Is returning to school right for you?


If you are thinking about going back to school you should ask yourself:

Why do I want to go back to school? 

Can I make the time and financial commitment to go back to school?

Is this the right time for me to go back to school?

Higher education can mean higher income.

According to the most recent U.S. Census Bureau report, the median annual income for individuals with a high school diploma was $27,915, and for a bachelor’s degree was $51,206. Individuals that did not have a bachelor’s degree were twice as likely to be unemployed as those who did.  Those employed without a high school diploma averaged a yearly income of $18,734. Individuals who earn a master’s or doctoral degree received an annual average of $74,602 or more than those with out a post-secondary degree. According to the College Board, over a lifetime, the gap in earning potential between the high school graduate and those holding a bachelor’s degree or higher can exceed $1 million.

Statistics project that 75 percent of future positions are expected to require at least some type of certification, licensure or degree. Many individuals are finding with advances in technology they need increase their knowledge and skills to stay competitive in the job market.

Financing your degree.

The cost or tuition will depend on what degree program you chose, what school you go to, and if you attend full-time or part-time.  You also need to consider the cost of books and materials, software, a computer if you don’t have one, and incidentals like parking.

There are many ways to pay for school.

  • Tuition assistance/reimbursement through your company
  • Scholarships and grants
  • Loans
  • Internships /work study

For more information on tuition assistance you can contact your human resource department or the school you are interested in attending.  You can  search on –line for government loan programs.

There are many options to going back to school.

You don’t have to attend a traditional college or university to obtain a degree.  A great way to start is by taking courses at a community college.  If you know what field of work you want to be in, a vocational/technical school may be a better fit than a university.  There are also many schools that have been established to provide curriculums and schedules designed for non-traditional students.

Many colleges and universities also provide programs for non-traditional students.  They offer campus childcare centers, flexible course scheduling. You can also obtain your degree at home. Many degree programs are offered online or through correspondence courses.

Try different resources to help you make an informed decision.

You should always directly contact the school or program to which you are interested applying. Ask lots of questions, there are no “dumb” questions. Fully employ the many on-line recourses to help in the decision-making process. If you know anyone currently in school, ask them about it. Their insight could be invaluable.