What is your degree worth?

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Today in many parts of the world, a college degree is necessary to find a job and launch a career. For those looking for an exciting and profitable career, the first step is to earn a degree from a good college. So many parents in India invest hard-earned money so that their children can get a college education and earn a degree. Unfortunately sometimes this degree has no value. In fact, some employers openly say that the degree is not worth the paper it is written on! So what should a student or parent do to make sure that the degree has value?

What did I learn? If the degree is easy to earn, watch out. If after you graduate, you still don’t know much about your field, watch out. A degree is a way of guaranteeing employers and others that a student has acquired fundamental knowledge. If that does not happen in some colleges and universities, then employers will not be interested in hiring such students. So even if the college is not strict or rigorous, make sure that you learn discipline-specific knowledge. Apply yourself. Learn about your field as much as you can. Otherwise, your degree is not worth much to you or to anyone else.

Can I read and write? English is widely spoken in India today and employers expect their employees to speak in English. If you can’t read or write well in English, then employers will hesitate to hire you. On the other hand, if you can read and write well in English, your value goes up with employers. This is true not only in your first job, but also when it comes to future opportunities and promotions. So pay attention to your language skills. Learn English. Speak English even with your friends. Listen to English news and programs. Read the newspaper. Write a letter in English. View English as an opportunity to advance your career.

Specialize: Think about your future employer even before you graduate. Who is your ideal employer and why? How can you learn more about the hiring needs of this employer? One way is to visit the Career Section on their website. Study the skill sets that they are looking for and start to prepare yourself for such jobs.

Study Abroad: Not everyone has the financial power to do this, but if you can it is a wonderful learning experience. Today in the US, many colleges and universities provide excellent study abroad programs whereby a student will study in a university in another country for a short period of time. The US is looking for Indian colleges and universities that can host American students and vice versa, looking for Indian students to attend its colleges. 

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About Dr. Gupta

Dr. Uma G. Gupta is the Founder and President of STEM.SMART, a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing the pipeline of U.S students interested in STEM careers. In addition, she is the CEO of PlanetGPA, an international student recruitment services that serves as an extension to the recruitment offices of U.S. universities.

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