Each year, thousands of Americans decide to enroll in graduate programs part-time. The faltering economy and uncertain job forecasts lead ever-increasing numbers of adults to pursue post-baccalaureate degrees. If you are thinking about going to grad school while working part-time, there are some academic, financial and family considerations to keep in mind:
Academic Factors – This is the area that most people think about initially when considering going back to school. The problem is that individuals often romanticize their undergraduate experience and forget the hard work that it took to complete the coursework. Be prepared to address the following questions:
• Do you know what your intended program requires?
• Have you taken the GREs or other standardized tests that may be necessary before you apply?
• Are you realistic about the time that it will take to complete your assignments?
Financial Considerations – Additional education may help to boost your salary in the long run, but, in your situation, is there an immediate benefit to going back to school? Before you shell out the cash for grad school, think about the following:
• How will you finance your graduate school education? Take a look at this article on how much grad school costs and some of the options that can help you afford it.
• Will your employer cover any of the costs?
• Have you factored in incidental costs (extra gas, books, etc.)?
Personal/Family Considerations – Graduate school can take a toll on your personal life. Assess your family situation and ask yourself:
• Are you in a relationship that may suffer due to the increasing demands that grad school will place on your time?
• How is your health? Do you have the stamina required to both work and go to school?
• Are you prepared to sacrifice participating in special events and/or other family occasions due to school demands?
Going to graduate school while working can be a difficult challenge. Before you commit to a program, examine the whole picture and be prepared to ask yourself the hard questions.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Sia Knight’s story is one of triumph in the face of adversity and achievement against all odds. This former teacher, counselor and administrator has transcended humble beginnings to become an educational specialist in the nation’s 13 largest school division. As a child growing up in a southern Virginia public housing development, Sia could have easily followed the destructive path of many of her peers. Instead, with the encouragement of strong mentors, she managed to achieve both academically and professionally. Today, Sia Knight dedicates her time to helping parents and students make sense of the college admissions process.
Sia Knight can be found at http://www.SiaKnight.com and @SiaKnight on Twitter