How Can I Compare Bachelor's Degrees From Different Schools?
Choosing the right undergraduate program is a fairly monumental decision, and at times, it might seem like your choices are endless. Keep reading for some tips on comparing and contrasting bachelor's degree programs to find the perfect fit for your education.
Bachelor Degree Comparison Overview
There are many factors to consider when contemplating enrolling in a bachelor's degree program. Outlined below are a view ways to research the institutions and some factors to consider.
Important Facts About Bachelor Degree Programs
|Common Courses||English, mathematics, fine arts, social sciences, behavioral sciences|
|Prerequisites||Varies, depending upon the institution; most bachelor degree programs require a high school diploma, or equivalent|
|Online Availability||Full bachelor's degree programs available|
|Possible Careers||Financial examiner, technical writer, engineer, budget analyst, teacher, actuary, computer systems analyst, graphic designer, art director|
|Median Salary (2018)|| $80,180 (for financial examiners) |
$71,850 (for technical writers)
$76,220 (for budget analysts)
|Job Outlook (2016-2026)|| 10% growth (for financial examiners) |
11% growth (for technical writers)
7% growth (for budget analysts)
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Research the Institution
When choosing a bachelor's degree program, check to see if the schools you're considering are accredited. Accreditation is important to ensure that your degree is recognized by prospective employers, as well as other colleges and universities, in case you decide to transfer or further your education. You also should research whether the schools have an established history of providing quality education and seeing students through to graduation. Other factors you might consider include the following:
- Average tuition cost
- Financial aid options
- Average length of time for program completion
- Faculty accomplishments
- Campus atmosphere and appeal
Review External Evaluations and Rankings
Several publications and websites prepare annual lists that rank institutions as a whole and/or individual programs, which can help you compare and contrast your educational options. For example, you might consider the following resources:
- U.S. News and World Report: Provides annual rankings of top institutions (examples include best national universities, best public schools and best liberal arts colleges), as well as rankings of several undergraduate and graduate programs/departments.
- The Princeton Review: Surveys current students to determine annual rankings in numerous categories, such as best career services, most politically active students and best college dorms.
- Kiplinger: Provides several rankings based on the cost of school, including best values in public colleges, best values in private colleges and lowest debt at graduation.
Evaluate the Programs
Another way to compare bachelor's programs from different schools is to examine the curricula of the programs themselves. You might consider the format and content of courses, as well as the type of degree that's awarded; for example, Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Bachelor of Science in Psychology programs often are geared toward students with different career goals. Most schools' websites also include an alumni section, where you can research the achievements of graduates. Other factors to consider include the following:
- The number and variety of available courses and electives
- Additional program requirements, such as capstone projects, internships or study-abroad sessions
- On-campus activities and clubs related to your chosen field of study