Keys to success in life come from more than having a college diploma

If you’ve been wondering whether or not it’s worth it to stay in college, recent news reports may help to set your mind at ease about earning a college diploma. We already know that keys to success in both your personal and professional life are often grounded in a college education. Now a research study and a new book point out some new and exciting benefits that make your hard work and persistence all the more valuable.

Delayed marriage benefit

A new report from the University of Virginia’s National Marriage Project titled, “Knot Yet: The Benefits and Costs of Delayed Marriage in America,” revealed a new trend in marriage. Americans are getting married later than in previous decades. The average age for newlyweds is currently 27 for brides and 29 for grooms. In 1990, on the other hand, the ages were 23 and 26 respectively. According to the report, those who benefit the most from putting off tying the knot are college-educated women.

In a March 15, 2013 article for The Atlantic titled, “Getting Married Later Is Great for College-Educated Women, ” Eleanor Barkhorn explained the finding. According to Barkhorn, it comes down to earning capacity.

“The average annual personal income for college-educated women in their mid-30s who married after age 30 is $50,415, compared with $32,263 for college-educated women of the same age who married before age 20 — a 56 percent difference,” Barkhorn said.

What’s more, college-educated women are less likely to have a child before getting married. The average age of their first birth is 30 while that of women who dropped out of high school is 20. Barkhorn concluded that by devoting time to their education and career development and waiting to marry and have a family, college-educated women benefit in two ways: they gain greater economic security yet are still young enough to have children “in the relatively stable context of marriage.”

Does college equal success?

We’ve often heard the statistics that show a correlation between possession of a college degree and earning power. But does that mean that having a diploma automatically means a higher income or is it what a student learns while earning his degree?

Historian and educator Ken Bain answers that question in his new book, “What The Best College Students Do.” His book is summarized by Annie Murphy Paul in a March 13, 2013 article for Time Ideas titled, “Secrets of the Most Successful College Students.”

Through interviews with several well-known college grads including astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson and comedian Stephen Colbert, Bain identifies common traits of successful students which include:

  • A willingness to pursue a passion rather than an “A”
  • Learning to embrace failure as part of learning
  • Asking big questions that have no simple answer
  • Reading and thinking actively

Bain’s conclusions make a strong case for the idea that success is not so much about what school you attend, but what you do with your time once you get there.

A great way to spend your time

So how can you spend your time in college to help you hone your skills for future success? The ability to plan, research and organize will definitely come in handy no matter where you land after graduation. You can work on developing those skills at Questia, the Internet’s largest online library of full-text books and articles. Free this month on Questia are books that include:

  • “No Small Courage: A History of Women in the United States” by Nancy F. Cott
  • “The Fourth Estate: A History of Women in the Middle Ages” by Shahar Shulamith and Chaya Galai
  • “Sisters in the Struggle: African American Women in the Civil Rights-Black Power Movement” by Bettye Collier-Thomas and V.P. Franklin

While perusing the books you choose, be sure to test-drive the tools for highlighting, citing passages, taking notes, and word lookup. You may also be interested in checking out the video demo on the tools that Questia provides for researching and managing projects.

If you’re hungry for more, then take advantage of the one-day free trial of Questia that allows you to benefit from all the resources and tools including:

  • The world’s largest peer-reviewed library of sources on subjects from history to political science
  • Project folders to help you save and organize your research
  • Tutorials on how to plan, research, and evaluate sources, as well as avoid plagiarism

Questia has helped students find and cite high-quality, scholarly research since its founding in 1998.

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