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The Real Value of an Associate's Degree

An associate of arts or sciences degree program has traditionally been viewed as a stepping stone to a bachelor degree for those are unable to commit to a four year program. Rarely a matter of speculative finances alone, the reasons for choosing to earn an associate's degree are as varied as the students who choose to take this educational path. For all the connotations that choosing to earn an associate's degree holds, however, the real positives are rarely discussed.
In truth, few who enter into a college program have a firm idea of (or dedication to) what is entailed with their chosen major. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, fewer students are taking advantage of advisement and other services that are available to help them make better choices regarding a field of study, while the number of students switching majors is on the rise. For those who wish to get a sampling of the many avenues available to them, an associate's degree is an exceptional choice.
An associate's of arts in liberal arts degree program gives students the greatest flexibility in deciding on which electives to take to meet graduation requirements and is geared toward those who aren't sure of which educational path to take. For those who have a more focused idea of their intentions but who still need to narrow down the possibilities, most associate level programs can help. As an example, many students wish to go into a field related to business, but aren't sure of whether accounting, finance, management, marketing or any of the other options are suited to them. An associates in business will help such students earn credit that will apply toward any bachelor program while introducing them to the options at an introductory level.
Associate's degree programs offer more than just a sampling of curriculum, however. They also offer a student greater flexibility to change direction should the need arise. While the drawback of having to take some required classes to get into some bachelor level programs is a reality for many who do change majors, associate's degree programs allow students to do so without having spent the majority of their time working toward something else. After all, the very nature of an associate's degree is to give students an opportunity to get 100 and 200 level classes completed, which will be required no matter what their academic future holds.
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