Self-Improvement Month: How College Can Help with Personal Growth

September is Self-Improvement Month, which makes it an ideal time to celebrate the progress you’ve made in the past and plan out your goals for the future. Do you want to eat better, exercise more, or rid yourself of an unhealthy habit? Or are you looking to build new skills and increase your confidence level?

One thing you can explore during Self-Improvement Month is pursuing a new college degree or certificate. There are many benefits to education beyond just a credential. Below are just a few of the ways that earning a college degree can foster self-improvement.

What Is Self-Improvement?

Self-improvement consists of any efforts you make to reach your full potential, such as developing your capabilities, improving your knowledge, and refining your work-life balance. Although the elements of self-improvement are different for all of us, and individual goals can vary widely from person to person, striving toward self-improvement can help people of all ages make positive changes in their lives.

Self-Improvement Helps People Change Their Behavior by Creating New Habits

Humans are creatures of habit, and if your current habits, such as eating fast food, smoking, or a tendency toward procrastination, are hindering your personal growth, it may be time to change them. If you set your sights on achieving a goal, this can motivate you to create new habits designed to help you get from point A to point B.

Self-Improvement Helps People Focus on Their Goals

You may have heard the saying that if you don’t know where you’re going, every road will get you nowhere. When you strive toward self-improvement and self-empowerment, this can help you focus on the steps you’ll need to take to reach your goals.

How Completing a College Degree Helps Further Self-Improvement

A smiling college student in a classroom.

Completing a college degree not only allows students to develop a professional network, learn new skills, and increase their earning potential; it also fosters other areas of self-improvement. Other examples of how going to college furthers self-improvement include the following:

Advance in Your Current Career or Switch to a New One

Are you no longer happy in your current career? Or do you like the field you’re in, but you’re interested in career advancement? Earning a college degree can provide you with the knowledge and skills needed to change professions or pursue managerial roles.

Loving what you do for a living is important, as feeling comfortable in your role can help improve your physical and mental well-being.

Build a Functional Skill Set

College graduates often develop skills in negotiation, time management, and organization. These skills can not only be helpful in everyday life, they can also qualify individuals for a broader range of employment opportunities.

Develop Discipline

Completing a degree takes time, perseverance, and dedication, especially if you’re raising a family and working a full-time job. Perhaps not surprisingly, college graduates often find they’ve learned how to be disciplined in both budgeting and allocating their time.

Modernize Your Knowledge

Numerous innovations have influenced workforce processes in the past 10-15 years, including cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and workforce communication platforms such as Slack and Trello. Completing a college degree provides students with a great opportunity to familiarize themselves with new and pending technologies.

Increase Your Self-Esteem

Completing a college degree takes drive, passion, and focus. Graduating from a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral program is an enormous accomplishment and can be a great boost to your self-esteem.

Student Testimonials on Personal Growth in College

It’s one thing to read about how college can enhance your personal growth. It’s another thing to hear current students talk about their own experiences.

Below are just a few of the things that Maryville University students have had to say about how advancing their education has helped them move toward self-improvement.

  • [Completing my degree] taught me a lot of independence, self-reliance, and time management. I feel more confident [because] I was able to do this. I put in the work, I have a career, and I have patients that rely on me. It’s a confidence booster, and it’s like — that was really hard, but I did it.” — Danielle Van Komen, online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN FNP), 2019
  • “When I started college, I was in a dark place. I didn’t have any guidance on life at that time. [Enrolling at Maryville] helped me to be able to say, ‘Hey, if I have this goal, I should go for it,’ and I became more confident in achieving results and goals. My advice to students who are considering Maryville is to give it a try; you will not be disappointed. Maryville has changed my life for the better — and forever. So, I would say just do it. If you’re on that fence, just come on across.” — Danny Parks, online Master of Science in Software Development, 2019
  • “Success to me means being happy and doing something rewarding. [Completing a degree is helping me toward my goal of becoming] an audiologist or speech-language pathologist. My future makes me motivated to do well now, to have a better future for my children and set them up for success, and to help people.” — Alison Andrews, online Bachelor of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders, in progress

Create the Future You Want

For Self-Improvement Month, take some time to jot down the goals you’d like to attain within the next year, whether that means applying for a new position, starting a family, or completing your degree. If you’re focused on the latter and you’re ready to take the first brave step toward advancing your education, discover how Maryville University’s online bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree and certificate programs can prepare you for the next step in your professional journey.

Recommended Reading

How Long Is an Online Bachelor’s Degree

A Conversation with an Enrollment Advisor on Nursing Programs

Remote Jobs for Military Spouses: Choosing a Degree Path


Education Corner, “Benefits of Earning a College Degree”

Indeed, “Guide to Self-Improvement (With Tips)”

James Clear, “The Beginner’s Guide to Continuous Self-Improvement”

Scott H. Young, “What Are the Core Ideas of Self-Improvement?”

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Education Pays

Be Brave

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