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Getting your College (Bachelor) Degree

In short: Bachelor degrees are four-year college degrees. Bachelor's degree holders earn, on average, $23,000 (83%) more than high school diploma holders (according to latest US Census). Approximately 24.4% of Americans hold a bachelor's degree or higher.
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Deciding to earn your bachelor's degree is a wonderful investment in your future that will teach you discipline as well as a number of practical skills. This is your chance to concentrate your studies on the one (or two, if you are particularly ambitious) area of study that fascinates you. A bachelor's degree directly prepares you to find a job in your industry, or to continue on your path of higher education. Read on for more details on earning a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science.

Subject

What does an bachelor's degree entail?

When someone refers to earning a four-year degree, they usually mean a bachelor's degree. Bachelor's degrees are awarded by institutions of higher learning like universities, colleges, and online schools. By earning this degree you can demonstrate that you have earned a certain amount of credits in general education courses, in addition to credits in your area of major. If you attend class full-time, a bachelor's degree can be earned in four years. If you have the significant advantage of already having earned an associate's degree, you can finish a bachelor's degree in two years, taking only upper-division courses in your major. It is possible to earn dual bachelor's degrees by declaring a double major. This will significantly increase your workload and could take more time to finish, but a double major is extremely impressive, both in academia and on a resume.

What will I learn?

If you are enrolling in a four-year program, the first two years will be spent learning "general education." General education comprises four areas: communication, science and math, humanities, and social science. Communication classes are a solid prerequisite for graduation, and as the name infers, both verbal and written communication are required to pass. English, mass communication, literature, and speech classes usually fill this category. By learning the talents of both speaking and writing effectively, you ensure confidence in your communication skills. Science and math classes are also required on your way to a bachelor's degree, and although those words are triggers for anxiety attacks for many students, don't worry. There are many ways to meet your math and science requirements while earning your bachelor's degree: marine biology, human anatomy, statistics, calculus, and more. Depending on the area in which your college is located, you could end up at the beach for a science class, or studying architecture for a geometry class.

Humanities and social sciences cover the theoretical sciences and critical thought and include courses in psychology, sociology, comparative literature and religion, and political science. Often you will be asked to choose a point of view and argue it, either in debate or in a thesis. Although all general education courses available for credit towards a bachelor's degree are closely required, you do have an element of choice in these classes and should take the subjects most interesting to you.

How long will it take?

If you start with no college credits and attend classes full-time, expect to earn your bachelor's degree in four years. Some students need more time, some less; it depends on the workload and if the student can devote all their time to attending classes. Most bachelor's degree programs require you to complete 120 semester units, although universities and colleges accept transfer students from community colleges. If you have already earned an associate's degree at a community college or online college, expect to finish your bachelor's degree in about two years. Be careful, though, when tabulating transfer credits; many students make the mistake of enrolling in community college courses with no transfer value at their chosen university.

What's the difference between a B.A. and a B.S.?

When you declare a major either as a transfer student or an undergraduate, your choice of study will determine whether you will graduate with a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science. If you choose humanities, English, literature, history, or other form of fine arts such as music, art, pottery or theater, your degree will concentrate on the arts, a Bachelor of Arts. If math, business, or computer science is more your field, you'll earn a Bachelor of Science. Once declaring your major, you will take classes not only in that subject but in relevant others. An English major will need to know literature, poetry, classics, and writing methods to have a well-rounded education. In the same way, a biology major must also take chemistry, math, genetics, and ethics courses to prepare for a possible career as a doctor.

A bachelor's degree is the best move you'll make towards finding a job you enjoy and an income that supports you. Many companies are seeking educated employees with relevant study and work experience, and earning a bachelor's degree will help to put you towards the top of that pile of resumes. Many times, work a student does as an undergraduate helps to connect them with potential job sources and mentors. Without question, earning a bachelor's degree is well worth your time.

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