owners tend to retain employees who have invested in their careers, earned academic credentials, and have already begun to move up the managerial ladder. Long-term employment security is one of the unsung benefits of having a four-year diploma.

Career Switching

It’s much easier for grads to switch careers or general fields of operations when they reach middle age. Higher education is a lot like a passport to job openings, fresh career paths, and the chance to start an independent company. That’s not the case for workers who don’t have degrees. They are usually more limited in their choices, even after accumulating several years of experience in a particular field or position.

Personal Satisfaction

Another non-obvious benefit of higher education is personal satisfaction. It’s not easy to finish college. Four years can seem like a very long time when you’re constantly being challenged with new facts, ideas, and courses within a major field of academia. Many never finish, but those who make it have a right to feel good about themselves, revel in what they’ve accomplished and reap the benefits of going the extra mile to see graduation day.