Going back to school is a dream that many people have, nowadays. There are many reasons for this. For some people, they may not have even pursued higher education in the first place (not that there’s anything wrong with that), others may have left school to pursue a job opening or family goals, and others still may have gotten their degree in a field that isn’t bringing them the happiness or success that they crave.
Regardless of the reason, going back to school can be a great way to shift the current priorities of your life, but it has many drawbacks of whether it is feasible financially or timewise. Here are questions you should be asking yourself before you go back to school…
Will It Let Your Pursue a Career That Makes You Happier?
First of all, consider the reason that you are going back to school. One of the most valid reasons to go back to school is because it will enable you to get a job in a field that brings you far more happiness.
This happiness can come in different forms. Maybe you got a degree in accounting, but find that you hate the day-to-day work more than anything else and want to switch to a career where you can use your hands more. In this example, happiness comes from a desire to enjoy the actual work being done. Other times, getting a degree to work in a more lucrative industry may help bring happiness in the form of additional income. Consider what happiness looks like to you, and whether going back to school is a realistic way to achieve that happiness.
Does It Make Financial Sense?
Unfortunately, the biggest roadblock to going back to school for most people is whether or not it is financially viable. There’s no getting around it, school is expensive. Aside from medical debt, student debt is one of the most common forms of debt that drive people to declare bankruptcy. For some career paths, though, it’s simply not realistic to break into specific industries without an applicable degree. The good news, though, is that there are several key cost-saving measures to consider, listed below.
Is There an Online Option?
When you go back to school, you’re paying a premium price for instructors, buildings, facilities, amenities, additional staff, potential housing, and lots more. Online schooling options are able to cut out a lot of extraneous costs because there are fewer upkeep and startup costs per class, and thus they tend to be significantly less expensive than attending school on a physical campus. So you should consider if there is an online option that makes sense for the degree you are seeking to attain.
Is a Tech School Right?
People’s idea of higher education is often tied to a traditional 4-year college, but this isn’t the only option. Tech schools provide fast-tracked programs to work in a variety of advanced trades and technical industries. They are also available for a fraction of the price, and can almost always be done in less than two years, if not 6 months. This makes tech school a more affordable and realistic option for many people.
Will Your Work Pay for Your School?
Another way to make the option of going back to school more financially feasible is to see if your work is willing to help you pay the cost of attaining a higher degree. If you are going back to school to further excel in your current career field, then your employer has a vested interest in your training. Some companies already have programs set up to help their employees do this, but if that doesn’t currently exist, it might be worth starting a dialogue with your employer to see if that is a possibility.
Can You Learn the Same Skills Outside of School?
While higher education is a terrific way to develop an understanding of complex concepts and get training in many fields, there are some industries where you can get equal or superior training by learning on the job. If this option is open to you, you should do a quick cost-benefit analysis to determine if your specific goals are better met by jumping right into the field you want to work in, rather than going to school first.