Learning is an experience that knows no limits or boundaries. It does not end with the pursuit of a degree. Whether in our personal or professional lives, we learn something new every day. It could be about someone we interact with or knowledge of what’s happening around us. Even as professionals, it is necessary for us to learn in order to be competent in what we do, regardless of what field it may be. Having that additional know-how or skill can make a difference in advancing your professional career, especially in a highly competitive job market.
Here are 5 questions professionals should consider before deciding to head back to school.
1. What Will I Gain?
Many professionals choose to continue their education in order to gain additional skill sets that may help them in their work. Gaining that certification/degree may help in advancing them to higher levels within the corporate ladder or may make them eligible for pay increases. Other professionals may be seeking a career change, and certification courses may be their best choice. Regardless of what the reason is, you as a professional must have a firm understanding of what you hope to gain or accomplish from your educational pursuits.
2. Will I Have the Time?
Just like anything we do in life, school demands commitment, which requires time, resources, and energy. Everyone’s situation is different. Some professionals may already be married and raising their own families. Others may be working long, strenuous hours. Before going headlong into applying, be sure to take a look at yourself and your priorities and see if it is feasible and realistic to consider furthering your education at this time in your life.
3. Will I Be Able to Financially Support My Education?
Education comes with a price. Before deciding to head back to school, you need to examine your finances to determine if you can manage the tuition payments and associated costs. Also, some additional items to consider before applying back to school include the possible need for scholarships, loans, or financial aid.
4. How Will I Manage School with Family and Work?
Everyone’s professional and personal circumstance is different from. Some professionals may have a job and a family while others are working as a single professional. Before you consider applying to school, sit down with your family and discuss possible support systems to be put into place that may help alleviate some of your responsibilities, allowing you to focus on your studies. The same goes for your manager at work. It is important to take stock and prioritize in order to succeed at both work and school.
5. What Course(s) Do I Need to Take?
Talk to a program advisor or check out a sample syllabus for the program you are looking to apply to and view the course offerings. Are they the best courses for you given your goal? Talk to faculty members and research sample program offerings from other institutions.
Going back to school is an investment in yourself, first and foremost. You are dedicating time, money, and other resources; therefore it is imperative that you have the above questions answered completely and firmly before making the important decision to head back to school.
By Tamer Mahmound