Continuing Education: Is it Time?
There comes a point in everyone’s life where they ask themselves “Is it time to go back to school?” This is a decision that should never be taken lightly. Though there are many benefits to continuing your education and propelling your career, there are also risks and costs. Here are a few things to think about when deciding whether or not it is time to return to school:
Deciding if it’s Time
There is no guide to deciding whether it is time to go back to school, or if it is better to wait. There are however signs that may get you thinking about furthering your education. If you feel you are stuck in a rut, unable to move forward in your career, then it may be time to return to school. If you feel it is time for a career change and that your life goals have changed, it may be time.
One of the deciding factors that influence most people to return to school is the economy. With the value of careers constantly shifting, many are finding the career choice that was once sufficient, is no longer enough. If you find yourself spending more and making the same salary, or less due to cutbacks, that may be reason enough to return to school.
E-learning vs. Campus
The popularity of e-learning has grown, more so with single parents and those already in a career. With the convenience and accelerated learning of online courses, it appeals to many different situations that adults find themselves in. With that said you need to decide what will work better for you.
Learning online can be an excellent way to juggle classes, kids, and work. However it takes an exceptional amount of discipline to learn while you are at home and near so many distractions. Just like campus learning, classes online are full of assignments and deadlines. With the TV a few feet away, kids playing in the yard or your significant other pining for your attention, it can prove to be hard to learn at home. If you choose to learn at home, be sure to dedicate time to classes. Try avoiding distractions and make plans to limit those distractions. For example, send the kids to a babysitter or out with the other parent. Anything you can do to give yourself time and peace will increase your success.
Campus learning has always been the suggested way of taking classes. Sitting in an educational institution with other students can place you in the state of mind to learn. Having the convenience of collaborating with other students and the professor in the same room can help when you run into problems. Though the commute, expense and time involved with going to a campus can prove tedious, this is highly recommended for those who don’t have the discipline it takes to study at home.
Budgeting for the Expenses
College tuition is constantly on the rise. The costs you paid when you first went to college or even thought about attending college years ago are now much higher. When deciding to go back to school, budgeting for the extra cost can help save you stress and hardships while trying to learn. Through student loans and grants you can cover most of the expenses of tuition; however there are other costs that you must factor in.
College textbooks may be the largest expense you will have to cover. Buying used books rather than new textbooks can help save on the cost. With the popularity of e-readers, most textbooks are now available for purchase in PDF format. This can save you up to 60% off the normal price. With the PDF version you can carry it with you easier with an e-reader or tablet.
If you choose to attend a campus you will also need to factor in the cost of fuel. Gas prices are rising faster than tuition costs and can dent your budget considerably. You can cut a few extravagances out of your daily life to help fund the fuel cost and still keep your budget.
There are many benefits to furthering your education. A career change, promotion, or just securing your future can entice you to return to school. When you choose your path, be sure you are aware of the method and cost you will be facing. Only you can decide if it is time to further your education, but when the time is right for you, be sure to make the most of it.
London resident Samantha Hathaway is a financial consultant and a content contributor for Payday Loans, a company which helps you out with advance pay day loans when you need money before your paycheck comes in.