Why do some student's feel guilty when they have multiple associate degrees?

Good evening, everyone

I’ve been seeing a lot of students have three associate degrees and sometimes they feel guilty about having them. I wonder why?

Half of the student’s in my class I know, have pursued this similar pattern.

Associate in General Studies - AGS which is a good option for students who don’t know what they want to pursue they might as well finish up their Gens and Eds such as English 101, Sociology, Psychology so on.

Biomedical Engineering, Associate in Engineering Science - AES; all courses from the AGS can transfer to this AES degree without any issues and finish up the remaining course work. One example you can transfer English 101 for AES and won’t have to retake the course ever again.

Finally a third degree which is a

Nursing - Associate in Applied Science - AAS this degree has a lot of core courses focused on nursing and some basic gens and eds to finish.

A lot of students told me they’re not happy having 3 degrees at the moment.

This path seems very long and tiring. What are you’re opinions?

Instead of wondering, you could directly ask.these students you know. They would probably tell you exactly what they are thinking one way or the other. Anyone here would just be speculating about these individuals. You have the opportunity to ask them directly. Maybe try that?

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Agree with @MarylandJOE. Ask them.

And if you don’t want a “very long and tiring” path, meet with an advisor and map out a path that works for you.


Not being happy to have spent 6 years earning associate degrees and loading up on general education requirements (gen eds) when they could have earned an associate’s, bachelor’s, and a masters in that time doesn’t mean they feel guilty. They might feel discouraged because they don’t have at least a bachelor’s. Or they may regret the money they spent, especially if they used up all their aid. Or they might believe they wasted a lot of time. The reasons for what they feel will vary.

Your time is better spent figuring out the best path for you. You’ll be finishing your associates at 28. What’s your plan for what comes next?



  • Three AA degrees wont get you hired, unless you earned it for a trade degree (plumbing, electrician, HVAC, CNA, Paralegal, etc.)

  • They won’t make you any more impressive to a college; the opposite will happen.
    (The admissions committees will wonder why the student couldn’t make the transition to an actual college and may hesitate in an admission. They don’t want you there for 8 years, unable or unwilling to complete a degree.)

  • Having 3 useless degrees means you’ve wasted your time and the State’s money.

I wouldn’t worry about others’ concerns about having 3 degrees since it needs to be about your path.

Ask them, they ARE your acquaintances.


I think there is a misconception that the name on your degree means that this will be your forever job. And so someone who gets an Associates degree in “court reporting” gets a job and discovers that his or her colleagues are HS graduates- with NO advanced training, or paralegals with Bachelor’s degrees in history or political science who are saving money for law school. And then this person discovers that they hate their job so they head back for an Associates in Tourism and Hospitality- another industry where you do not need specialized training. Hence the guilt- they’ve spent 4 years in community college, they don’t have enough Pell left to get a Bachelor’s degree, they aren’t launched into a career that can support them or that they love.

This doesn’t need to be you. It’s ok to put a pin in your education until you figure out what your educational and professional goals are.


All they gave me was. ‘We’re just tired of three degrees’ and that’s it.

I totally get being tired of three Associate’s degrees. That’s a LOT of classes and studying and tests and papers without having a Bachelor’s degree to show for it…


Because it’s akin to doing high school three times over. Community college is either a quick certification to get qualified for a career (like dental hygienist), or an inexpensive stepping stone into a four year college.