Sometimes the thought of going back to school can seem tedious, especially if it has been a while since your last formal education. You may have finished your first degree and started working or started a family or business. In such an instance, finding the motivation to head back to the classroom can be quite daunting.
While the decision will largely depend on your goals, I am going to take the liberty to say this: going back to school is not always about slapping the credentials on your CV or hanging up your certificate. It is also about the people you meet, the connections you make, the expansion of your mind etc.
For some people, a first degree is enough, while for others you need or would like that extra boost. If you fall into the second category and are thinking of going back to school, here are some things you should consider:
Know what you want
You don’t have to do a one or two-year masters degree. Shorter postgraduate courses arealso a good option. You could also check if the course you would like to do has a part-time option. Do an audit of where you are at the moment in life. If you can raise the money for a Masters program and have the time for a full-time course, then go for it. If not, know that there are other options and decide what works for you.
Research courses & schools
When you’ve decided on what works for you, research courses and schools. Don’t assume fromnames that you know what they’re all about. Courses may have similar names or even the same names at different schools but different requirements and subjects. Do the same for the school youwould like to attend as well and based on what is important to you e.g. ranking, hands-onexperience, location etc, take your pick. Check reviews from past students and see if you can find any on social media that you can reach out to. If you ask your questions politely, they will most likely oblige you.
Postgraduate courses can be very expensive, depending on the school and course. So it’simportant that you work towards this and put a financial plan in place. Will you take a loan and can you afford to make the monthly payments while being a student? Or will you take a part-time course so you can work full time and pay out of pocket? Is there a possibility for friends and familyto help out? Whatever path you take, don’t underestimate the cost, it’s not just tuition, there’saccommodation, transportation, feeding, phone bill, books etc. Make sure these are covered orthere’s a plan for them to be covered so that you can fully focus on your studies.
So what are the pros and cons of doing a postgraduate degree or course?
- Having a postgraduate degree or course on your CV may likely boost employability. Employees also like the idea that you’ve taken out the time for self-improvement and growth in knowledge.
- It will increase your knowledge considerably.
- It will improve your skill set, even if it’s in the same area as your degree.
- If you wanted to change or broaden your career horizon, a postgraduate course will you give you the opportunity to do this.
- The financial load can be quite heavy and it’s unadvisable to take on such a load if it will put you in considerable debt, especially if you’re unsure of how the money will be paid back.
- It’s a step up from a degree so, it will take a much higher commitment from you and you have to be ready to make the sacrifices for this.
- A higher commitment = less time for yourself.
If you eventually decide to embark on this journey, we wish you all the best!