One Degree of Separation

Published on Tuesday, March 17th, 2015

By Colleen Bielitz, Dean of Accelerated & Professional Studies

This is a message for any person—young, middle-age, or older—who thinks the time to earn a college degree has passed. You may have heard the phrase “six degrees of separation”—that everyone is six steps away from a connection with any other person in the world. At Becker College, we believe just one degree of separation—a college degree—connects you to a world of possibilities.

Today adults over the age of 25 are entering college in record numbers—more than 1.2 million. The National Center for Education Statistics predicts that in less than 10 years, 10.1 million adults will enroll in college to earn or complete an unfinished degree.

To be sure, a college education requires dedication and learning at a more profound level than in high school. But, more importantly, college presents opportunities. It is a place where anyone—young or old, smart or average—can uncover and discover their passions, creativity, gifts, and talents. Ultimately, it is a place where hopes and dreams can be realized.

Nelson Mandela has said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”  I agree with this statement wholeheartedly—and also believe that education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change your world.

How can one degree make a world of difference in your life?

Most jobs today require more than a high school diploma. In fact, a college degree is fast becoming a job requirement across a range of industries—even for entry-level positions. By the year 2028, it is predicted there will be 19 million more jobs for educated workers. One degree gives you a competitive advantage in the job market, opens up opportunities for promotions, enables you to change jobs or careers, and even helps kick start your own business.

And let’s not forget about the return on investment. As you learn more, you earn more. On average, according to the Economic Policy Institute, those with a bachelor’s degree make 98% more an hour than those without a degree. It doesn’t matter what age you are when you earn your degree; over the course of your lifetime, your earning potential will surpass those with a high school education.

For single parents who want to provide their children with a better life, one degree can be a stepping-stone toward greater financial security. One degree can teach the value of education and create a legacy for them to become lifelong learners.

There may be a number of reasons that stand in the way of your achieving that one degree. Maybe you have a busy household or a full-time job. Maybe no one in your family went to college. Maybe you think you are too old for college. Or maybe you feel that because you were an average or below-average learner in high school, attending college will be a struggle.

Our country was built upon the art of possibility: average folks who worked hard—sometimes against all odds—to bring their dreams to life. The difference between the average person who fails in achieving their hopes and dreams and the average person who succeeds is simple. One faces a roadblock and does nothing about it. The other faces a roadblock and pushes past it, faces another roadblock and goes over it, faces another roadblock and pulls it out of the way, and so on. They do not let anyone or anything stand in the way of their dreams.

I firmly believe in the value of that one degree for everyone. At our Center for Accelerated & Professional Studies, we educate those who are working full-time or part-time, who are the first in their family to attend college, who are mothers and fathers—and even grandparents. We have designed a path to a college degree that ensures balance with your work schedule and family obligations, provides flexible evening course schedules and on-campus and online learning options—including a new online degree in business administration, certificate programs, and associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees—and awards credits for certain life and work experiences. Our philosophy is simple: when hectic schedules, family responsibilities, work obligations, or life in general stand in the way of you and your dream of a college education, we are there to remove obstacles. Our students come from all walks of life and circumstances, united through a singular dream: to earn a college degree.

Your dreams of a better future have no age or time limit, and no boundaries or restrictions. They are yours to realize and nourish. As author George Eliot once wrote, “It is never too late to be what you might have been.”