Are Degrees In Education Needed To Succeed In Life?

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Are degrees in education needed to succeed in life? is a question that has existed for a very long time. Both sides of the argument are well supported by scientific research, real life examples and a whole lot of options in between.

The relation between a formal degree and success in life is definitely an important one. Most people would (given the opportunity) want to improve their chance of success in life. Since we think it’s more important an individual makes the best decision about their own future we will be exploring the debate from both sides.

What People Think

It’s always interesting to learn what “the average person” thinks. We spoke to some of our users at StudySearch, teachers and friends and here’s what they think.

“Yes I agree that a degree can increase your chances of getting hired and lead to economic growth. A degree will offer an individual greater options to explore opportunities of their choice. It also improves the literacy rate and thereby helps in economical growth.”

“This is Nigeria. In this part of the world having a degree will more often than not mean you have more chance of success than someone that hasn’t. Ok we can’t say for sure it will guarantee success but I’d rather have a degree than not.”

“ Success has nothing to do with a degree in the most part. If we conducted a research of the most successful people in the world, we would see that there are varying backgrounds, levels of education or no formal education as it were.”

What are the advantages of a degree?

Deciding what and where to study is perhaps one of the biggest decision a person will make during their lifetime. However many people don’t even know why they are planning on doing a degree. Instead they see higher education as the natural progression in life so they go through the motions. What are the benefits of doing a degree anyway? I hear you ask.

Studying at degree level develops transferable skills such as:

  • time management
  • problem solving
  • independent thought
  • report writing
  • team working
  • leadership skills
  • effective communication.

Research shows also shows

  • graduates enjoy higher quality jobs than non-graduates
  • graduates’ children also benefit from the educational success of their parents: graduates tend to have a greater involvement with their child’s education
  • graduates show positive attitudes towards diversity and equal opportunities, such as on race and gender equality issues.
  • graduates, with their higher levels of skill, are a source of wider innovation and economic growth.

So while you may be planning on taking a degree to develop knowledge and expertise in a subject that you enjoy, there are several ancillary benefits you may gain.


Extremely costly, yet graduate salary usually starts low and any increase is often influenced by experience built up by years on the job.
Opportunity cost of extra time in school, as oppose to doing exactly what you want to do. Every hour spent learning is an hour you could have been working
The knowledge required for any specific career is constantly changing, meaning your degree is constantly outdated.
Most people learn better from practically learning, most degree programmes do a bad job at preparing graduates for the working world.


So perhaps it’s not clear cut, something to consider are the alternative learning options. It doesn’t have to be degree.

Take a certificate – usually significantly cheaper and still has educational benefits
Join the military
Take online courses (whilst working)
Do an apprenticeship, internship or enternship (usually with a startup much more hands on experience and responsibility think of it as an entrepreneurial internship)


Everyone wants to succeed and your future is important. Are degrees in education needed to succeed in life? Well the answer will differ for everyone. At StudySearch we believe education is important yet making the decision about whether to do a formal degree or not should be done with the end in view. Understanding your industry of choice and making the decision with a clear strategy will optimise whatever you do for future success.

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