What’s The Payoff, Is a US University Degree Worth It?

by neville

Another financial consideration that you should undertake ahead of time is an analysis of your payoff. What can I expect to earn after I have gained a US university degree and I have either returned home, or settled in another country?

Will my chosen discipline pay me enough to justify my loans, family obligations, sacrifice, opportunity cost? What are the employment prospects?

Not all degrees offer the same payoff. Strategically, it might be important to gravitate to one that does. Ultimately, a cost-benefit analysis is something that you should seriously consider before committing funds to study.  Remember, this is a financial decision more than anything else, so be prudent, be thrift, be cautious, and be proactive in seeking all the help you can get so that you make your decision to study in the US, a business decision.

To help you get a clear picture  on how you will profit from your investment in a degree from a US university read on.

The Post Graduation Payoff

The most obvious way to better your financial prospect is to get a university degree. That is a given.

A person with a university degree earns on average $1.2 million over a lifetime than a person with just a secondary school diploma. Throw in an advanced or professional degree and that figure jumps considerably to well over $2 million.

I dare say that an American Degree is an even greater enhancement to the prospects for an international student than one earned from anywhere else on the planet. So the financial payoff is clear. But, the decision to obtain a degree in the United States has even more tangible and intangible payoffs than just the enhanced dollars that are temptingly illustrated here.

Ticket to Graduate and Professional Degrees

Following our advice, you have no doubt selected a moderately priced institution and have intelligently managed your debt burden. That is critical to your post graduation choices.

The first such choice we will present is, (don’t be afraid), the prospect of even more education. This is a personal passion for me (Dr. Glean). As a person who did nine uninterrupted years in university, I truly believe that it is important, if not essential, for a young person today to at least earn a master’s degree.

While the market might present tempting opportunities, it is still prudent to consider graduate education. It can be the immediate step after graduation, or it can be deferred for one year. But it is worthy of serious consideration. Why? Well it is not likely to be a major cost undertaking if you, like most international students, were a superb student as an undergrad.

Most graduate programs come with some form of funding.  Outside of a few disciplines, one can earn a full ride, with assistantship (living allowance included), at even very good schools. What’s more, your international status will not be an impediment to accessing most of these opportunities.

Graduate school options are a full topic within itself. And as one of my passions, it will receive more detailed coverage in later articles. For now we just want you to keep in mind that  the bachelor’s degree is a ticket, a direct ticket, to a graduate and professional degree—even to Ph.D. programs.

Ticket to Job, Career, and Life in the US

The second broad option does not preclude graduate school, but rather it postpones it. The United States is a fantastic destination for international students because of its generosity. In the US  after completing your degree, you can immediately embark upon post graduation training—in effect, a one year work permit if you have an F-visa or up to 18 month if you have a J-visa.

While we will cover this in detail in the immigration section, it is enough to know that the opportunity to land a job, a career, a new life, rests with your skillful utilization of this amenity. And this only comes after successful completion of your degree.

This amenity is called the Optional Practical Training (OPT). OPT follows graduation, and in effect becomes your dress rehearsal, your audition, if you will, for a prospective employer.

You have several months to show what you can do in order to motivate your employer to seek your services on a longer term basis by filing the appropriate documentation. The best part is that undertaking this work does not preclude your advancement to higher education.

If you secure long term employment, you can easily take advantage of a company plan that will allow you to get your master’s degree part time. Or, if you are not comfortable in the work place, you can return to graduate school after a year, assured that you will have a second OPT upon completion, to hit the market in earnest.

Ticket to Launching a Successful Career back home

Finally, we cannot ignore the obvious—the real prospect that you will return home immediately after graduation. Often, we, and even consular officers at our embassies, assume that all international students are here to stay for the long haul. Statistically, that is a reasonably supported proposition, but applying it to every case would be pure conjecture.

If you are one of those persons who can envision better options for success within the comforts of your own nations following your US degree, then you are on the path for optimum success. Management types with US degrees, especially if you can work the English language as an added accomplishment along with the cultural knowledge of a rich and powerful nation, then the opportunities for you are boundless. Ultimately, you have the best of both worlds and a luxurious set of circumstances.

However, you might still want to consider the two options above even if you have good prospects at home. Regardless of which three options you choose, your life, lifestyle, and livelihood, will undoubtedly all be greatly enhanced after successfully completing an American degree.

At this point Selecting a US University should be clear, as should Financing Your US University Education. Now it’s time to turn our attention to Applying To US Univeristies.

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