What thoughts exist about college?
For many, the bridge between their dream job and high school is college. For others, it is the path to parties, new friends, and an escape from parents’ overseeing eye. The latter is the dawn of independence and dusk of the jail sentence served from pre-school to high school, where parents had the biggest say on what to do and where to go. This is an exciting time but also bittersweet. Why the latter? As much as it spells freedom from parents, it is also a scary jump from being dependent on them, which provides the security we had from the outside world. We cannot look to mummy and daddy as we used to or as much as we could before. We are now set on the path to discovering our own path and place in this world as almost-adults. It is where we shape most of our future depends on the course we study, the friends we make, and the mistakes we make and learn from, hopefully. While the college has several other aspects, including friends, parties, social experiences, and more, college’s core aspect is graduating. At college, we get to choose a potential career path for those who know where they want to go and the rest and sometimes make an educated guess. Along the way, there may be major changes and course changes as students discover their capabilities. So, you wanted to be a neurosurgeon all your life, but can you really do it? Could you be more suited to be a general practitioner or a pediatrician, or an entrepreneur? There is no guarantee that what you choose will be your final destination.
Graduating does not come freely or easily. The gate pass to courses are credits that must be fulfilled to get accredited with a qualification. Despite the fun, credits are the not-so-pleasant side of college. They require time, effort, and consistency. While some choose the “creativity” route to college, another term for piggybacking is the more risk-prone approach.
Credits in Graduate College
Credits indicate the level of proficiency a student has in a specific course. They are often broken down depending on the course according to the core and elective classes. They are usually equivalent to 1 hour of classroom attendance plus 2 hours out of class over 15 weeks for one credit. It is probably better to call 15 weeks one semester to make it sound more palatable.
Safe to think that credits are going to differ considering students study in different formats and environments. The factors determining credits include teachings, such as in-class versus online, the major, the professors, and schools. Uniquely, online courses will have different factors determining credits, such as contributing comments, log-in time, and questions asked during online discussions with other students. Think of social media for class. Considering the different factors for credits, it is important to understand the different degrees impacted by credits.
What are my degree options?
Degrees! Degrees! Degrees! When we first think of degrees, different thoughts come to mind. If you are feeling a little under the weather, degrees remind you of the temperature. Is it hot or cold? Besides, the point! When you think of what skill set to acquire for a job and career path, you will think of colleges’ degrees. One that suits your specific needs and gives you the greatest opportunity to achieve your goal. At least, that is what we are told it does. If you are both thinking of temperature and a job, you will think about both definitions to degrees. The focus here is rather on college degrees. They are offered in a few categories, with each category offering a specific area of focus area on the student’s interest or career focus.
College degrees are divided into three broad categories. These are Associate degrees, Bachelor’s degrees, and graduate degrees. These degree categories are progressive, often requiring a student to pass one before undertaking another. For example, a bachelor’s is necessary to qualify to study for a graduate degree. This is often the case, like riding a bicycle is a strong indicator that you can ride a motorbike? Makes sense? This is also due to the progressive difficulty of the categories. A video game would not allow you to the next more challenging level if you did not pass the previous one, which was easier. Remember, these degrees measure proficiency; therefore, an associate degree would measure proficiency to take a bachelor’s degree and a bachelor’s to the next degree level.
What are the degree categories?
We mentioned earlier that degrees are divided into three categories; associate, bachelor’s, and graduate. These degree levels have differences in purpose, credits required, and several years, among other things.
What are Associate Degrees about?
Associate degrees are preliminary degrees. They are undergraduate degrees that ideally take about 2 years to complete. Their main purpose is to equip students to enter entry-level jobs and prepare them for potentially taking on a bachelor’s degree. Rome was not built in a day, but the foundation was, maybe? The credits required to qualify for an associate degree range between 60-64 credits, which can be subdivided between 20-21 subjects.
Associate degrees’ structure includes both in-class and a hands-on learning element contributing to the degree’s final credit score. Associate degrees are more like the induction step to the world of higher education. They give you a bird’s eye view of what you can expect further as you progress in higher education.
What is a Bachelor’s Degree?
While some students decide enough is enough after an associate degree, some choose to stay the course to pursue further qualifications. Considering associate degrees are a foundation, building onto that foundation is done through a bachelor’s degree. Bachelors degrees also vary in terms of credits depending on where one studies, but prevalently, the credits are usually 120. The number of years it should take is about 4 years considering you do not go off wandering into many other more exciting activities at school, and there are plenty of those. In some cases, the credits are divided into 40 subjects divided into different semesters to avoid brain overload. Do you know what they say about all work and no play (or breaks)? Jack, Lucy, Mary, and Simon become dull boys and girls. Some students opt to take subjects over longer periods to avoid information overload, which enables them to complete their degrees with as little stress as a possible—wise way to go.
Bachelor’s degrees are also not a one size fits all. They have major sub-categories that cater to different needs. The subcategories include BA, BS, and BFA. BA is a bachelor in arts usually focused on the humanities side of learning. What are the humanities? Subjects including English, History, and Philosophy. BA courses are not focused on any specific career path but rather on developing soft skills such as public speaking and writing. With these soft-skill focused subjects comes more freedom to choose electives due to their non-focused approach. They also provide a good platform to venture into a Master’s degree to better focus on their interest or career. Say goodbye to complex bachelor’s degrees to pursue a Masters’s and say hello to BA degrees. Why go through too much hustle? Unless it’s necessary.
BS is a bachelor of science, which includes business and science subjects. It is also largely popular online, offering psychology, nursing, and accounting. This type of bachelor provides less freedom to students to choose electives considering they are more career-focused. Therefore, there is limited electives’ choice. This is because the core subjects are meant to create proficient graduates for the workplace immediately after finishing the degree.
The final category is the BFA, the bachelor of fine arts. This is meant for students who want to specialize in photography, dancing, and acting—ideally, any professional who hopes to focus on the creative arts. Like the BS degree (not the BS you are thinking about), it has less freedom to choose electives and focuses mostly on core subjects that prepare students for the working world.
Now that you are done considering the type of bachelor’s you want to do, some students may be thinking it is time to take on the world. What does that entail? Getting a great job, climbing up the corporate ladder, earning a nine-figure income, traveling the world, building your dream house, etc. It all seems like all your dreams will be fulfilled after your bachelor’s, but that is not often how it turns out. The reality is much different. But for those not ready for that reality, there is the option of going further with studies. There is more beyond the associate and bachelor’s degrees, the graduate degree.
How about a Graduate Degree?
Graduate degrees take specialization to a whole new level. Do you think your bachelor’s taught you something? It probably did, but not as much as you may think. You may think to yourself, “what more can I learn after all these years?” Michelangelo, at 87, said,” I am still learning.” I am sure most of us are shy in knowledge compared to him. If this quote makes you shy about your knowledge, graduate degrees may dim that shyness just a little bit.
Like Bachelors’s degrees, graduate degrees have categories with different credits and duration. What are they? Masters and Doctorate degrees. A Master’s degree is a start to specialization in a specific field. It is where your refinement into a field genuinely begins. Before this, at the bachelor’s level, a student can only see the seashore while standing at the beach. At masters, you are actually stepping into the water but can still see the shore. The credits? 30-60 credits. As you notice, the number of credits reduce from the bachelor level. The reductions do not stop at credits but the number of years too to 1=2years.
If you decide to indulge deeper into the depths of a subject, there is something for you too. But first, you must complete a master’s. As mentioned earlier, these degrees are progressive, one leading or prequalifying a student for the next. Before you run, you must learn to crawl, then walk, right?
Doctorates are at the apex of the degree hierarchy and introduce you to the world of “almost expert” level and to add gravity to the accolade. You get the coveted “Dr.” title without medicating anybody. How great is that? A doctorate requires 90-120 credits over 3 or more years. Those are more than masters. Who said the “Dr.” title would come at a small cost?
What is the big idea?
The studying journey is cumbersome and, depending on how far you want to go, a long one. Studying for a degree allows students to choose an option in their hopeful field of work, though, as you progress, you may discover that it was not the area in which you actually had interest or capability. Changing course is a great option and happens to many. The great thing is that there are several options suited to capability, finances, and time. These can also be accessed through different modes, in-class and online, depending on what works for you. Are you a student right out of high school? Are you an employee looking to progress in your career? Are you trying to learn about a new field out of interest’s sake? Are you bored? Try a degree.
Credits are the gate pass to school, then to your career and dreams, potentially. Every student needs to be aware of what credits are, their capabilities, what subject options are there, how fast they want to get that degree done and how far they are willing to go in this study journey. Sometimes, it is more important to know what needs to be done right now because thinking about the whole study journey can be an exhausting and unnecessary exercise. With that said, if a degree is for you, credits you must pass.
Also read How I Went from High School Straight to a Full-Time Career