Should You Go Back To School?

Should You Go Back To School?

Deciding to go back to school can be overwhelming and stressful. As you try to choose the best path for you, your family, and your future, you have a great deal to consider. The wrong choice could cost you time, money, or a successful future. Before you decide to go back to school, learn more about the benefits and drawbacks of the endeavor.

Why You Might Want to Go Back to School

Here are a few reasons people often choose to return to school. If you fall under one of these categories, it might be worth going back for an advanced education.

Career Switch

Do you have a dream of switching careers? If so, there’s a good chance you need to return to school. Look into the education requirements of your desired career. Then, determine which schools or programs you can attend to pursue your dreams.

Career Improvement

Sometimes, the only way to move forward in your career is to go back to school. If you can’t advance without a degree, you should look into your education options.

Become an Entrepreneur

You might have dreams of ditching your employer and working for yourself. In some industries, this is possible with no additional education. But in other industries, you may not be able to branch out on your own without returning to school.

More Money

Usually, a college or advanced degree brings more earnings. While this isn’t always true, it’s pretty common for employers to pay their employees with degrees more than they pay those with no degrees. You can do the math to see if it’s worth you going back to school.

Staying Relevant

As technology advances, new courses and programs develop at schools. You may want to go back to school to stay relevant or to be at the forefront of an industry. Regardless of your age, you can remain in the know.

When Shouldn’t You Go Back to School?

Although there are many reasons to return to school, there are just as many reasons not to. If you’re only going back to school because you feel like everyone around you is, then you should rethink your decision. You might be earning just as much as other people with advanced degrees, or you could be just as educated as them.

Additionally, you shouldn’t go back to school if you feel as if your employer is pressuring you to do so. If your heart isn’t in it, you won’t enjoy the experience. You’re more likely to be resentful and to burn out. In this case, your best option may be to find another job with a less demanding employer.

Money and time also play a factor in your decision. If you don’t have much free time or you can’t afford the bills, don’t try to go back to school. There’s no need to put the pressure on yourself because you can always choose to go back to school at another time. In the end, you need to think about what’s right for you in the moment. For instance, you could have a young baby at home. You may want to wait until the child is older and until life calms down to juggle work and school.

What Challenges are Waiting for You?

If you have a valid reason to return to school, you still need to think about the path that lies ahead. There are many challenges waiting for you, and you should be aware of those challenges before you begin your journey. Here are a few obstacles you may encounter:

Lack of Funds

Advanced education is costly. In addition to paying your tuition, you need to pay for textbooks and interest on your loan. If you need to cut your work hours to complete school, you also have the burden of a lower paycheck. And unless you attend school remotely, you have gas and food expenses to consider. You might also need to pay for childcare.

Lack of Time

It’s hard enough working a full-time job. When you add a college course on top of that, you get mission impossible. People who work full-time and take courses need to juggle more than the average person. If you don’t create a schedule and stick to it, you could fail. Make sure you have the time to do both.

Lack of Jobs

If you’re going back to school for a new career, consider how you will find a job when you finish the coursework. In some fields, it’s nearly impossible to find work without having experience. Long before you sign up for classes, look into the career outlook. Is it a high-demand career? Can you get a job with no experience? If not, start looking into internships or other ways to enter the field.

Resources for Going Back to School

If you decide to return to school, there are a few resources you should take advantage of. Today, there are many adult learners and programs tailored to adult learners.


For those worrying about the cost of advanced education, grants are available. You can look into grants from the Department of Education, nonprofit organizations, and colleges. While most grants are small, you can apply for multiple grants and use them to pay for your education.

Federal Loans

Another way to offset the cost of your education is to use government loans. For instance, Federal Direct Stafford Loans and Federal Direct Consolidation Loans could help you. If you have questions, you can speak to someone from your local college.

Childcare Support

Depending on your income level, you may be eligible for low-cost childcare. Check into programs like Head Start and Early Head Start. Even your employer may offer some childcare assistance.

Speak to Your Employer

Your advanced education could benefit your employer. If you discuss your plans with them, they might be willing to help in one way or another.

Are You Ready?

If you decide it’s time to go back to school, don’t hesitate. Your education could lead to a new career path, more money, and a better future. Once you finish your coursework, use your new degree or certification to attain your goals.

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