- How do you know which degree is right for you?
- What can you do with a particular degree?
Some questions can be quickly answered through program descriptions and catalogs. But, finding the best fit involves more than a listing of courses. In addition to the program curriculum, your interests, goals (personal and career) and passions will directly influence your learning experience as well as your post-academic experience.
Before you invest your time, money and effort enrolling in a program, here are a few strategies you may employ.
Talk with the program advisor/manager.
You’ll be working with this support member from registration to graduation. What characteristics do they feel are necessary to be successful in their program? Can they share information about available resources? What, if any, changes do they foresee within their program?
Talk with others in your area of interest.
Are you considering graduate school after completing your undergraduate degree? Connect with the admissions offices and program directors of different graduate programs. How do they view the degree which you are considering? Do they have any expectations in terms of your previous academic or work experiences? How do they view internships and volunteer experience? Overall, what will make you a competitive applicant?
If you have a desired career goal, talk with those within the profession. Review job announcements and postings online. What qualifications, experiences and skills are employers seeking? Be bold! Arrange an interview with an HR hiring director. Don’t worry. You’re not interviewing for a job, just yet! Instead, you’re positioning yourself for future opportunities and developing a wider professional network. (Check out our blog post on 10 Skills Triad Area Employers Look for in Job Applicants.)
Strategically determine how you can pair the degree with your current experience.
From your conversations with program managers or human resources specialists, what skills should you further develop to attain your goals? How can completion of the degree assist you in developing those specific skills? See the degree as supporting your goals, not as a stand-alone.
A college degree is a valuable asset; but in and of itself, it’s only one piece of the puzzle. Take a step back to see the complete picture. And though much of this work begins before you enroll in a program, once you are admitted, there will be resources available to help you. At UNCG, because it matters to you, it matters to us.
Photo courtesy of Death To Stock.