Returning to grad school after working for a while might seem scary. Will you remember how to be a student? Can you handle the courses? How will getting a master's degree fit into your current life? How will a master's degree fit into your future career plans? Do you have to put your career on hold while earning a graduate degree? So many questions.
Don't feel as if you're alone in your new venture. Nearly half of your fellow classmates will probably be non-traditional students like you—over 25 with families and at least some work experience under their belts. And about one-fifth of your fellow students may be career-changers—35 to 40 years old and ready for an advanced education.
Working at being a student. You already know you'll have to study and complete your work—duh. Ask a few current students (your own kid, perhaps?) what they do to ensure success in school. These students don't have to be getting graduate degrees—all levels of school require the same set of skills and dedication.
Can you handle the courses? If you're worried about any aspect of your coursework, hire a tutor. Don't be embarrassed because you need some brushups. Think of it as helping a fellow student out with a little money and teaching experience.
Fitting grad school into your life. Be disciplined. Plan ahead. Say no to extra obligations. Ask for help from your family, friends, and college professors. Prioritize graduate school and you'll finish your masters degree on time.
Future career opportunities. When you first step foot in graduate school, a better job may seem distant. Two or three years goes by fast so enjoy your time in college and keep dreaming of the career on the other side.
Should you quit your current job? Ideally, you would quit your job and devote all your time to studying, taking courses, and generally living the footloose lifestyle of a graduate student. In reality, that probably won't happen. Consider taking a part-time or flex-time job in your career field while you're in school, but don't get a job flipping burgers—that won't help your resume.
Getting a masters degree after being in the workforce won't be easy, but it's well worth the time and effort in terms of both money and career advancement. You'll quickly find that being a student is easier than you remember, that you can handle all the coursework, and that a graduate degree fits into your life and future nicely.
Read more about how masters degrees improve your career options, or study up on online grad school masters programs via accelerated learning and distance education.
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