Adult learners who are thinking about going to graduate school have a lot to consider. In addition to all a new degree can bring in terms of life satisfaction and increased pay, it is important to weigh the obstacles and the benefits when it comes to going back to school. Let’s take a brief look at both the concerns and the advantages that come with going back to school.
Graduate Degree: Potential Obstacles
Going back to school is expensive
This potential obstacle often stands out for those who are considering going back to school and getting their graduate degree. Working adults become nervous that they don’t have the additional income to put toward graduate school and convince themselves it just isn’t worth it. But here is something important to remember: Education is an investment. You are investing in yourself and your potential and what you are capable of achieving when it comes to your future.
And today, with government funding combined with scholarship opportunities, there are ways to make education affordable. Most colleges offer financial aid and will work with you to determine a payment system that doesn’t have to break the bank.
Life’s responsibilities: work, school, and family
Life is busy. It is that simple. Whether you’re working full-time (or even part-time) raising a family, running to the grocery store, picking the kids up from school, or even trying to find some free time for yourself, you have responsibilities that will not just stop when you decide to go back to school. And you’re probably wondering, ‘How would I add one more responsibility to that list?’
Here’s the good news: Flexible online learning. Schools today understand that today’s working adults are constantly moving and that making it into a classroom may not be realistic. That’s why online learning and accelerated degree programs have grown exponentially over the last 15 years. More and more adults are able to continue working their full-time job, spend time with their family and earn or advance their degree because of this learning model.
Fear of a graduate degree under-delivering
Many people also fear their degree will under-deliver, and that they will have spent time and money on something that won’t actually enable them to get the jobs or pay they were hoping for. Well-informed people need to do their due diligence in studying potential job outlook data and their prospective school’s career services department before enrolling in school. Understanding the types of jobs available and their potential pay will help you know if you’re making the right decision.
The good news is that while these fears are understandable and may make your life more difficult if you choose to return to school, there are a number of benefits that can significantly improve your life and ensure you’re happier than ever before. Given these benefits, it may be well worth it to face your fears.
Graduate Degree: Potential Benefits
Career change and new job opportunities
Your career is something you engage in (on average) 40 hours a week. That’s 2,080 hours a year. Shouldn’t you be doing something that you’re passionate about? The opportunity to engage in a much more fulfilling job and advance faster in your chosen field brings many people to school, and degrees open these doors all the time. Do your research. Like we mentioned earlier, find out which industries are growing and where there is great potential. Find out what makes you excited and can see yourself doing 40 hours a week.
Building a new skill set and increase your pay potential
New knowledge and new skills not only enable you to do different things during your day at work, they set the foundation for learning even greater skills and expanding your knowledge base for life. Making more, plain and simple, appeals to most people. It can drastically expand your quality of life, your ability to provide for your children and family, and pave the way to a satisfying and stress-free retirement.
We’ll leave you with this. Personal enrichment, which comes from your new knowledge and skills, is another compelling factor in returning to school. Your happiness spreads to those around you and can give you a true sense of pride an accomplishment that you can share with your closest family and friends. There is simply no substitute for enjoying your job.