Should I Go Back to School?

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Are you thinking about going back to school? Over the past couple of years, I’ve noticed a lot of adults going back to school. This could be due to the economy which has forced many people out of work, the fact that they just want to better themselves or other reasons. Whatever reason you may have for going back to school, don’t rush your decision. There are a few things that you should consider.

1.    What do you want to gain from this? Are you going back to school because it’s a personal goal? Are you trying to change career fields and you need the education to do so? Whatever your answer is will help determine how you are going to approach this.

2.    Going back to school can be a big financial investment. Do your research and make sure you are comfortable with the monetary investment and potential payoff. I had a friend who was in a managerial role who decided to switch careers because it was always a dream of theirs to work in a specific field. He was laid off at the time so he thought it would be the perfect time to make the switch. He took the required classes and soon started in his new career. 6 months later, he was miserable because the new salary didn’t match the lifestyle he was accustomed to. He started a new career and had to work his way “back up the ladder”. He eventually went back to his old career.

3.    Do you have enough time? Many people don’t consider just how much time is required with going back to school. If you are looking to earn a degree, it may require a lengthy commitment. Are you going back to school on a part-time basis while working full-time? If so, it will probably take you longer than others. School isn’t just about taking classes. There are group projects, study time and homework that you have to focus on outside of the classroom. These things will conflict with your personal obligations such as work, friends and family, etc.

4.    Are there alternatives? Depending on your desired outcome, there could be other alternatives that are more affordable and time saving. For example, can you take specific classes or attend seminars to accomplish your desired outcome? I have several friends who try to learn something new each year. It pertains to their specific jobs, but they do research ahead of time once they decide what they want to learn/improve. Many times, they can reach their anticipated outcome by reading a few books.

Going back to school requires a commitment on various levels. Take your time with this decision. It may take a while to conduct the research, but you’ll be happier in the end knowing that you made the best possible decision and didn’t just “jump into it”.

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