Friday, September 21, 2012

What you shouldn’t do when choosing a college degree program

When looking for information to choose a degree program, adult learners can find myriad tips on considering passion, interest, and aptitude. But few recommendations focus on the other, equally important, side of the equation: what not to consider when choosing a degree program.

There are some common pitfalls we often see adult learners make when making this decision. We wanted to highlight them here to help you avoid making these mistakes and picking a degree program that might not completely meet your wants and needs. Here are the four-biggest don'ts to selecting your college degree program.

1. Don't pursue a degree program for which you have no passion or interest. Be frank about your skills and interests, and find a field that feeds your purpose and drive. For instance, if you are motivated by helping others, consider a career in the healthcare field. Or if you have a goal to work for yourself, a business administration degree program could be appropriate for you.

2. Don't base your degree decisions on what others have done. Your skills, goals, and circumstances vary from friends and family. Learn from others but remember to make decisions based on your wants and needs. What worked for them might not work for you, and vice versa. It's OK to carve out your own path, and try something new and different.

3. Don't shy away from gaining new skills. If you're passionate about a particular degree program but are intimidated by learning the subject matter, don't let that be an obstacle to your learning goals. Test the waters by sitting in on a class, or talking to others in the field to gain a better understanding of what a career in that topic area would be like. If you're not sure what degree program you're most passionate about, take a few different courses to figure out what piques your interest. The closer your degree program is to your career goals, the more prepared you'll be to excel in that field.

4. Don't think it's too late to enroll in a degree program. Your educational journey can last a lifetime. For instance, in 2010, three generations of one family graduated from Peirce College. The grandmother, mother, and her daughter each left Peirce with a degree in Business Administration. These women demonstrated that it's never too late to go back to school and earn a college degree. You can do it too!

Avoiding these pitfalls will help you choose the best degree program for you. Do you have any don'ts that you would add to this list? Let us know in a comment below.