A lot of people talk about or consider going back to school at some point during their career, either to learn more about their field, earn that ever-important graduate degree, or to reach the next step on the corporate ladder. But many don't actually enroll for one simple reason: It's scary. School can be a big, time-consuming, money-draining commitment, and that keeps many people from ever heading back.
But going back to school today isn't as difficult as it may initially seem. Here's why.
You Don't Have to Go Full-Time
We assume that going back to school would require a full-time commitment: quitting work, giving up a paycheck, and trudging off to class four times a day. This doesn't have to be the case. With so many working adults going back to school to finish a degree or start a new one, colleges and universities are tailoring programs to work for these individuals. Most business schools, for example, offer night and weekend programs for those career professionals who want to earn their MBA. On top of that, you often have a choice of whether you want to go full-time, part-time, or just take a class or two per semester. How many classes you take and how quickly you finish your degree is totally up to you. And with online classes now added into the mix, there's even more flexibility in regards to scheduling, location, and when you attend class.
You Don't Have to Spend a Lot of Money
Another thing we assume about going back to school: It's going to be a huge investment. But, depending on what kind of education you already have and what you're looking to do, school doesn't have to be unbearably expensive. Your local community college might offer a certificate or diploma program that will teach you the skills you need (without the expense of a four-year bachelor's degree). If you have a two-year degree and want to earn your bachelor's, the classes you already took might count towards your program (which means you won't be starting from scratch). And depending on where you work, your company might even be willing and able to help front the cost of your degree program expenses.
You Don't Have to Make a Huge Commitment
This might be the biggest obstacle to overcome. Going back to school can have the appearance of being a huge two- or four-year commitment that's going to drain your time and energy. Instead, you can dip your toe in the water by just taking a class or two to start. See if the program and the curriculum are the right fit for you. If they're not, you're free to explore other options that will help you attain your personal and professional goals.
Are you currently going to school while holding down a full-time job? Tell us about it.
About the Author
Noël Rozny writes and edits the career and education blog, myPathfinder for myFootpath, a career and education resource for students of all ages. She also maintains the company's social media outlets, and is passionate about using these technologies to help students and job seekers alike find the degree program or career that's right for them. You can find her on Twitter at @myfootpath or @noelrozny.
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