By Marie Anderson
Many of us consider pursuing a degree when it's difficult to find a job during tough economic times. Why? Maybe it's to delay the job search until more opportunities are available. Perhaps it's to become a more attractive candidate for employers.
Make sure to research all of your options before you decide to commit your time and money
No matter the reason, one thing is for certain—going back to school is difficult for anyone who's been out of the mix for a few years. Make sure to research all of your options before you decide to commit your time and money.
Ask yourself the following questions. The answers will help you make the best decision for your situation.
things to consider...
life before, during, and after school:
- The most important thing you have to consider is this: what is your motivation for going back to school? Graduate school is a big commitment, so it's important to understand your goals. Do you want to switch careers altogether or simply learn more for personal achievement?
- Will you be able to balance a job along with going back to school, or will you have to quit? There are pros and cons to choosing either of these routes. If you quit your job, your earning potential obviously decreases, meaning you might have to take out loans to pay for school. On the other hand, you would have more time to focus on performing well in school. Weigh each option carefully, and consider alternatives like working part-time to balance both commitments.
Information on graduate testing
Is there a list of employers that offer tuition reimbursement?
According to this report, higher education = higher lifetime earnings.
- Could your current employer assist you with the cost of school? Some companies offer tuition reimbursement or have programs in which their employees can go to graduate school and work to pay off the tuition. Check with your employer to see if there are any similar opportunities available for you.
- What will the cost of living be if you do decide to give up your job to go back to school? How much will you have to pay for healthcare if you lose insurance coverage?
- Will you make more money in your chosen career once you have your graduate degree? You want to be sure that going back to school will ultimately benefit you and your career, not leave you at a financial loss.
applying to schools:
- What are the general requirements for getting accepted into graduate school? For many larger schools, the prerequisites for graduate school are a 3.0 GPA, a Bachelor's Degree, and English Language proficiency (plus letters of recommendation, adequate test scores, and a personal statement).
- Do you meet the admissions requirements for the specific program you are interested in? Some schools have minimum requirements for all graduate students, with varied (but often more rigorous) requirements for the individual programs.
- What is the cost of tuition? Do you qualify for scholarships that can decrease this cost?
Of course, requirements vary from school to school, so make sure that you check with the institution and program that you're applying to. Your best bet (after carefully reviewing the school's Website) would be to call the office of graduate admissions and schedule an advising appointment.