Alt Title: 6 Reasons to Never Give Up Your Dream of a College Degree

At one point or another, we all have dreams of obtaining a college degree. It’s a quintessential component of the American Dream. However, somewhere along the way, life intersects this dream and has a way of derailing us from getting that degree.

Whether you’ve started a college degree program and have yet to finish, or you haven’t yet made the decision to enroll, there’s no better time than now to obtain your college degree.

Here are a handful of motivational reasons that will hopefully fuel you to succeed from start to finish.

  1. Higher Pay and Better Hours

Money is always a motivating factor. And while we’ll discuss some of the other reasons for obtaining a college degree, it makes sense to start with the clearest takeaway of all: If you get a college degree, your earning potential is significantly higher.

The U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics does a phenomenal job of tracking employee earnings and analyzing them against their educational level. The results of these studies are very interesting. Here are a couple of takeaways from recent findings:

  • In 2015, adults with bachelor’s degrees earned an average of $48,500 per year, while those with high school diplomas earned just $23,900.
  • Since 1999, bachelor’s degree holders earn 84 percent more over their lifetime than high school graduates.

Clearly, the return on investment from a college degree is worth it. While you may have to take on some student loan debts to obtain your degree, the long-term payoff is well worth it.

But it’s not just the pay. There are better hours when you have a college degree. With a degree, you’re more likely to obtain a nine-to-five job with set hours and time off. This allows you to establish some consistency in your life.

  1. It’s Quicker and More Flexible Than Ever

Here’s another reason to be motivated: College degree options are more flexible than ever! In the past, students essentially had to pause their lives and attend a four-year degree program on a physical college campus. This is no longer true. Between accelerated programs and flexible online options, you can get a degree on your own time.

Take this program from Orion College as an example. You can obtain a degree in online medical assisting in 16 months without ever leaving your computer. Or, check out this degree from Kaplan University. You can get your online degree in criminal justice and criminology in as little as 12 months.

With fast and flexible degree options, there’s no longer an excuse to put off getting your college education. This is an opportunity your parents and grandparents would have greatly appreciated, so don’t let these chances pass you by.

  1. The Diploma on Your Wall

One extremely motivating factor should be the way a college diploma would look on your wall. Every time someone enters your office or home, they’ll be able to see that you’ve sacrificed to obtain something that only a fraction of the population has.

So, go ahead and buy a nice picture frame and mat for your diploma and hang it in a visible place in your home. Every time you look at this frame, you’ll notice that something important is missing: the diploma. This will serve as daily motivation to keep pushing.

  1. Ability to Establish a Secure Financial Future

When you have a college degree, your career and financial future are exponentially more secure. According to a Pew Research Center survey, the unemployment rate for those with a bachelor’s degree is only 3.8 percent – compared to 12.2 percent for those with just a high school diploma. Furthermore, those with college degrees have better opportunities to save for retirement from a young age. This ensures that retirement at a decent age is a possibility.

  1. A Chance to be “The Man”

Are you tired of working for “the man?” Well, with a college degree you have a better opportunity of becoming “the man.” Those with college degrees are exponentially more likely to reach management level or executive positions. This ultimately means your career growth opportunities are much greater than if you only had a high school diploma.

  1. You’ll be an Example for Your Children

If you have a family, your pursuit of higher education will set the framework for how they view college. Push it aside like it’s no big deal and they’ll get the impression that a college degree isn’t significant. Make it one of your biggest priorities and they’ll see it as an attainable goal.

When teacher and tutor Kate Hanley reflects on her driving motivation for getting a college degree, she realizes that her motivation changed over time. “I started college to get a good job; that part hadn’t changed,” Hanley says. “I finished college to set an example for my children and also for the students I work with.”

If you have children or young people who look up to you, then use them as motivation for getting your degree. You’ll find that it’s much easier to stay on track when your degree is about more than yourself.

The Time is Now

It’s easy to put off your college education. The high price of traditional four-year colleges is leading thousands of individuals to delay the pursuit of their degrees, but you shouldn’t let this limit you. Between online degree programs, scholarships and grants, and changing student loan regulations, there’s never been a better time than now to start and finish your degree.