Fall is on its way and with it comes thoughts of sending the children off to school once more. What about yourself though, have you thought about returning to school and finishing your college degree? Perhaps you feel stuck in a dead-end job and would like a career change. Going back to school can help you take your career to a higher level.
Asking questions to determine if this is a hard boiled idea or one that will benefit you. Three questions that may help you decide are:
1. Why do I want a degree?
2. What will I have to give up so I can attain this degree?
3. What does it cost to get this degree?
Why do I want a degree?
Do you feel as though your current job is a dead end or you are not earning as much money as you could? Returning to school to get a degree or to brush up on your skills might be the best thing you can do. How do you decide, though?
Start by writing down your reasons for going back to school. Next take some time to search the Internet or your library for information on the future of your chosen career, whether it's your current one or a new one. Talk to Career Counselors at a local college. Don't be afraid to contact people you know who are already in the field and get their feelings about future employability.
What will I have to give up so I can attain this degree?
No matter if you are thinking about completing additional coursework or obtaining a complete degree or certificate, it will cost you time and money. If you are already working, will you be able to continue to work and go to school at the same time? If you reduce your hours or quit to pursue your education, how will you reduce your spending to compensate for the less income?
Don't just look at the short term costs, though. You might have to scrimp now to get the degree, but your income may be vastly improved after you are done with school. There is also another aspect to consider - are you truly happy at your current job? Switching careers to a more satisfying job may more than compensate for any lost income while you are in school.
What does it cost to get this degree?
Education is not given away for free and you have a choice of how to pay for tuition. You may pay for it all yourself, with grants and scholarships, loans or through work study. The cost of tuition will depend on the degree program, the school you attend and of course lifestyle choices - housing, food, clothing, etc.
It is important you contact the Financial Aid Office of the school of your choice as soon as you can. They will be able to help you determine how best to pay for your degree. With each type of financing there are rules and criteria you have to meet to be eligible. The school of your choice will be able to tell if you meet these criteria.
Remember as you make your decision:
Your education is an important key to your financial future and success. By answering these three questions you will be better able to make a wise choice about returning to school. Just be sure the benefits of a new degree will outweigh the costs of going to school.
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