• Tue, Oct 16 2012

Higher Education: 4 Things To Consider Before Going Back To School

Every fall, hordes of students grab their bookbags, their pens and pencils, and their (overpriced) textbooks and get ready to head back to school. Will you be one of them?

If you’re already in the job force but considering continuing your education, there are many things to think about in terms of the value and feasibility of going back to school. Here are four things to consider:

1. Cost
There’s no getting around it: school is expensive. Tuition is expensive, and so are textbooks, software, and anything else you may need for your classes. Consider whether you can afford to go back to school on your current salary, and be sure to talk to your company about whether or not they support employees going back to school. Some companies may even pay your tuition in full!

2. Return on Investment
Yes, school is expensive, but sometimes it’s worth it. Think about what your return will be on an investment in your education. Some career fields see significantly higher salaries for employees with Master’s or Doctorate degrees, and some require certain post-undergraduate education to move forward. If you can say that the benefits of a higher education outweigh the costs, you’re headed in the right direction.

3. Goals
Think about why you want to go back to school: Will it earn you a higher salary? Will it allow you to excel in your career? Will it set you apart from other job applicants? Consider your reasons for seeking a higher degree, and consider your goals for using your furthered education. If your potential degree will help you meet your goals, you should consider pursuing it.

4. Practicality
When all is said and done in terms of costs, return on investment, and goals, a decision about continuing education really comes down to: Is it practical? That is, even if you have the money for school and your education will eventually pay for itself and it will help you fulfill your goals, are you at a point in your life where you can dedicate the time and effort to continuing your education? All in all, this is the final line of fire in your education decision.

Deciding whether or not to continue your education is an important, and not at all uncomplicated, decision. Take into account these four considerations before making your final decision. 

Did you go back to school? How did you decide it was right for your career?

Sudy Bharadwaj is a co-founder and the CEO of Jackalope Jobs, a web-based platform that combines search, social networking, and the overall user’s experience to provide relevant job openings. Learn how Sudy and Jackalope Jobs obsess over job seekers by connecting with them on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

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