Monday, January 4, 2010

4 Points to Consider When Deciding to Return to School

Since I returned to school to earn my doctorate in 2007, I'm occasionally sought out for advice on whether or not to seek an advanced degree after being away from the classroom for a number of years. Here are some points I considered during my decision making process that undoubtedly can help others at this same point in their lives.

  • Be very, very clear about your purpose in getting the degree. What do you want to learn? What are your objectives (e.g., increased earning potential, having a degree)? Are these objectives realistic given your skills, interests, age, and life circumstances?
  • What subject you want to study in support of the aforementioned objectives? Does advanced education in this area make sense? Or is a deeper dive into another subject better suited to your professional interests?
  • What options exist to study this subject? Degree programs, certifications, and/or workshops? Which is best suited for a) your interests; b) your preferred learning style; c) your schedule; and d) your budget? More importantly, which option do employers prefer in their hiring decisions?
  • Connect with program alumni you find through friends or colleagues. Ask if their education helped them further their career, and how.  

The significant investment you're making in professional development demands nothing less than the most serious consideration. Spend the time now to consider these points, among others relevant to your situation. You won't regret it. 

No comments: