The Basics

Getting a new degree

The hope for a majority of employees is to move up in their chosen career. It only makes sense, right? You've put in the time, quality time, at your job, and now it's time to start that upward creep toward promotion or advancement. But something is holding you back—the degree. It's time to go back to school, and that can be a hard decision for a variety of reasons. A degree or a certification, however, might just make the difference when it comes to the next promotion, so it's time to put a plan into motion. It's time to hit the books.

Applying to college after you've already started your career is not that unusual. Schools take into consideration that not every college freshman is 18-years-old, straight out of high school, with little or no job experience. It's possible, especially at a community college, that you will find a cohesive group of students in this same position that will offer support as you work towards completing your degree. You may even find some time to socialize with your new crew. Too much? Maybe, but you should focus on finding other students who would be willing to create a study group to help you manage your workload and work schedule.

College administrators understand that not all students will live on campus, have time to take classes during the day, or have the finances to spend oodles of money on books and supplies. There are alternatives offered that should make the transition from employee to employee/student much easier.

  • Commuter lounges offer a place for students without on-campus housing to relax and study. Many of these lounges have lockers and other conveniences that should make a day away from home or work easier.
  • Night classes are offered at most colleges and universities.
  • Online classes are a hot new offering at many schools. It gives students the opportunity to take classes, participate in discussions, work on group projects, read coursework--all from the comfort of your computer and internet connection at home.
  • Non-dormitory style housing might be the most comfortable route to take if you are an older student who wants to live on or near campus. Many schools offer apartment living that is handled through the traditional housing department.
  • Financial aid may be available to help fund your degree. You should use the Internet to look for grants – give yourself some time to really search around and see what you can find, and talk to the financial aid department at your potential school too. They will know the best sources of funding for all situations.

So, when you are trying to make the decision about getting more education, consider the impact it can have on your career advancement. Take advantage of all a school can offer you. And don't forget to enjoy yourself occasionally. You're a student after all.