Are you thinking about pursuing higher education? In today’s economy, there are a significant number of adults going back to college, but if you’re considering making the commitment yourself, you need to be sure that it’s the right choice on a financial, emotional, and professional level. Below are a set of questions that you might want to ask yourself when evaluating whether going back to college is indeed a smart decision for you.
Why Do You Want to Go Back to School?
What are you hoping to accomplish by enrolling in an online school? Do you want to change careers or advance in your current position? Adults going back to college need to make sure that the degree they’re pursuing will actually help them land that job they’re eyeing. They also need to be sure that the degree will increase their marketability to employers, arm them with valuable skills, and provide them with a worthwhile return on investment (ROI).
If you’re going back to college, make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons. Being bored or unsure about where you’re going in your professional life may not be wise enough motivations to go ahead and invest thousands of dollars in a degree.
Can You Afford to Go Back to School?
Generally speaking, the higher the education, the higher the salary, but earning a degree certainly isn’t cheap. Can you afford to pay for online classes with the income from your current job? Think long and hard about whether going back to college is worth the expense, and do your research when it comes to finding scholarships, grants, and loans to help with paying your tuition and fees.
Also, be sure to inquire with your employer as to whether they provide tuition reimbursement as part of their benefits. Many organizations offer tuition reimbursement, because they realize that adults who go back to school obtain knowledge and skills that allow them to succeed in the workplace. You could potentially save thousands of dollars by having your employer reimburse part or all of your tuition.
Are Your Friends and Family Supportive?
Adults going back to college have to face the fact that things will change at home and in their social life because of their new commitments. Communicating with your friends and family and asking them for their support is essential if you’re thinking about going back to school, because your decision will also impact their lives. For instance, if you have a family, you may need to find childcare help. You’ll also need to set boundaries and ask your loved ones to respect your study time, so you can get your schoolwork done without interruption.
Do You Have Time for This Commitment?
This is perhaps the most important question. Going back to college is a huge commitment, and adult learners have tons of responsibilities as it is, such as a full-time job, children, mortgage, elderly parents that need to be cared for, and household chores. Do you have enough time to devote to reading, studying, and attending class? And if you enroll in an online degree program, will you still have enough time to hang out with your family and fulfill your responsibilities at work?
Going back to college is a fulfilling experience that has the potential to increase your salary and job prospects. Nevertheless, returning to school is a serious investment of time and money, so know what you’re getting into and examine all of the options available to you before taking the plunge.