Once you finish up high school, you have a variety of options from which to choose. One of the most rewarding options, though, is going for your undergraduate degree. A bachelor's degree can help you advance your career throughout your lifetime, with lasting effects.

Here are six ways earning your bachelor's makes a big difference in your long-term success.

Better pay

This should come as no surprise, but the earning potential of people with undergraduate degrees is vastly higher than those without them. In fact, according to a recent study from the Economic Policy Institute, the gap between the two groups is wider than ever—college grads earn 56 percent more than those with just a high school diploma.

And that trickles down to more than simply your paycheck—75 percent of bachelor's degree holders own homes, more than 10 percent higher than high school diploma recipients.

More opportunities

Even being employed in the first place is another major difference between those with bachelor's degrees and those without. That same study found that only two-thirds of working-age people who stopped earning their education at high school graduation are employed—dropping an average one percent every year.

And it's more than simply earning degree. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has found that unemployment among associate's degree holders rests at about 4.7 percent, nationally, while bachelor's degree earners who are unemployed has dropped to 2.7 percent.

Improved access

As earning a bachelor's degree becomes more and more common in the United States, employers are becoming more and more likely to require it—even for entry-level positions. A study from CareerBuilder.com found that 41 percent of employers are now expecting a college education for positions that previously were held by high school diploma holders.

With a competitive job market comes choosier employers. Businesses can be selective about their candidates, so bachelor's degree holders rise to the top of the résumé pile.

Greater job satisfaction

It's more than simply earning more money—higher education can also make you like your job more. A study from Pew Research Center found that workers with bachelor's degrees are considerably more likely to be satisfied with their careers than those who stopped at a high school diploma—75 percent, versus 64 percent.

More education means more skills and more aptitude in your chosen career—and a positive, satisfactory work environment means you're more likely to position yourself for promotions and advancement opportunities.

Career connections

One benefit of attending college is the social aspect—this can have positive effects on your future career, too. A campus such as SDSU, for example, has hundreds of opportunities to join clubs, organizations, performing arts groups or team sports. These are all chances for you to network with the future workforce of the region.

Taking it a step further, SDSU also offers academic and special-interest groups specifically designed to introduce you to leaders in your area of study—people who you can rely on in the future for job recommendations and networking opportunities.

Superior communication abilities

Finally, no matter your major, a university like SDSU offers you the opportunity to take general education classes outside your specific major. These can include courses that offer critical skills that will prove essential in your future career—think communication, writing, problem-solving, comprehension and reasoning skills.

These are all incredibly useful for you—no matter what line of work you find yourself in.

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