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In between searching for a new job and getting my own daughter ready for school- I've been thinking of going back to school myself to get my gradute degree. Came across this article thought I could share it.

Should You Go Back To School?

by David Perry, iVillage.com

You want to expand your knowledge and increase your wage-earning abilities. But sometimes just thinking about returning to school once you've spent time out of the classroom can be daunting. The fear of giving up income, time and independence keeps many from making the leap, even though further education often holds the key to career advancement and self-realization.

Some seek further expertise in the field they're already in. Some want to change directions entirely, while others hope to satisfy intellectual and creative needs that aren't being met elsewhere. We can often feel overwhelmed when facing the pros and cons of going back to school after life in the "real world." Here are some guidelines to help you decide.

Know what you want

College is the place to find yourself and experiment. Professional and graduate programs are not. If you can't tell yourself exactly why you want to return to school, you might be avoiding difficult career choices or decisions elsewhere in your life.

Think about where you want to be in a year, 5 years, 10 ... at retirement age. School might not be the best way to get there, or you might want to wait. Create lists of long-term and short-term goals and prioritize. If money and time with friends and family appear at the top of your short-term list, wait or work individual classes into your schedule. If career satisfaction is a high priority and you'll need new skills to achieve it, invest in education now to maximize returns later.

If you're not sure what you want, go part time or take a few classes. And talk to people who have the job you want or think you want. Find out their educational background. Do research online on different careers and the usual requirements. But don't enroll in an expensive and time-consuming program as a first step. There are better ways to find yourself.

Find out how to get what you want

Once you've made up your mind to return to school, study your options. Experts and people who have successfully returned can be helpful, but be careful of talking to everyone. All the differing opinions can confuse things further. Stick with 5 to 10 people you respect. And at this point, an expert's advice is probably better than a best friend's.

You have your choice of community colleges, online and correspondence courses and other part-time options as well as traditional colleges and graduate programs, so the chances of finding a good match are excellent. Night courses and intensive short-term courses provide even more options and flexibility for the returning student.

Call and schedule appointments with guidance counselors and professors before dropping money on application fees. Remember: Schools want you -- without students, they are nothing. Just as in the working world, if you can present yourself as a boon to the program, you'll go far.

The key to increasing your knowledge is knowledge -- do the research before taking the big tests and spending the big money. Begin with the more general information, using any and every available source, from the Internet to annual surveys by business publications such as U.S. News & World Report, then home in on the more specific sources, such as professionals working in your area or instructors and professors in the discipline you're interested in. Of course, the more informed and knowledgeable you are before talking to experts, the more useful and specific information you'll get in return.

Know what you can do

Think you're not ready for the rigors of academia? More than likely, you're better prepared than you think. The discipline and skills you learn in the working world are fully transferable to the classroom. In fact, that discipline can give you an edge over those coming straight from college. Schools know this, so use it as a selling point.

Make a list of what you do well already and another list of what you hope to learn to do well. General workplace skills -- organizing, communicating, working independently and in groups, attention to detail, problem-solving and so on -- are also key to academic success.

You'll be surprised at how well prepared you are for the rigors of academia, not only because you have the general skills needed to be successful in the workplace, but often because of skills specific to your job, even if you're hoping to do a career 180 and leave your accountant's life to pursue painting. Artists need to sell their work in the marketplace, after all, and business savvy doesn't go out of fashion. By the same token, if you want to abandon your MFA for an MBA, you're likely to find that your ability to think conceptually and outside the box will serve you well in today's new economy business world.

In other words, don't sell yourself short. Focus, planning and organization are key -- and if you've made it working, you can make it in school.

Know what you can do without

Often, the greatest fear returning students face is loss of immediate income. Even with funding, grants and savings, full-timers are looking at leaner years. Unless you expect to make lots of money once you're done, be careful of borrowing too much against an uncertain future. If quality of life and a certain level of income are important to you, consider part-time study along with a steady job.

And there are trade-offs beyond money. Either way you'll have less time for family, friends and leisure. Once again, decide beforehand what your priorities are, be prepared to make sacrifices, and don't overcommit.

Strike a balance

It's easy enough to say that education is a long-term investment and is worth short-term inconveniences. It's also easy to forget that under pressure. By setting clear goals for yourself ("I want to earn my MBA by the time I'm 45"), taking time to do research before committing and managing your time, you can strike the balance that will make education work for you and do what it's supposed to do: help you realize your dreams and live a full, well-rounded life.

 
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Originally Posted by shoediva In between searching for a new job and getting my own daughter ready for school- I've been thinking of going back to school myself to get my gradute degree. Came across this article thought I could share it.
Should You Go Back To School?

by David Perry, iVillage.com

You want to expand your knowledge and increase your wage-earning abilities. But sometimes just thinking about returning to school once you've spent time out of the classroom can be daunting. The fear of giving up income, time and independence keeps many from making the leap, even though further education often holds the key to career advancement and self-realization.

Some seek further expertise in the field they're already in. Some want to change directions entirely, while others hope to satisfy intellectual and creative needs that aren't being met elsewhere. We can often feel overwhelmed when facing the pros and cons of going back to school after life in the "real world." Here are some guidelines to help you decide.

Know what you want

College is the place to find yourself and experiment. Professional and graduate programs are not. If you can't tell yourself exactly why you want to return to school, you might be avoiding difficult career choices or decisions elsewhere in your life.

Think about where you want to be in a year, 5 years, 10 ... at retirement age. School might not be the best way to get there, or you might want to wait. Create lists of long-term and short-term goals and prioritize. If money and time with friends and family appear at the top of your short-term list, wait or work individual classes into your schedule. If career satisfaction is a high priority and you'll need new skills to achieve it, invest in education now to maximize returns later.

If you're not sure what you want, go part time or take a few classes. And talk to people who have the job you want or think you want. Find out their educational background. Do research online on different careers and the usual requirements. But don't enroll in an expensive and time-consuming program as a first step. There are better ways to find yourself.

Find out how to get what you want

Once you've made up your mind to return to school, study your options. Experts and people who have successfully returned can be helpful, but be careful of talking to everyone. All the differing opinions can confuse things further. Stick with 5 to 10 people you respect. And at this point, an expert's advice is probably better than a best friend's.

You have your choice of community colleges, online and correspondence courses and other part-time options as well as traditional colleges and graduate programs, so the chances of finding a good match are excellent. Night courses and intensive short-term courses provide even more options and flexibility for the returning student.

Call and schedule appointments with guidance counselors and professors before dropping money on application fees. Remember: Schools want you -- without students, they are nothing. Just as in the working world, if you can present yourself as a boon to the program, you'll go far.

The key to increasing your knowledge is knowledge -- do the research before taking the big tests and spending the big money. Begin with the more general information, using any and every available source, from the Internet to annual surveys by business publications such as U.S. News & World Report, then home in on the more specific sources, such as professionals working in your area or instructors and professors in the discipline you're interested in. Of course, the more informed and knowledgeable you are before talking to experts, the more useful and specific information you'll get in return.

Know what you can do

Think you're not ready for the rigors of academia? More than likely, you're better prepared than you think. The discipline and skills you learn in the working world are fully transferable to the classroom. In fact, that discipline can give you an edge over those coming straight from college. Schools know this, so use it as a selling point.

Make a list of what you do well already and another list of what you hope to learn to do well. General workplace skills -- organizing, communicating, working independently and in groups, attention to detail, problem-solving and so on -- are also key to academic success.

You'll be surprised at how well prepared you are for the rigors of academia, not only because you have the general skills needed to be successful in the workplace, but often because of skills specific to your job, even if you're hoping to do a career 180 and leave your accountant's life to pursue painting. Artists need to sell their work in the marketplace, after all, and business savvy doesn't go out of fashion. By the same token, if you want to abandon your MFA for an MBA, you're likely to find that your ability to think conceptually and outside the box will serve you well in today's new economy business world.

In other words, don't sell yourself short. Focus, planning and organization are key -- and if you've made it working, you can make it in school.

Know what you can do without

Often, the greatest fear returning students face is loss of immediate income. Even with funding, grants and savings, full-timers are looking at leaner years. Unless you expect to make lots of money once you're done, be careful of borrowing too much against an uncertain future. If quality of life and a certain level of income are important to you, consider part-time study along with a steady job.

And there are trade-offs beyond money. Either way you'll have less time for family, friends and leisure. Once again, decide beforehand what your priorities are, be prepared to make sacrifices, and don't overcommit.

Strike a balance

It's easy enough to say that education is a long-term investment and is worth short-term inconveniences. It's also easy to forget that under pressure. By setting clear goals for yourself ("I want to earn my MBA by the time I'm 45"), taking time to do research before committing and managing your time, you can strike the balance that will make education work for you and do what it's supposed to do: help you realize your dreams and live a full, well-rounded life.

I highly encourage you to go back to school in light of all of the above things mentioned. It adds a few figures to any salary and it provides a HUGE sense of satisfaction and accomplishment.If I can help you in any way, let me know! I know a lot about the entire process.

T/c



 
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Thanks so much Cali, yes I am really considering it even if I got to get more student loans! The sense of accomplishment is great but what motivates me the most is my daughter looking upto to her mommy!

 
Joined
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Originally Posted by shoediva Thanks so much Cali, yes I am really considering it even if I got to get more student loans! The sense of accomplishment is great but what motivates me the most is my daughter looking upto to her mommy! Who says she doesn't already!?!!
 
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