Tag Archives | school

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If you’re preparing to return to school next year, you may be wondering where to begin. Fortunately, attending college at any stage of life has become more accessible than ever before. Although it’s an exciting adventure, choosing and funding your next stage in life is not fool-proof, and some careful planning is necessary in order to put you on the right course. Here are five ways to prepare to go back to school.

Choose Your Study Plan Carefully

The number of classes and degrees offered at colleges can be overwhelming. Simply getting a degree, unfortunately, does not always translate into gainful employment. More than a few students have pursued a plan of study they found compelling only to discover the classroom was the end of the adventure. Before laying down any tuition, create a list of the career fields you find most interesting and why. Be honest with yourself about your motivation, whether it be money, family benefits, or a higher calling. Use resources such as salary.com and the Bureau of Labor Statistics to research the prospects for your chosen field. If you’re able, spend time volunteering or shadowing others who already do the job, and be sure to ask pertinent questions about job outlook, salary, and job satisfaction.

Get Your House in Order

College is expensive, and not just in terms of cash. In addition to your current job commitments, you can expect to spend many hours a week studying and doing the required schoolwork. This added pressure can affect a person’s ability to manage their load, and being unprepared for it can collapse your efforts. Before registering for classes, be sure that your financial status is comfortable enough to allow for a reduction of work hours if necessary. If you’re caring for a family while attending classes, arrange for child care and “backup” sitters in advance that will reliably come to your rescue when school commitments overlap with other ones, as they invariably do.

Don’t Dismiss the Possibility of Grant Money

The notion that grants are only available to the very needy is an expensive misconception. There are millions of dollars in both federal and private grant money out there, a large portion of which goes unclaimed due to a lack of awareness. In fact, almost $3 billion in private funding was passed up by students in 2015. Before paying a cent in tuition, fill out your university’s student funding application. This will allow you to see what federal money may be available to you as a first-time college student, healthcare hopeful, tribal member, or any number of countless other qualifiers. At the same time, do an extensive online search of private school grants particular to your experience and personal field of study, and be prepared to write a few essays on your own behalf.

Consider Online Coursework

According to Independence University, online schooling has revolutionized the way people pursue higher learning. The traditional classroom has always been a barrier to adult students who have work or family obligations. The advent of the virtual classroom changed it all. There are a number of online-only colleges that offer a full range of associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees in business, healthcare, IT, and more. Most brick and mortar educational institutions offer many online classes as well, so that students can create the combination of classroom settings that work for their lives.

Compare Tuition Plans

The cost of college has gone up dramatically in recent years, so much so that the US is now the most expensive place in the world to attain higher education. This sobering fact makes price shopping more important than ever when preparing to return to school. Tuition actually varies widely between institutions, so do your due diligence when comparing the bottom line on your chosen program. If you’re aiming ultimately for a four-year degree, consider utilizing your local community college for up to half of the necessary credits at a sizeable cost savings.

College can be a daunting but exciting time in a person’s life. Remember, scholastic achievement is a marathon, not a sprint. It may be your most important investment in your future. Use your resources wisely and pace yourself according to your abilities to ensure success in your academic endeavors.

This article was contributed by guest author Lizzie Weakley.

Image by Jazmin Quaynor, unsplash.com

Image by Jazmin Quaynor, unsplash.com

Whether you are finishing up high school, going back to school after a break, or looking into a master’s, choosing the right school for you is tough. It’s a difficult enough decision when there’s only location for your degree program to consider, but with online schooling becoming more and more common, you now have online choices to add to the mix. There are several things to consider when you are looking at schools, and deciding what kind of education experience you want is the first decision to make. What are the pros and cons to traditional and online schooling?

Traditional School

The familiar choice of a traditional brick and mortar school is one that most people end up making. There are plenty of upsides to physically attending school. Sitting in a classroom allows you to interact face to face with your professor and fellow classmates, as well as take advantage of study groups and office hours. Getting to know your professors and classmates also makes for great networking opportunities, which is known to be important for finding work after college. You get the benefits of using on-campus facilities like the library, recreation center, and career center (among others) which are awesome resources for students. Being on campus also gives you plenty of socializing opportunities like joining clubs and participating in campus events.

Of course, with the positives come negative aspects. Having to choose from and attend classes on campus makes your schedule pretty inflexible, which can be difficult if you need to work. With all of the expenses of attending school, it’s necessary for many people to be employed while going to school, and not all jobs are willing to work with school schedules. Another demerit for brick and mortar schools is location. If your local school doesn’t have the degree you want to pursue, then you have to consider either changing your choice of major or moving to another city or state. That adds the extra expense of living on your own, whether on or off campus. While some students intend to do that anyway, the option to stay at home is a comforting one as the cost of school and the cost of living continue to rise.

Online School

While there used to be a negative stigma associated with getting a degree online, these days, millions of students actually prefer online school. Online school is becoming available with several accredited and established Universities, and the online option is an extension of the same degrees offered on campus. This is incredibly convenient for people who work full time or have families and need their school life to work around their schedule, and not the other way around. Online school is also a great option for people with anxiety, or people who don’t care about the social aspects of campus life. Nothing is worse than having to go all the way to campus during homecoming week when you could care less about football. Many people worry about not getting as good of an education taking classes online, but as long as you follow these tips for maintaining focus as an online student, there’s no reason why you can’t get a full and successful education. Learning to focus and succeed in online classes can develop your self-sufficiency skills, which are important in the working world.

Negatives to online education are probably covered by the positives of on campus learning. You miss out on live interaction with classmates and the professor during class. You won’t have all of the networking opportunities you may have gotten by being on campus and participating in academic and social activities, as well as clubs. The lack of face-to-face interaction with professors can hinder students who aren’t quite college ready and need more direction. Unless you are a part of an online program with a local university, you don’t have access to the various campus facilities that other students get. Also, you don’t get the chance to make school your main focus like those who study on campus and surround themselves by like-minded individuals in an academic environment.

Choosing whether on-campus schooling or online schooling is better for you can be a difficult decision to make, but when you take a look at your life situation and your personality, it can help lead you to a decision. As long as you put in the hard work that earning any degree takes, you can get a great education with either choice. Find what’s right for you, and do your best.

This article was contributed by guest author Mila Sanchez.