Tag Archives | return to school

Image by John Walker, Flickr

Image by John Walker, Flickr

Acquiring a graduate degree is one of the best ways to stand out from the competition while job hunting or transitioning into upper management. For those that are unsure of which degrees will have the highest return on investment, here is a closer look at six of the best options that should prove lucrative in the coming years.


Both graduate and undergraduate degrees focusing on finances have proven to be some of the best investments that students can make when it comes to their education. These degrees are incredibly flexible and will allow graduates to move into practically any field imaginable, including the private sector and public sector.


Biostatistics is a relatively new field that blends statistical analysis with biological systems. A major branch of this field is medical biostatistics in which professionals collect, track, and analyze data streaming from hospitals, clinical studies, and government research.

Information Science and Systems

One of the fastest growing fields within the technology sector is big data. As companies continue to produce vast amounts of data, they require specialists that can safely store and secure this information on-site and in the cloud. These careers often start with a six figure salary and have some of the highest satisfaction ratings.

Behavior Analysis

For those that want to work directly with children and adults with behavioral disorders, a Behavior Analyst Certification remains the best option for expanding their career. A graduate degree is one of the last steps before receiving state certification to becoming a professional counselor.


Students that are unsure of which field they would like to enter into or want to improve their chances of being promoted at their current job should consider a Master of Business Administration. Over the past decade, this has been the single most popular graduate program with upwards of 250,000 new graduates every single year.

Computer Engineering

There is no doubt that computer engineers will continue to be some of the most sought after specialists in the next few decades. Engineers currently have the option of carrying out hands-on research within a lab setting or working directly for private companies and public organizations to develop custom hardware and software.

The salary may never be an employee’s sole reason for picking a career path, but these six options are an excellent blend of long-term job growth, satisfaction scores, and high median wages.

This article was contributed by guest author Rachelle Wilber.

Image by nagzi, Flickr

Image by nagzi, Flickr

Returning to academia after an extended period can be a fairly difficult experience. For one, students do not get paid and that can mean doubling your workload. But whether you have been working or not, enrollment means a drastic change in schedule and a restructuring of your priorities. Yet, this is exactly what I decided to do a few years ago.

Let’s start at the beginning. I studied English in university for two and a half years before I had to drop out. It’s not that I was a poor student; my marks were decent. I dropped out primarily because of mental health issues. This was compounded by the fact that I had come to dislike my area of study as I progressed into upper year courses and the material became more and more focused.

While I dealt with my mental health issues, I found work through a temp agency doing unskilled labour jobs. I spent nearly four years working on and off at these types of jobs. It was very unfulfilling and that was part of my motivation for returning to school. I could not picture myself doing unskilled labour for the rest of my life. I wanted access to something more and a university degree would give me that. Yet, I did not really want to return to university. I feared the crippling debt I would have to incur in order to do so.

But in a choice between mundane work and debt, I chose the option that would enable a brighter future.

When I was healthy enough, I applied to my hometown university and fortunately I got in. University was my job now, and I took it very seriously. But if it was a job, it was one I lacked experience in. I had forgotten basically everything from my previous university experience. It is astounding how much one forgets in four years.

I didn’t remember how to take notes in class, let alone how to approach the first assignment I was faced with: a book review.

I made ample use of my professor’s office hours and the university’s writing centre just to get the basics down. Needless to say, I did not receive a great mark; however, it allowed me to take stock of the areas I needed to improve in. Apparently, I had forgotten the rules of grammar. It was re-learning this basic stuff that was the most difficult thing for me to do. It took many hours talking with professors and teaching assistants, combined with trial and error on my own part to sharpen my diminished skills.

That was the downside. There was considerable upside to returning after a long layoff. With my added years of life experience, my mindset had shifted considerably. I was no longer content to do just enough to get by. Instead, I wanted to put forth my best effort on every assignment. I was more driven to succeed because I was returning to school for a purpose, rather than attending university because it is simply what one does after high school. I wanted to be engaged in my studies rather than merely going through the motions.

This quickly began to show in my grades. I became more willing to seek assistance from my professors and from the university staff. I felt that these resources were there to help me after all and it turns out professors are generally nice people, especially if you are able to show that you have a genuine desire to learn.

I do not regret my decision to return to university for a minute. The monetary cost was high, but the education I have gained has equipped me with a variety of skills I did not have before and thus allowed me to expand my horizons beyond unskilled labour. I think the key to my success was that I took advantage of the resources and opportunities that my university provided. I urge every current student to do the same.

As a returning student, I know I had a lot of questions, so don’t be afraid to ask them. If you don’t know something, find someone who does and figure it out. It makes life at university so much easier. On a final note, depending on your situation, it might be best to ease your way back into school. You have the option to take one or two courses to begin. I took an 80 percent course load, and this helped me not to be overwhelmed by the experience.