Are you thinking about going back to school? Here are a few
suggestions that may help you make up your mind.
Does your employer have tuition reimbursement as an
employee benefit? This is one of the most underutilized
benefits used by workers. Use it to your advantage. Some
companies pay 100% of the cost, some a fixed percentage.
Most require a certain grade, usually C or better, for
reimbursement. Many companies ask that the course (or
degree) be job- related…in other words, something that
will help you do better in your present position. These are
important details to check before you sign up.
Is your family willing to support your efforts? To do your
best, you need to have the backing of the people closest to
you. If they know this is an important goal to you, they are
more likely to pitch in and help with dinner, watching kids,
or being quiet while you do homework on weekends. Get their
commitment before you begin a program. Getting it in
writing isn’t a bad idea, either. It’s a great, gentle
reminder for when they conveniently forget…
Are you ready to forego some spring days working or
playing outside to work on papers or finish readings? It’s
a short-term trade-off that has long-term implications...for
you and all your family members. It also sets a good example
for other students in your family, like your children.
Is your employer going to back you? Can you use the
department computer at work to draft a paper? If you have
free time on the job, is it okay to study? Or must this be a
before- or after- work excursion? How about working through
lunch hours to finish an assignment? Will this be
acceptable? Or must you perform all student functions on
your own time?
Are you absolutely positive that you will give the
course/program the time and effort it takes to do your best?
Most courses will not refund tuition after a certain point
in the semester. Be sure that you are committed to
completing everything that you start.
Is your life in balance enough that you can give
schoolwork your undivided attention? If not, perhaps you
should delay enrolling for a better time (but knowing full
well that there is no perfect time!).
If you’re thinking, "But in four years, I’ll be
55…" then ask yourself, "How old will you be in
four years anyway…and without the credentials?" Look
upon this as an adventure and an investment in your
If you’re wondering, "Will this really help me do
my job any better?"…The answer is a definite YES! You
will never be the same person after you expand your learning
base. People will look at you differently and you’ll even
look at yourself in a new way. Besides the content you’ll
gain, you’ll meet some interesting colleagues, shake up
your reasoning skills, garner insight from others’
experiences, and extend your frame of reference. Learning
doesn’t have to be immediately applicable (although
that’s nice) to be beneficial. Like a rubber band, once
you’ve stretched yourself, you’ll never be the same
again…you’ll be better!