College Degree Helpful?

I’ve been considering a vocation while in college but as of late it has been growing on me. I feel guilty though because of the money my parents have spent for me to be educated. I’m going to finish my bba in accounting in may. I’m still very fishy with my vocation but part of me would be more at ease and comfortable that I could somehow put my degree to use. If I can’t, like I said I would feel very guilty. Please help me in my discernment.

In many cases the value of a degree lies in the fact that you earned it. I graduated with a BA in music and went to work as a director with the Boy Scouts. My seven years as a scout in my youth had more to do with my career choice than my degree, but the fact that finished a degree is what got me the job. Since then I have gone on to finish a MBA in finance and now am a senior analyst at a large bank. Nothing to do with music, but everything to do with a degree.

Don’t fret about not using an accounting degree to be an accountant. There is something out there to validate your time and expense.

Finishing a college curriculum to attainment of a degree indicates to a potential employer that you are diligent enough to work at a goal until you attain it.

Offhand, I’d say that quite a large number of university graduates work at a job that isn’t exactly what their degree is. Personally, I have an Associate Degree in Industrial Electronic Technology; after I retired, I earned a Bachelor’s in English, and have done graduate work in Linguistics; most of my career was spent in Petrochemical Engineering Research.

Your anticipated Bachelor’s Degree has widespread applications across the business spectrum… I wouldn’t be concerned at all about applying your training to a career. The degree simply gets you through the employer’s door; everyone endures a period of OTJ learning during the initial few years at a job. Don’t sweat the small stuff… (and it’s all small stuff…)

Good luck, and may The Lord bless you abundantly! :thumbsup:

You need a spiritual director to help you discern your vocation. Are your parents aware of you thinking about a vocation? What do they think about that? There should be opportunities for you to use a nice general degree like accounting almost anywhere.

I once told my parents that I was simply “open” to a vocation and they went nuts. They took it as I wanted to become a priest…so I got quite the reaction. My mother actually cried and my father was trying not to be upset. It was a very weird feeling and situation. I myself felt depressed even after I clarified that I was simply open to one. My parents heard priest and just freaked. Since then I just decided I was going to finish school but the guilt in me stems from them and that misunderstanding…but now I know how they truly feel about it. I guess they would have rather not paid for my college and would have preferred that I joined the seminary after high school…I know it sounds very material and money issue because it is but I really don’t have room to say anything about it because it is their money they worked hard to set aside for me. I just can’t blame God for becoming so close and knowledgeable of the faith in this part of my life that I actually now have no problem with a vocation which before I never would have dreamed of(celibacy was the issue but now with God I’m way beyond this) So as you can see I’m in a good bind…

From where I sit, you did the right thing by talking to you parents. They’ll adapt. If God is calling, you force on earth can stop you. Take comfort in that. After your parents have some time to sleep on it, I am sure they will at least become more open to the idea. At the end of the day, you life belongs to God, not your parents. He gave them the ultimate ability to pay for your college in the first place.

In most cases, many religious orders and the priesthood require that you have a college degree or at least some form of college education before being accepted into their order. I only discerned with one that did not require a college education (or a degree, for that matter) and that was the Franciscans of the Renewal. I think it would really help if you could get your degree as long as you don’t have any debt to worry about (it can be a real pain if you have discerned to enter somewhere and still have a mountain of debt in your way). :slight_smile:

I wouldn’t worry about it. A background in accounting will help you in many different things even if you aren’t doing accounting.

I’ve known priests with degrees in accounting and business. It has helped them with the parish finances. One was even responsible for building a new church.
Religious communities need people to handle their finances too.

Also, there are things you learn indirectly in getting a degree like that. Logic, critical thinking, attention to detail, … that will help you in life.

Let God worry about how to put your skills to use.

I encourage you to continue praying and being open to a vocation. As someone has already stated, most orders and definitely diocese require college if you feel called to the priesthood. For order’s that have brothers and priests, college is not necessarily required but definitely can be useful. Every order needs some people with accounting/numbers knowledge to help making certain the lights and heat stay on and if the order runs a school an accountant would definitely be of assistance.

College debt can be a big issue hindering vocations, but with your degree, I hope, getting a job is not an issue so taking care of any remaining loans won’t hold you back.

If you have not already done so, you might want to reach out to your diocese/archdiocese vocations office as they may have a low key program where you could meet other guys also discerning. Sometimes they are just monthly dinners. It can help to know some others are out there pondering the same thoughts. Also, if you are looking at orders, they probably have come and see weekends or retreats where you could go and see some of the life as well as having that retreat time.


One thing I’ve noticed over the years…most ‘second career’ priests who have entered the seminary later in life have been bankers or accountants. I’m not sure what the tie-in is there, but if you do a study of it you’ll find that it’s true.

More and more, unfortunately, today’s modern priest has to be a parish administrator. Your accounting education might come in very handy indeed!

Just let God lead you…and don’t worry about where that is. He’s pretty good at it.

I haven’t read all the posts here, so I apologize if I am re-stating something. Also note I am not a vocation director, I’m a humble lay-person.

I started seminary a month ago, after getting a four-year computer art degree. It wasn’t an impediment for admission. At Sacred Heart, there were around 25 new seminarians in the undergraduate program this year, maybe near 30 (I lose count). Only one does not have a degree, and he came right out of high school. Everyone else has at least part of a four-year degree. Two have degrees in philosophy already, and they still do two years of pre-theology, but taking higher level classes. One guy has a masters, another has a partial masters in business.

The low number of pre-theology guys this year with no college degree at all is a little atypical. There are I think six or seven guys who came in at previous years in the 4-year college program without any college at all; one last year from our diocese transferred last year with a partial degree, but not everything transferred.

So no, you don’t need a college degree before you begin discernment. However, most religious orders will require some theology, which has a philosophy prerequisite. The priesthood has a 4-year theology requirement as per Vatican directives, although some orders have different ways of doing this than diocesan, and dispensation can be given, usually only for men, over a certain age (usually 50–our pastor was one, but he was a permanent deacon before hand too. those exceptions are rare.)

If you are considering a vocation, call your vocation director soon. He will be able to better direct you as to what you should do. This close to graduation, he will probably advise you to finish your degree if there are no issues preventing it.

Continue to pray and be open to the workings of the spirit. The Lord is a wonderful shepherd for those who hear his voice. Be ready for anything.

You are in my prayers.

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