Associate of Arts (AA): General Studies Degree Overview
An Associate of Arts in General Studies program allows students to choose the courses that they feel are necessary for reaching their goals. This type of AA program provides a broad educational foundation and prepare students to transfer to 4-year programs.
Associate of Arts in General Studies
Some students are undecided about careers they may want to pursue in the future. An Associate of Arts in General Studies program encourages these individuals to pursue open-ended degrees while fulfilling core requirements. Graduates can secure general entry-level employment or enter college or university degree programs. Candidates should take it upon themselves to make certain that specific courses or programs can transfer to their prospective 4-year school for further learning.
Some community colleges that offer 2-year Associate of Arts programs do not require a high school diploma or the equivalent for entry, while others do. Placement exams may be necessary for applicants to prove relevant skills, and necessary remedial classes may be assigned to those who don't qualify to bypass them.
An Associate of Arts in General Studies program allows students to build a broad-based education. They learn how to think critically, communicate well and synthesize knowledge from many disciplines. The following is a sample of possible course topics:
- College algebra
- English composition
- Foreign language
- Lab science
- U.S. history
Many of those who earn an Associate of Arts in General Studies continue on to baccalaureate programs. Even for those who do not, career opportunities are increased. The National Center for Higher Education Management Systems, using 2007 U.S. census information, found that those with associate degrees had median annual salaries approximately $10,000 higher than those with only a high school diploma (www.higheredinfo.org).
Many general studies programs prepare students to discover their career interests and choose a goal for further training or educational studies. Depending on their niche career interests, this may lead to enrolling in a bachelor's degree program or short-term certificate program. Graduates may seek vocational training, internships or certifications relevant to their potential job area. Prospective students may wish to seek out schools with strong job counseling divisions where advisors can help them decide what their upcoming path should be and complete the necessary steps to achieve it.
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