How Hard Is It To Get A College Degree?


Since college is a huge investment of time, money and effort, it is important to understand how hard it is to get a degree and to figure out how to make it a bit easier to complete college.

Though the college major certainly impacts degree completion rates, there are other factors such as the reputation of the college, the student’s college & career planning, high school grades and finances, which if absent or inadequate can considerably increase the difficulty of a college degree.

In addition to the above factors, taking college preparatory courses in freshman year, or english proficiency courses for non-native speakers, or college-level courses in high school can greatly ease the transition to college learning.

Challenges to Bachelors Degree Completion

About 67% of those who enroll in a 4 year degree complete their bachelors degree within 6 years. Of the remaining 33% of students, 18% of them dropout of college entirely, whereas another 8% continue the 4 year degree program beyond 6 years. This is as per the 6 Year Attainment rate of Students data from the National Center for Educational Statistics.

The completion rates for community college students is even lower and is closer to about 20% who complete their associate degree within 6 years.

This certainly indicates that the college teaching quality and reputation is closely related to how difficult or easy college is to complete.

Community colleges usually have a lot more temporary or hourly teaching faculty which reduces the quality of education. 4 year colleges and universities certainly have better teaching quality than community colleges.

Main factors that make college degree harder

1) Attending community college substantially increases the difficulty of college completion, due to a reduction in teaching quality and a variety of other challenges community college students face.

2) Students with poor college preparation such as with low SAT scores have a harder time completing college. This is evident from Table 2.3-A of the NCES data on Six-Year College Attainment data.

3) Table 1.0 of NCES report (link above) shows that more students from public doctorate-granting universities graduate with a bachelors degree in 6 years than students from other for profit or private institutions. Therefore, the lower the reputation of the college, the harder it is for students to have the right resources to graduate college.

4) Some college majors such as engineering, technology or STEM degrees are typically harder to study for than the more general business or liberal arts degrees. This is usually the case for a majority of students though a smaller percentage of students may be naturally adept at STEM, engineering or technology majors.

So its important for students to choose a college major that clearly aligns with their own strengths and interests. Not choosing the right college major is usually disastrous for college.

5) Having a focused career plan or focusing on a specific field or major will also make it easier for students to plan out their degree courses and to complete courses more quickly. Not having a career plan will make things much harder.

6) Most importantly, choosing a college within one’s financial means or having a scholarship to cover the expenses is the best way to avoid hardships during college. Most students drop out of college when their scholarships run out or when they do not have the money to pay for college.

7) 82% of students who completed their bachelors degree within 6 years had a high school GPA above 3.0. So students with lower grades or scores in high school will likely find it much harder to complete their bachelors degree within 4 to 6 years.

Is Getting a Bachelor’s Degree Worth It?

Seeing just how many factors impact college completion, its perfectly natural to wonder if a bachelors degree is even worth it. For any job with a good salary, a 4 year bachelors degree has almost become compulsory.

Some professional occupations such as doctors/ physicians or lawyers, scientific researchers and so on require much advanced degrees such as a masters or a doctorate. For technology, business or nursing however, a 4 year bachelors degree is sufficient for initially building one’s career.

But for management positions that require many years of professional experience, it is always preferable to have a masters degree such as an MBA, MS and so on.

Having a bachelors degree by itself does not guarantee a good career in most cases, except in high-demand fields such as computer software or healthcare. But a bachelors degree is usually a good stepping stone for most career paths and lifestyles.

Even an entrepreneur could benefit from a business degree or perhaps it could help him or her to secure a business loan. There is also considerable societal recognition given to those who’ve completed their bachelors degree both within families and friends, and in business circles.

So its usually best to complete a bachelors degree and doing so with a good in-demand college major that’s also a good fit for your interests is the best start to one’s career.

How Hard Is It To Get A Bachelors Degree in Business?

A general business management degree is one of the easiest degrees to complete and the courses are usually easy to understand and score well in.

Specialized majors such as marketing, human resources or leadership are among the easiest business majors. The material is easy to understand and just reading the textbooks and references is sufficient to get through the degree fairly quickly.

Entrepreneurship or international business require some additional interest on the part of the student in running a business, and in understanding the cultural differences in running global businesses.

The two business majors that require additional attention to detail and focused mathematical and analytical skills are accounting and finance. Among these two, finance or corporate finance is generally more on the harder side.

The main advantage of a bachelors degree in business management is that its applicable to a wide variety of occupations, pays well and has sufficient job demand throughout the United State and worldwide. So for how easy it is to grasp the curriculum text for a business degree, the ROI is much higher on the positive side.

Is Getting a Bachelors Degree A Big Deal?

Let me put it this way, not getting a bachelors degree or atleast not getting even an associate degree is viewed with skepticism and dislike in our society in this day and age.

Among the bachelors and associate degrees, the bachelors is the one that qualifies a person for much better pay and working conditions.

The college graduate with a bachelors degree and a few years of experience is viewed as a smart professional, whereas, an associate degree is suitable for junior-level positions but there are many jobs that it can qualify a person for.

Though a bachelors degree is not that big a deal, not having one attracts disrespect in both the workplace and in families and other social circles. Though there are thousands of college graduates with bachelors degrees, the ones earning very well with many years of work experience are considered even more special.

How Hard Is It To Get A Bachelors Degree In Psychology?

Psychology is one of the most popular majors in college and most classes are usually packed. Therefore there will never be a shortage of classmates and making friends in college will become all the more easier.

A degree in psychology requires a keen interest in people and in how they think and react. A psychology degree also relies heavily on math and statistics for doing research studies. So someone who has a dislike for math or in people would find the degree to be much harder.

But for most people, psychology is an easy major and many students who simply want to pass and get a decent score, this college major is a breeze! But for students who have a keen interest in a particular field in psychology such as organizational psychology, health psychology or forensic psychology, building a good career will require hard work, lots of research and more advanced masters and/or doctorate degrees.

Is it Hard To Get A Bachelors Degree in Engineering or Computer Science?

A bachelors degree in engineering or in computer science is definitely a lot harder than most majors.

Any STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) degree requires a keen interest in the subject. Getting through a STEM degree is hard unless the student is particularly interested in that field. A STEM degree requires countless hours of studying, thinking and experimentation.

But even among the STEM majors, an engineering or computer science degree not only requires a theoretical knowledge but a perfect blend of theoretical knowledge with practical application. A proud sense of accomplishment in building and creating something of material value adds further fuel for a student of an engineering or computer science degree.

Both engineering and computer science degrees require a lot of hard work even for students who are actually good at these majors. But among the two, a computer science degree is somewhat easier as there is a lot of job demand and less physical work involved in a computer science major.

Most engineering degrees such as mechanical, electrical, petroleum, or civil engineering require considerable physical labor in working with the devices, circuits, pipelines or building materials. Computer science students also work with computer components, but a student majoring in computer software has it easier as its all about writing computer programs and there is limited requirement of physically working with computer components.

What Is The Most Stressful College Major?

Any degree where even continuous learning for several years is not sufficient to gain a real mastery of the subject can definitely be considered stressful. It is very difficult for the student to feel confident about the subject even after studying it for years in college.

So in my opinion, a law degree or a degree in medicine can be considered stressful than most majors. Most law degrees or degrees in medicine can be taken up only after completing a basic undergraduate degree.

Also, any field which has a critical impact on a person’s physical, mental or bodily well being is likely to be more stressful for college students. Law degrees are all about two parties in conflict and how the law and precedence is applied to reach a final judgement. Medicine is about treating major ailments and diseases in patients which impact their well being and health.

Therefore, law and medicine degrees are the most stressful in my opinion.

What Is the Most Boring College Major

Though there are majors that are more popular than others, the boring part happens when a student chooses a major s/he is uninterested in, or when the college or its method of teaching is totally lacking in quality or content.

So if you ever find that you’re getting bored with college, start to thoroughly re-evaluate what it is that’s causing you to feel so bored.

Answer these questions and consider these options for yourself:

1) Is it the subject matter or the way its taught that you find uninteresting? If you’re not sure, how about watching a small YouTube video or taking a small online course on the same topic as your current major to find this out?

2) Do you still find the video or course boring? Then its very much possible that this is not the right major for you.

If you find this interesting and its just your college courses that are uninteresting, perhaps you need to switch your courses for more interesting ones with a better professor or tutor, or change your college entirely!

3) Now if you need to change majors, following a similar approach of taking a small course or watching YT videos might lead you to the perfect fit college major for you.

Also think about all the courses you excelled in during your school years, that might lead you to the topics or field that you’re naturally passionate about.

4) If you think you need to change your college, just ask around with family and friends, but makes the final decision yourself on college choice.

If you’re currently in community college, I would seriously advice you to switch to a 4 year college or university for a better quality of education.

5) If you need to find colleges that are less tuition-fees-heavy, take a look at this post about Cheapest Bachelor’s Degree.

What College Majors Make Students Happy?

Choosing a college major that clearly aligns with the student’s strengths and interests is definitely going to make him or her happy. A happy student will have the motivation to study for long hours to learn everything there is to know about the course or topic.

So rather than looking for college majors that make all students happy, its important to find out what topics or majors make you happy, so you have the ability and motivation to build a strong career in it.

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