“Education is for improving the lives of others and for leaving your community and world better than you found it.” - Marian Wright Edelman
Whether you are considering a university education, currently enrolled in a course of study, or received your degree ages ago, you would have weighed the cost of your university studies against the benefits it will offer you throughout your lifetime. It’s a personal decision, a personal commitment and most of all, a personal investment.
In exchange for your hard work, you will benefit from the many rewards of a university education. Let’s review what you can look forward to (or are already enjoying).
Personal Benefits of a University Education
1. Career Preparation
Some people know exactly what they want to do once they enter the workforce, and some people may need a tertiary education to get to where they need to be. A university degree remains a mandatory prerequisite for many careers. Even if you aren’t sure what you want to do after graduation, it is still worthwhile to go to university. Higher education will help narrow your interests and refine your skill sets, thus allowing you to zoom in on fields in which you are most adept.
Some have skills they haven’t yet discovered or haven’t had the opportunity to develop. Education stretches the mind, exposes students to new topics and pushes them to improve. As a result, students may discover skills they didn’t even know they possessed.
It’s a well-known fact that degree holders have access to more jobs. The unemployment rate is cut in half for graduates of bachelor’s programmes or higher.
2. Income Advantages
Getting a university education will improve your earning potential. When you look at income research, the evidence is clear that university graduates earn more than their counterparts without a degree.
A 2022 study has shown that in Singapore, those with a degree or post-graduate degree can earn a median monthly salary of $4,200, more than double as compared to those with a secondary and lower education. This median monthly salary is also 62% per cent higher than the $2,600 median monthly salary for those with diploma or A-Level qualitifications1.
3. Personal Development
Students will experience personal development while in university. Things such as critical thinking skills, time management, perseverance, communication, and presentation skills are all great assets not only for future work but for personal life as well. University graduates get further in life, not just because of the degree they’ve earned, but the experiences they’ve gone through.
Students are required to go through many types of assignments, discussions, courses, and more during their time in education. Therefore, they end up with a wonderful skill set that is enabling.
A personal benefit to getting an education is the opportunity to grow as an individual, experiment with what you are passionate about, and finding yourself. You will be exposed to a diverse set of people and ideas which expand your mind.
Students are given increasing amounts of responsibility with each year of education they complete. It is the student’s job to manage their time and create their own success, leading to self-discipline abilities for those who succeed.
In addition, from extracurriculars, students learn arts, sports, and more that help them personally in life and to connect with others.
4. Pursuing a Passion and Desired Field
Pursuing your personal passion in the form of a university degree is the path that some people take and it’s a wonderful way to marry passion with profession. If you really love music, study music, then find a way to make a career out of it. With university studies, it will help you get a deeper and more theoretical understanding of your passions and ultimately, the possible career paths and mentors.
5. Cognitive and Communication Skills
University students study hard, and they study often. They are taught to think alternatively and creatively to solve a problem. As a result, university students have high cognitive abilities. Courses often require group work and presentations, resulting in better interpersonal communication skills for grads.
Students are required to submit written assignments, work in groups, participate in discussions, and present in front of others. This leads to excellent written communication, speaking skills, and group communication.
6. Social Experiences
Don’t forget that university life isn’t all about studying. The friends you make during your time in school may be the friends you have for life. They can also act as a social net, lifting you up when you are down and encouraging you to do your best in your studies, your profession, and in your life. Learning to live with others and work well with others enhances your social skills as well.
7. Sense of Accomplishment
Finishing any degree is an accomplishment. Graduating gives students a huge sense of accomplishment and gives them the confidence needed to go out into the world and make something of themselves.
Feeling convinced? There are so much more than just these personal benefits of education we have listed.
Not only will you personally benefit from receiving education when it comes to income, career advancement, skill development, and employment opportunities, your society and community will also benefit from your education.
A society that is well educated feels a higher sense of unity and trust within the community. Educated societies create a feeling of togetherness among all citizens. Societies with higher rates of degree completion and levels of education tend to be healthier, have higher rates of economic stability, and have greater equality.
For more surprising societal benefits of education, read on.
Societal Benefits of a University Education:
1. Higher Standard of Living
There is a distinct relationship between education and poverty. Countries that enjoy a strong education system and a higher percentage of their population with university degrees see a far lower number of people in poverty. Access to education can mean getting out of that vicious cycle. The poverty rate for those with no secondary education diploma is 29%; for those holding a bachelor’s degree or higher, it falls dramatically to 5%2.
2. Connecting Across Borders
The new world of digital education is helping those who get an education to connect across the globe with people from other cultures. Students can collaborate across borders, increasing the cultural awareness and worldliness of the individuals. Education offers a global perspective on the world that is not possible to attain elsewhere.
3. More Productivity
Those receiving an education would have to learn how to manage their time and talents and be productive. After graduation, students will need to carry that productive energy into the workforce and learn how to thrive amidst various challenges.
In Singapore, changes in the education attainment of workers have been the most significant factor in the growth of labour quality over the past 50 years3.
4. Critical Thinking Skills
Education equips people with critical thinking skills. They are taught to ask questions, reflect, and analyse. These skills will help their local and global communities solve civic, economic, and social challenges. LinkedIn lists Leadership, Business Development Communication, Problem Solving, Management, Strategy, and Time Management as 7 of the 20 most in-demand skills in 2022.
5. Economic Growth
When an entire society is educated, productivity increases, average income increases, and unemployment decreases. This leads to the economic growth and stability of a society as a whole. It starts with education.
If one country’s math and science test-score performance was 0.5 standard deviations higher than another country during the 1960s, the first country’s GDP growth rate was, on average, one full percentage point higher annually over the following 40-year period than the second country’s growth rate4.
6. Healthier Society
University grads tend to be healthier as well, with a 30% lower risk of heart disease, a tendency towards healthy eating and exercise, smoking less, and living longer. University graduates also tend to have higher rates of participation in political and community affairs, volunteerism, and charitable donations. Not only do healthier lifestyles drive a more ready-to-work labor force, it also reduces the cost of a city or country’s healthcare infrastructure. More resources can then be invested in infrastructure, technology, and poverty alleviation as a result.
7. Environmental Benefits
Climate change is a large part of the conversation today, and society needs to work together to find ways to reduce its impact on the earth. Educated individuals that enter the workforce will put their knowledge of climate change into company policies, leading to increased sustainability. People with degrees are 25% more likely, on average than people with no education qualifications, to adopt pro-environmental behaviours, such as paying more for environmentally friendly products5.
Professor Peter Lynn at the Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER) notes, “more highly-educated people may be more willing to take environmentally-motivated principled actions such as buying recycled paper products or avoiding the purchase of over-packaged products.”
8. Reduces Crime
Education teaches people the difference between right and wrong and exposes children and young adults to the experiences of others. Understanding right and wrong and having empathy reduces the tendency to commit crimes. A higher level of education in society decreases overall arrests – just one year increase in average education levels of a state decreases state-wide arrests by 11%6.
9. Promotes Equality and Empowerment
Education provides everyone with a sense of empowerment, the idea that they have the choice to change their own lives and choose their path.
Gender-based violence is lower in communities with high education rates for all genders. Educated persons are more likely to support gender equality and are more likely to make efforts to stop and prevent gender-based or domestic violence.
A good education has considerable power to increase equality between women and men. Education can help tackle gender disparities in wages, poverty, reproductive autonomy, and political power while dramatically improving the health outcomes for women and their children.
The more educated women are, the closer their earnings are to men’s. In Pakistan, women with only a primary education earn around 50% of men’s wages. Women with secondary education earn 70% of men’s wages – still unacceptable, but a far narrower gap7.
10. Promotes Good Citizenship and Civic Involvement
Those with an education tend to be more aware of current political issues and are more likely to vote. University degree holders are twice as likely to volunteer and 3.5 times more likely to donate money than high school graduates8.
The practical side of good citizenship is developed most successfully in school. It requires an elevated level of teaching where the professor does not merely teach a subject but is always conscious of the subject’s relation to the larger purpose of learning to live.
Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS) views good citizenship and active community involvement of its students and alumni as a core mission. Its motto, Make Your Mark for the Greater Good, encapsulates SUSS’ heartbeat in holistically developing learners so that they can go on to impact the world around them. The university’s unique, interdisciplinary education is designed to impart professional knowledge and a passion for society. When SUSS students graduate, they are inspired to make a mark in their careers, life and community.
While it is understandable for you to consider the personal gains you will realise from a university education, do stop and consider the societal impacts that your university education and that of thousands of others can have on the society in which you live.
So, prepare yourself, prosper in your profession, and pay it forward to your community.
- Tan, T. (2022, December 5). University Grads' median pay is $4.2K, double the $2K of those with ITE, secondary education: Study. The Straits Times. Retrieved January 11, 2023, from https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/community/university-grads-median-pay-is-42k-double-the-2k-of-those-with-ite-secondary-education-study
- DeNavas-Walt, C., & Proctor, B. D. (2015). Income and Poverty in the United States: 2014. Centre for Poverty & Inequality Research. Retrieved January 9, 2023, from https://poverty.ucdavis.edu/faq/how-does-level-education-relate-poverty
- Nomura, K., & Amano, T. (2012). Labor Productivity and Quality Change in Singapore: Achievements in 1974–2011 and Prospects for the Next Two Decades. Sanken KEO Discussion Paper. Retrieved January 6, 2023, from https://www.sanken.keio.ac.jp/publication/KEO-dp/129/KEO-DP129.pdf
- Hanushek , E. A., Jamison, D. T., Jamison, E. A., & Woessmann, L. (2008). Education and Economic Growth: It’s not just going to school, but learning something while there that matters. Education and Economic Growth: It’s Not Just Going to School but Learning That Matters. Retrieved January 6, 2023, from http://hanushek.stanford.edu
- Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). (2011, March 21). When it comes to the environment, education affects our actions. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 6, 2023, from https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110321093843.htm
- Hjalmarsson, R., Holmlund, H., & Lindquist, M. J. (2014, October 29). The Effect of Education on Criminal Convictions and Incarceration: Causal Evidence from Micro-data. Wiley Online Library. Retrieved January 9, 2023, from https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/ecoj.12204
- UNESCO. (2013). October 2013 girls’ education – the facts - UNESCO. UNESCO. Retrieved January 6, 2023, from https://en.unesco.org/gem-report/sites/default/files/Girls_fact_sheet.pdf
- Trostel, P. (n.d.). IT’S NOT JUST THE MONEY. Lumina Foundation. Retrieved January 9, 2023, from https://www.luminafoundation.org/files/resources/its-not-just-the-money.pdf