• Will the added credential really make you more desirable to employers?
• Is there any other way you can move forward in your career without the degree? It is important to be sure that the degree you choose to go back to school for will really enhance your job prospects upon completion of the program. Many people go back to school and get an advanced degree only to find that potential employers would rather see steady work history as opposed to another degree. How will you pay for it? • Will you be able to receive grants or scholarship funds—which do not need to be repaid—or will you need to take out loans?
If you do have to take out student loans, you want to be sure that the investment is worth it. If you also took out loans for your undergraduate education, you want to check to be sure that you are able to borrow more. Student loans have a maximum amount that you can borrow. If you are employed, check to see if your employer provides tuition reimbursement. What will you study? If you majored in a field of study during your undergraduate years that didn't yield good results after graduation, it is important to really evaluate your intended graduate degree choice. • Is there a degree program that is related to your undergraduate major which can teach you more practical skills?
• Does the program require an internship that will give you hands-on experience?
• What are the job prospects for your new degree programs? Research the types of jobs you want to have to see what is actually required for them. Do you have the time? After completing an undergraduate degree, most people do not have the luxury of attending school full-time. Even if you did not find a job in your chosen field, you may still need to work a full-time job to pay your bills. • How much time can you really devote to doing a new degree program?
• Will you attend full or part-time? Sometimes with a new program it’s good to start off slow to see what you can realistically handle and then add on courses as time permits. It’s not always easy to make the transition from college to full-time employee. It may even be disheartening to work a job completely unrelated to your chosen field. It is important that you make the choice to get an advanced degree for the right reasons. If it will only create more debt for you and still leave you unmarketable, then don’t do it. If, on the other hand, it will further your career, or open up new employment possibilities then get started on your graduate school applications as soon as possible.