5 Perks of a UNCG Degree That Maximize Lifelong Earnings

Posted on May 21, 2024

Students walk down College Ave in UNCG t-shirts.

For high school students contemplating their next step, advice is a mixed bag these days. From trade schools and gap years to military service and job offers, the choices are vast. Attending an expensive college can lead to debt and going straight to work can minimize lifelong earnings, but matching personal goals with the right environment enlightens a path forward. 

Graduate walks across stage in cap and gown with arms raised in a muscle flex pose.

UNC Greensboro’s accolades prove that Spartans are making practical decisions that prioritize a return on their educational investment. UNCG is consistently ranked high for excellence, value, and overall student experience including: 

Rankings give prospective students a sketch of what UNCG can do for them, but the unexpected benefits of a UNCG education bring color and detail to a student’s vision of their future, and those benefits are best described by Spartans themselves.  

1. Diversity Immersion 

Alyssa Odom, a public health major with plans to be a licensed social worker, looked for diversity when she toured colleges. “I chose UNCG because of its diversity. I wanted to go to a school that looks like the real world.”  

Students arrive at UNCG from different backgrounds, socio-economic groups, and interests and are encouraged to be their most authentic selves as they learn and grow here. They meet new people, work in teams, and prepare themselves to serve diverse communities and global corporations.  

Additionally, when students search for experiences beyond North Carolina, UNCG’s International Programs Center (IPC) makes study abroad accessible to all regardless of a student’s economic status. IPC brings the world to Spartans, preparing them to bring cultural sensitivity, foreign language skills, and worldly perspectives that demand high salaries from employers.  

Dana Broadus ’23 had never been on a plane before she enrolled in the Lloyd International Honors College and embarked on a college experience that included studying abroad in Spain, a campus job at University Communications, and undergraduate research. “My journey at UNCG has broadened my world in ways I could never have imagined,” she said. 

2. Career Exploration and Inspiration 

The college environment at UNCG encourages creativity, experimentation, and a healthy exchange of ideas. This not only makes the campus a place for learning, but also for self-exploration.  

A high school graduate may think they’ve found the perfect career and can go straight to work or enroll in a trade school, but what if they find the work unfulfilling? College students participate in campus jobs, service and social organizations, research labs, and take classes in varied academic programs. This helps them match their interests and skills with applicable career options. 

What’s more, UNCG’s size makes it big enough to allow students to sample widely different programs, but small enough to connect with advisors and peer mentors for help navigating the choices at their fingertips.  

Sarah Korb ’24 arrived at UNCG with an interest in music and biochemistry, and her UNCG experience led to an acceptance in a prestigious chemistry PhD program at Princeton University. “It’s beneficial how close I was able to get to my professors here,” she said. “They know me well and could easily highlight my experience and strengths. The publication and sheer amount of research I’ve done at UNCG was also key to my Princeton acceptance.”   

Career exploration leads to long-term happiness, which is what Sam Giron considered when he made a drastic pivot from chemistry to the esports concentration in the hospitality and tourism management major at UNCG. “I know that esports is something I can be happy with,” Giron confidently stated. “My first class with Dr. Erick Byrd, combined with the professionals I’ve met at campus tournaments, has me convinced that it will be a profitable career.”   

3. Time Management Life Skills  

The academic exploration and student engagement encouraged on a busy campus like UNCG creates a secondary perk for students – time management skills. Campus resources help students balance academics with healthy living and make time for activities that mean the most to them. 

Student and professor in lab coats work with hi-tech science equipment in a lab.
Marcos Tapia works with Dr. Hematian in a UNCG lab.

Students living on campus learn firsthand about balancing school with work and knowing when to take on new responsibilities, and this is a life skill that all adults need. Furthermore, professionals who multitask are built for leadership positions.  

An excellent example is UNCG’s 2024 Goldwater Scholar, Marcos Tapia. His mentor Dr. Shabnam Hematian credited his dexterity for the prestigious appointment: “Our lab is very collaborative and interdisciplinary, so we have a lot of projects going on at once and Marcos is a strong multitasker. His experience has broadened his perspective of chemistry,” said Hematian. “This honor is the culmination of his hard work, curiosity, and initiative.” 

4. Presentation Polish and Shine 

Not only did Tapia’s time management skills lead to his scholarship, but he gained effective presentation skills at UNCG. Tapia took advantage of opportunities to attend conferences and present his research. And like any good scientist, he never wavered from asking questions. 

Interactions like these prepare students for the most intense interviews for high paying positions. But rather than building confidence through competition, UNCG’s network of mentors builds confidence through cooperation. Students watch presentations and practice sharing expertise by teaching others what they know. Collaborative college environments give students four years to perfect the art of selling themselves, a skill that always pays dividends. 

Ethan Divon, a classical studies major, won a 2024 Undergraduate Research and Creativity award for his study of video games that use Greek and Roman mythological characters and storylines. Presenting to different audiences and learning from mistakes polished his skills. “Presenting the same topic at multiple conferences allows you to improve and rework the presentation for your strengths,” he said. “The questions are always useful for improvements to your presentation.” 

5. Spartan Support – Now and Forever  

Although skipping college and going straight to work may seem like a more lucrative path in the short term, the connections built through a college network position graduates to always look out for new opportunities and salary bumps. 

Even before students graduate, faculty introduce them to opportunities like Tapia’s Goldwater Scholarship or resume-building internships. Plus, there are numerous UNCG recruiting events, job fairs and networking events at the department level. Imagine a job where your supervisor will train you to interview for a better job. All colleges do this, but UNCG’s tight-knit faculty-student relationships mean they do it in a way that is customized to each student’s goals. 

Across the country and beyond, Spartan alumni pride themselves on lighting the way for others, as others did for them. Alumni engagement and networking give graduates the opportunity to share their professional tips and success with other Spartans. It’s a connection that opens doors for career advancement. 

Recently, Dr. Ashley Leak Bryant ’03, ’05 MSN established an endowed scholarship for UNCG nursing students. Her commitment to helping future nursing students stems from the success she has found since making the decision to attend college at UNCG.  

“UNCG is a hidden gem,” she says. Her advice to tomorrow’s students is common among Spartan alumni: “Surround yourself with people who want to help you grow and succeed.” 

Story by Becky Deakins, University Communications. 
Photos by Sean Norona, University Communications. 

Student reads on a blanket in UNCG's quad lawn with a residence hall in the background.

Make a Commitment That Pays Dividends.


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