A bachelor’s degree has become somewhat of a precious commodity. For some, it’s a stepping stone on the way to lofty career goals or aspirations in graduate and professional programs. For most, it’s a ticket to their first major career milestone. And great news: many students are reaping the benefits of their academic success to find their way into their first jobs!

College graduates ages 25 to 34 boast an employment rate of 86%, based on a 2017 study by the National Center for Education Statistics. Add to that the fact that unemployment rates are at their lowest since 1969, and you can see how the current climate is ideal for earning a bachelor’s degree.

Recruitment has also become easier and more effective. With the introduction of online career services sites, employers are finding their top talents faster than ever. Take into consideration programs like Handshake, which connect students exclusively with potential employers, internships, and mentors, and students are never short of opportunities after graduation. A quick search at this moment reveals that there are hundreds of thousands of full-time job opportunities available — many available exclusively to students — on Handshake.

If you’re curious about how a degree can contribute financially, Payscale.com reports that the average job pays $18 per hour with a bachelor’s degree. That’s an estimated salary of just over $37,000. If you negotiate well, you can expect an entry level job to pay similarly.

So, is a bachelor’s degree really what it’s cut out to be? We think so, and so do 90% of employers. With timely prep and a solid strategy, a bachelor’s degree is one of the most effective steps to becoming a competitive prospect in your field.