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How to Determine If Going Back to College Is Right for You

MVNU-Blog_How-to-Determine-if-Going-Back-to-College-is-Right-For-You“Should I go back to school?” It’s a big question, but it may be one worth asking. Going back to school as an adult can be one of the best decisions you make, but how can you be sure it is the right move for you right now? Weigh your options and determine if going back to college makes sense by answering these important questions.

Do You Want to Make a Career Change?

Think about your long-term goals and how you plan to achieve them. Are you happy with the trajectory your career is taking on its own, or do you want to make a change? Sometimes, going back to school is the perfect intervention you need to switch directions or level up your skills to qualify for your next position.

For example, if your eventual goal is to move into a management position in your field, you may need a new degree to qualify. According to Indeed, management roles typically require a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration or a field relevant to the specific department. Larger companies often require managers to have a Master's Degree in Business Administration.

You may also be considering changing career fields altogether. If so, you’re certainly not alone! In 2021, nearly 4 million workers quit their jobs every month. The changes and challenges of the last few years have caused many professionals to rethink their priorities and decide to stop putting their dreams on hold. If you want to move into a new career that you aren’t currently qualified for, then going back to school is a critical step in helping you achieve that goal.

What Prior Experience Do You Have?

If you are looking to make a change or take a step forward in your career, consider the education and professional experience you have already attained to determine how much schooling you’ll need to meet your goal.

For example, if you want to qualify for a career that requires a master’s degree and you don’t have any prior education, you can certainly go after that goal. You just have to be prepared to commit to earning multiple degrees to qualify.

Fortunately, many professionals are already part of the way there. For instance, if you already have a bachelor’s degree in your desired field, a master’s degree or a certificate may be all you need to boost your qualifications. And you can often complete a master’s program in two years or less.

If you don’t have any prior experience in your desired field, consider whether a bachelor’s degree is enough to get you in the door. In many cases, it is! You may be even closer to meeting your goal if you’re one of the 36 million Americans who have taken some college classes without obtaining a degree. Are you wondering how to go back to college after dropping out? Connect with the registrar’s office at the college you’re interested in attending to find out which of your credits will transfer. Then, talk to an academic advisor to see which of your transferred credits would count toward your degree program.

Will You Be Able to Make Time for College Courses?

As with any new undertaking, it’s wise to consider the time commitment of going back to school and how you will make it work with your schedule.

If you’re a full-time worker or parent, you may be asking yourself, “Should I go back to school at 30? 45? 55?” No matter your age or position in life, a program designed for busy adults will allow you to balance the program with your other responsibilities. There’s no need to put your life on hold to get your degree.

You can work at a pace that suits your abilities and your timeline, whether that’s taking one course at a time or choosing an accelerated program to finish faster. When it comes to class structures, asynchronous online courses offer the most flexibility because you can complete coursework whenever it fits your schedule, whether that’s in the evenings, early mornings, or on weekends.

Do You Have a Support System?

Going back to school can feel like a major life decision, and you may second guess whether you’re doing the right thing. Having a support system behind you every step of the way can help alleviate these concerns.

Discuss your thoughts about going back to college with those closest to you, including your partner, family, and close friends. A support system at home can help you maintain motivation in the face of challenges.

Whether or not you have a personal support system, you can still benefit from an education program that fosters community—especially one that caters to adult learners. You don’t have to attend classes in person to get to know your classmates. Some online programs make a great effort to connect students virtually so they can learn from and support each other. Along with support from fellow adult learners, you should also receive support from faculty and staff members who are invested in your success.

Can You Make It Work Financially?

It’s natural to be concerned about cost when you’re considering going back to school, but a college education isn’t just a cost—it’s an investment. Consider whether that investment will increase your earning potential, allowing you to achieve your personal financial goals.

You may also be able to offset the cost of your education through financial aid like grants and scholarships. Plus, you can finance at least part of your education through public and private student loans.

A 2019 study found that many adult learners are unfamiliar with financial aid jargon, making the process much more intimidating. Fortunately, there are experts at every college who can help you navigate the world of financial aid. Meet with a Student Financial Advisor to learn how you can make your education fit your budget.

Learn more about options for financing your education in The Ultimate Online College Guide.

Learn More About Achieving Your Educational and Career Goals

There are many reasons to consider going back to school to earn a degree. If you’re dealing with challenges that you fear will keep you from pursuing your goal, know that other adult learners face similar challenges. The right program will accommodate your needs, support you in achieving your goal, and make college fit your schedule and budget.

So now you’ve answered the question, “Should I go back to school?” Now, it’s time to start asking other important questions, such as “Where should I go to college?” 

going back to school, discover your options. the best online degree programs for working adults. Read now