Editor’s Note: US Census statistics were recently updated.

Commencement is an exciting time. For soon-to-be graduates at Grantham University, the closer we get to that date, the more inspiring stories we're hearing from students about persistence, sacrifice and overcoming obstacles.

The stories don't get old. They foreshadow the exciting atmosphere that will fill the Kansas City Convention Center's Grand Ballroom.

When graduates hear their name called and walk across the stage, the feeling of accomplishment will be difficult to hide. It's at this point that it clicks for many graduates, who think: Boy, am I glad I did this. They are aware of the wide range of future possibilities.

Earning a college degree is one of the more gratifying feelings you will ever have. With that in mind, allow us to present the top 10 reasons why earning a college degree is so awesome.

1. Pay increase.

With a degree, you'll have the opportunity to apply for an array of jobs for which you may not have qualified before graduating. With a degree, these jobs should earn you more money. Over an adult's working life, those with a bachelor's degree can expect, on average, to earn $2.4 million; that figure falls to $1 million for those with a high school diploma, according to a report by the U.S. Census Bureau1.

A degree opens the window of opportunity to make more money and ...

2. ... Choose a desirable field.

Perhaps before your degree, you were pigeonholed into a specific (and maybe undesirable) industry. Maybe you felt stuck. With a degree in a targeted field, students can work in an industry for which they have more of a natural passion.

3. Promotion.

You may respect and enjoy working for your current employer, but cannot manage to climb the ladder to reach promotion land without furthering your education. A degree erases those concerns and places you in the best position to achieve success.

4. Self satisfaction.

Earning a college degree should make you feel proud and accomplished. Adult learners who balance numerous priorities every day should allow their degree to serve as a jolt of confidence when they tackle future challenges. They know how much they're capable of achieving, and they have the degree to prove it.

5. Example for others.

Many adult leaners who walk across the stage at graduation this summer will share euphoric feelings with their children. You are their idol. Imagine how proud of you they will be, and the memories you will share forever. Your children will grow up in a household that places a value on education and career aspirations.

6. Make yourself more desirable to employers.

In a difficult economy, one of the smartest decisions you can make is to approach potential employers with a degree in hand (not literally - that would be an interesting interview). The chances of landing a desirable job increase dramatically with a degree, especially for career changers.

7. Critical thinking skills.

Ask someone you know who already has a degree: How much did a college education assist in your intellectual growth? You will find that critical thinking skills and thinking creatively are vital components to success in the workplace, regardless of your desired industry.

8. Communication skills.

Attending college enables you to communicate with classmates and instructors on a regular basis, whether through online discussion boards or in person. Think of these interactions as preparation for your next job. Regardless of industry, solid communication skills will only increase your chances of landing that next job.

9. Networking opportunities.

Most of your fellow classmates will also be looking to build a successful future by attending college. Keep in touch with them for potential job opportunities. You never know where your paths will cross again. Furthermore, make your career intentions known to your instructors. Many of them have either worked in the industry, or know someone with whom they can connect you.

10. Personalize your lifestyle.

A college degree may open doors to living where you want and doing what you love. You will be able to live a much more personalized lifestyle than if you only had a high school diploma.

Are you trying to figure out whether earning a degree is the right move at this point in your career? For an in-depth look of what distance learning has to offer, download our eBook by clicking the image below.

1 https://www.census.gov/prod/2012pubs/acsbr11-04.pdf