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Online Degrees

Part of Western Governors University

August 2, 2022

Student Success

7 Underrated Benefits of a Degree

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It's well-documented that earning a bachelor's degree or master's degree can improve your earning potential and chances of getting the job you want. Those are important benefits, and they're areas where WGU graduates excel. But there are many other compelling reasons to earn your degree. Here are seven key benefits of a degree that you might not be as familiar with.

1. Broadening Your Perspective

As you work toward your degree, you'll get to know professors and classmates from many different cultures and walks of life who can expose you to new opinions and ideas.

At WGU, students come from all 50 states, and some, like active military, study in places like Guam and Puerto Rico. Diversity is also found in the age range of WGU students—from 14 to 95 years old—with an average age of 37. Furthermore, 27 percent are students of color.

As a result, in your classes at WGU, you'll discuss and debate a wide range of ideas. You'll also work closely with these classmates on projects, teaching you how to collaborate with people of different backgrounds to achieve a common goal. These experiences can have a profound effect on your own worldview, helping you become a more well-rounded, knowledgeable, and empathetic person.

2. Thinking Critically

In discussing and debating new ideas, you'll learn how to think critically instead of just passively taking in new information. You'll be asked to engage in reflective and independent reasoning to assess the quality and credibility of information and the sources of that information. You'll also learn how to evaluate the logic of the arguments you read and hear.

These skills will serve you well in whatever field you choose, spurring you to question ideas and assumptions instead of just taking them at face value. With these critical thinking tools, you'll be more adept at identifying, analyzing, and solving problems.

3. Becoming a Better Citizen

Broadening your perspective and learning to think critically will make you a better citizen of your community and the world at large. In learning about different perspectives, you'll come to appreciate points of view that might diverge from your own—and you'll be better able to apply those different perspectives to tackling problems and challenges. You'll also have more compassion for others with life experiences and situations different from your own.

In learning to think critically, you'll be a more informed citizen, capable of seeing through specious and misleading arguments and able to make wiser decisions that affect your community and the broader world. It may also reveal ways to step up and pitch in to solve problems in your community and country.

4. Doing Your Job Better

Globalization has led to more diverse workplaces over the past few decades, as reported by Forbes. Wherever you live, the chances are high that you'll be working with people from other cultures or ethnicities at some point in your career. The empathy you develop in learning from other perspectives can help you work well with colleagues from all over the world. In fact, according to the global research firm McKinsey & Company, the percentage of companies that say they highly value empathy among employees doubled from 2019 to 2020.

What's more, the same survey noted that critical thinking trails only leadership as the skill that is most in demand. As a growing number of jobs rely on information skills, the ability to think critically is becoming increasingly important.

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5. Achieving Professional Growth

Aside from broadening your perspective and learning to think critically, a college degree helps you gain new skill sets that are directly relevant to your chosen career. This gives you a chance to tackle new and more exciting types of work.

Earning a college degree also changes how others perceive you. It could help you secure the respect of management, leading to new responsibilities. Often, these opportunities come with a new title or pay raise; regardless, increased opportunities at work could give you more job satisfaction by offering new challenges, such as enabling you to lead others and help them grow.

6. Gaining Self-Confidence

Earning a college degree can also change how you see yourself. Don't discount the tremendous sense of pride and personal accomplishment earning your degree can bring.

While WGU offers many resources and support systems to help students succeed in their academic journey, earning your college degree is your individual achievement. The self-confidence will stay with you forever. Remembering all the sacrifices and knowing you were able to persevere can get you through all kinds of challenges in life.

7. Inspiring Others

Earning your degree can also motivate others to pursue their educational goals. If you're a parent, you can point to your own experience as an inspiration to your children. Or maybe you have a friend or sibling who's on the fence about attending college. Your success could serve as a model for them as well.

Beyond the significant financial advantages, earning a college degree brings many other important benefits. With its affordability, convenient online approach, and innovative competency-based framework, Western Governors University is the ideal higher education experience for adult learners. Learn how WGU can help you complete your degree today.

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One online university. Four colleges. Flexible degrees.

Our focus on your success starts with our focus on four high-demand fields: K–12 teaching and education, nursing and healthcare, information technology, and business. Every degree program at WGU is tied to a high-growth, highly rewarding career path. Which college fits you?

Want to see all the degrees WGU has to offer? View all degrees