If you are ready to change your life, one of the first things many people consider is going back to school. Whether you would be earning an undergraduate degree for the first time, earning a secondary degree, or going on to graduate school, a return can create the change you are craving. It can be tempting to look for big changes, such as returning when you are unhappy with how your life is going. Time spent on education is never wasted, but there are some things you should consider before taking the plunge. If you are considering returning because you want to avoid certain things going on in your life, you can be sure those problems will still be facing you once you graduate. If, however, you want to continue your education so you can enter a different career, to follow a passion, or improve your quality of life, it is a smart choice. There are some questions to ask yourself when you are thinking of returning to school.
How Will You Pay?
Paying for school is always something to concern yourself with, but it should not stop you from getting the education you want. There are many different ways to pay for classes, including grants, scholarships, and loans. The financial aid office at your school can help you navigate these options. Most people will use a combination of methods to pay for school. Private loans are a great option because there is no borrowing cap. This allows you to borrow money to help with living expenses if you are cutting back work hours to attend school. Private student loans are typically generous, and if you have established some credit, or have some income, you could qualify without a cosigner.
What Will You Study?
If you have a clear idea of what you want to study, you are in a great starting position. If you just know you want a change, but are unsure what that involves, you may want to explore some options before enrolling in classes. Think of what you like about your current job, and where you see yourself in the future. Look at other people who seem to have interesting careers and consider whether those choices appeal to you.
What Will You Do with Your Degree?
Are you hoping to progress at your current workplace, or do you want to make a career change? There is no one right answer, but it is important to nail down exactly what you hope to happen when you get your degree. If you are burned out in your current situation, would a promotion be enough to renew your interest, or do you want to enter an entirely different field?
Is Your Life in a Place Where You Can Focus?
Whether you are working toward your undergraduate or graduate degree, balancing school and work can be a challenge. Be honest with yourself. Are you in a position where you can focus on school while still balancing the other aspects of your life? If you are nervous about making the transition, consider signing up for only one or two classes in the first semester. This allows you to develop a routine that balances work and school and you can see how taxing it is. You can add more classes the next semester if you feel comfortable doing so.