There are numerous reasons for choosing to go back to college or for choosing to go to college for the first time. In this day and age, there is an increased focus placed on the importance of a college education. For many adults, this means that going to college for their first degree will improve the job opportunities that are available to them. For others, it may mean going back to college to get a graduate degree, such as an MBA or Ph.D.
Before you make the decision to go back to college, however, there are a few questions to ask yourself. The answers to these questions will help you determine why you’re going back to school and what your ultimate goals are.
1. What are your short-term life goals? Where do you see yourself in 5 years? These goals are going to be the easiest for you to predict and may include improving your position with your current employer or changing your career altogether after receiving your first degree. These goals must be thoroughly thought through, as they are not always the easiest to obtain without proper planning.
2. What are your long-term goals? Where do you want to be in 10 years? Although short- term goals are easier to predict, long-term goals are often easier to achieve. Long-term goals require much more patience and planning than short-term goals. If you’re an adult going back to college and you intend to obtain a Bachelor’s and an MBA, for instance, you’ll be going to school for quite a long period of time and will need to carefully consider your options.
3. Is now the right time for you to go back to school? Although there are numerous night and online classes that you can take, you will definitely need to consider what you will do when the time comes for you to take daytime classes. Inevitably, this often becomes a necessity, depending on your degree plan. Is your work and home life going to allow you to go back to school and give it the necessary amount of attention it will
require from you in order to succeed? Are you ready to commit yourself to a program and stick to it? If not, you’ll have a hard time juggling life and your educational goals.
4. Will a continuing education program achieve your goals? In many cases, you may not need to go back to school full-time. Rather, you may be able to find a continuing education program that will meet both your short-term and long-term goals. On the other hand, programs that do not meet your needs will only be a waste of time and money.
5. How will you pay for college? As an adult, there may be some financial aid available
to you. Depending on your current income, you may not be able to expect much from the government. You will need to create a plan as to how you will pay for your education
and whether or not you will take out student loans. You will also need to develop a plan for how those loans will be paid back in a timely manner. You don’t want student loans haunting you for the rest of your adult life.
Finally, an adult going back to college or going to college for the first time needs to determine if they have enough support to be successful in meeting their goals. You can only achieve these goals by making some sacrifices in life. This may mean missing your child’s football game because you have a night class. If you are married, you may have to make more adjustments to your life, and the support of your spouse will be a necessity. They must support you in your goals and help you ensure that you are able to maintain your responsibilities to the family as well as your educational responsibilities. You must both have the same goals, and they must be willing to help you work towards them while you go to school.
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