5 Reasons a College Degree Sets You Apart for Potential Employers


A college education bridges the barrier for all people to have a competitive edge in the job marketplace, especially in today’s digital era with online degree programs available. Through college, you have the ability to specifically target areas of study and skills, with a variety of learning tools available, taught by professors who have the necessary knowledge and experience to pass on to students. The Pew Research Center published findings showing an income gap of at least $15,000 annually for graduates with a 4-year college degree versus those with just some college or high school degree. Here are 5 reasons a college degree will set you apart for potential employers.


Communication and Innovation


Forbes published an article explaining the two key traits employers are looking for is great communication and problem-solving skills. Another Forbes article includes information from the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), ranking problem solving at the top of a list of skills. Problem solving, also known as critical thinking, is the foundation of innovation, without which everything in a society and economy wouldn’t progress. Innovation can be as simple as changing a company’s marketing structure, creating a customer relations management (CRM) tool, or incorporating search engine optimization (SEO) for a company website.


Hiring employees capable of improving or innovating through critical thinking, and effectively communicating these innovations, is necessary for employers to stay competitive. For college graduates, employers know several years of communication and college-level critical thinking were successful, offering what they view as experience in two crucial skillsets.




Second to critical thinking, according to the article listing NACE’s statistics above, is teamwork. Every business needs to know they’ll have a productive workforce. If the job won’t require social interaction, it’s crucial a company still feels the person they’re hiring will be a team player in times of need. College is often a setting where teamwork is encouraged in certain classes or projects. Graduates are, in employer’s eyes, more likely to be experienced in group dynamics and what’s required to progress towards a common group goal.


Work Ethic


Employers are hiring people for one simple purpose, and that’s to accomplish a specific job. Getting a college degree is, at its core, is the definition of dedicated work ethic. NACE’s statistics show us work ethic ranks third, and employers see college as 100% optional. Enduring to the end and graduating with a college degree takes determination and work ethic that employers admire, and they know it will benefit their company because college is, in itself, years of dedicated work experience.




Computers make up the backbone of business, and people who have earned a college degree were required to take computer classes. These skills often go far beyond the typical skills even millennials so keenly picked up on throughout their lives. Using the examples of CRM and SEO in the ‘Communication and Innovation’ section above, these become second-nature terms to college graduates. Employers need people who can think digitally, so they know a superior understanding of technology comes standard when hiring a college graduate.


College is high school, but intensified, and isn’t for everyone. However, if you’re passionate about pursuing a certain profession, a college degree will set you apart for potential employers. The greatest benefit of our digital era is you can choose from a growing variety of online degree programs from well-known universities instead of relying on brick-and-mortar institutions. Now that you know why a college degree will set you apart, it’s time to make the decision about whether an online or in-person education is best for your individual learning needs.


By: Harper Harmon