I have been working in the college environment ever since I graduated myself but I haven’t always been an academic advisor. I have learned, over the past several years, that educational planning isn’t as easy as it looks and it helps to seek guidance in setting your path.
Is the A.A. (Associate of Arts) Degree Right For You?
I have noticed while advising students here at Front Range that many are overwhelmed by the sheer number of options available to them in terms of degrees or programs of study. There are a couple of questions that I like to ask students to help them find a “good fit”:
- Do you plan to earn a Bachelor’s (or higher) degree eventually?
- Is the major you are planning to pursue more related to the liberal arts (communication, social sciences, humanities) than it is to math and natural/physical sciences (biology, chemistry, physics)?
If you answer both of the above questions with “yes”, it is likely that an A.A. degree will be a good choice to help you meet your educational goals. If you answer one or both of these questions with “no,”,a different degree might be a better fit for you.
How will the A.A. Degree Help Me?
In order to earn the A.A. degree, you must complete 60 college credit hours. If you attend college full-time, that takes about two years. Most Bachelor’s degrees require 120 college credit hours so you can think of the A.A. as the first half of your Bachelor’s degree.
Many students choose to take their general education courses (things like English, math, science, history, etc.) at a community college where they will often experience small class sizes and cost-effective tuition. These general education courses, along with elective courses that are often related to the major, can then be transferred to the college or university where the Bachelor’s degree will ultimately be earned.
If the courses you take in pursuit of your A.A. degree are chosen wisely (luckily you’ll have me and my other advisor friends to assist you), you can transfer to your next college or university with junior status, having completed your freshman and sophomore coursework already.
Having a Plan is Key.
Whether or not the A.A. degree is the right pathway for you to meet your goals, it’s important to have a plan to guide you. If you’re more interested in a major in math or the sciences, if you’re looking for a certification to enhance your career skills (or help you find a new career), or if you’ve just been thinking you’d like to give college a try (or another try) we in academic advising would be happy to help you map out a plan to help you get to where you want to be.
And, on that note…where do you be want to be? Tell us about your educational and/or career goals.