How to go Back to School as a Working Professional
We all know the world of work changes very quickly. A university or college degree is no longer enough to sustain you through a 40-year career – you have to keep learning!
Does going back to school seem daunting to you? It doesn’t have to be. Here are my six tips to help you return to school while keeping your day job and your sanity!
1. Be realistic about your goals.
Begin by defining your educational goals. Are you looking to change careers, obtain a professional certification, gain new perspectives and ideas, or impress a potential employer? Be honest with yourself about how much time, energy and money you have to spend to achieve your educational goals. Remember that your educational goals have to fit with your lifestyle needs.
2. Do your research.
There are many courses, programs, and degrees geared towards working professionals. Focus on learning opportunities that fit with your educational goals. Will you have time to do assignments and to study for exams, or does a participation-based workshop work better for you? Perhaps an online program will work best with your schedule. Once you have identified a few options, don’t hesitate to contact the program advisor to get more information.
3. Get buy-in from your employer.
Many programs for working professionals enable you to bring your work assignments and experience into your coursework. Your employer will directly benefit when you continue your education. Check to see if your organization offers educational benefits or other support and funding.
4. Plan your time wisely.
Figure out how much time you will need to spend on your coursework and block that time in your schedule. Some people like to do a bit each day, and others prefer blocking larger amounts of time. Find out what works for you.
5. Try new things and incorporate technology.
If it has been a while since you have been in the classroom, what worked for you in the past may not work for you now. Don’t be afraid to experiment with technology. There are many apps that can help you organize yourself, take notes, and collaborate with your classmates.
6. Stay focused and reward yourself.
This will not always be easy. When times get tough, remember why you set these educational goals. Be proud that you are investing in yourself, and celebrate small and large successes.
Good luck in achieving your goals!