top of page

A tale of two degrees

I attended two excellent career-related events this week and I found myself emphatically telling people the same thing at both events. It was about choosing a degree program and here it is, in a nutshell:

Students can go to university for 4 years and take something they don’t really like and won’t pursue in the future, or they can go to university for the same amount of time—and the same cost—and take something they really like and will pursue in the future.

When you boil it all down, it’s really that simple.

It’s not like one undergraduate degree program costs a lot more, or one is more attainable than the other. Students can either take something they will like and use a lot, or take something they don’t like and won’t use much. The time and money it takes to complete it is basically the same for both.

Imagine you’re buying a new computer. There are two kinds; they’re different brands with different interfaces, but they cost the same amount of money and will take the same amount of time to set-up and learn how to use.

Now imagine two scenarios.

Scenario 1: you buy computer A -- you love it and use it all the time.

Scenario 2: you buy computer B -- you hate it, but you’re stuck with it for the next while because you can’t afford to buy another.

Ok, so a university degree is not the same as a computer. (For starters, a 4 year undergraduate degree costs about $26,000 - $50,000 more than a computer.) But it’s the simplest analogy I could think of to make my point. Plus, it happened to me a few years ago and I’m still bitter.

I truly believe no education is wasted. All learning is good learning and can be applied in many different ways. So any degree isn’t a total waste of time (as a dedicated life-long learner, I despise hearing people say that). But why settle for okay when you can just as easily get bang on?

It sounds so simple, but it's not. Because the key is knowing how to pick the right one for you. And then, after you've chosen, knowing how to make the most of your time at university so you acquire the marketable skills to help make you job-ready when you graduate. And all of that takes time, effort and expertise.

I’m sure I’ll write a lot more about this topic in the future but, for now, here are 4 blog posts I wrote on the topic of how to research and choose a degree program.

I hope you find them useful!

Want to learn more about how I can help you win scholarships? Please visit my services page.

About the author

Janet MacDonald is a Scholarship Coach with mycampusGPS Education Consulting. She is a former Canadian university admissions officer. For seven years, she was the coordinator of a scholarship program at a major Canadian university. Janet has helped her student clients win hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships.

You can find her online at, and on LinkedIn.

Learn more about Janet MacDonald by visiting the About Page.

The Author
  • Facebook - White Circle
  • Twitter - White Circle
  • LinkedIn - White Circle
Featured Posts
Search By Tags
Recent Posts