Now is the time of year for graduate school application deadlines. There can be many benefits to returning to school. Obtaining your graduate degree can help open doors for you in your current career or help if you are considering changing careers, seeking greater financial rewards, or even just wanting personal growth. However, as we all are well aware, graduate school can be a big financial investment.
Here are five reasons to return to graduate school:
1. Your Employer Pays for It
There are a number of companies and organizations that will pay, at least in part, to have their employees return to school to obtain a graduate degree. These companies will likely have stipulations. Sometimes you must receive a B+ or better in a course in order for the course to be paid for or once you receive your degree you will often be required to remain with the company for a certain period of time. Of course, this is to ensure the company reaps the benefits of its investment. So if you are happy with the business you work for and looking to advance within the company, this is a great opportunity. Check with your human resources department to find out the specific requirements for your company. And remember there may be additional costs that you should prepare for before starting graduate school.
2. You Are Looking for a Career Change
Returning to school to get a graduate degree is a way to move into another career. We are living in the generation of employees who realized they did not have to remain with their first job or career for 30+ years until retirement. Graduate school gives you exposure to people who have worked or are currently working in the career you want to go into, which allows you to ask questions and get information beyond the regular textbook information. Furthermore, being in graduate school can help obtain internships and greater career connections upon completion of graduate school. If you are looking to change careers, graduate school is a good place to start.
3. Greater Financial Reward
It’s no secret higher education often affords one the opportunity to seek higher paying jobs. Whether you are looking to move up at your current employer or at a better paying position elsewhere, a graduate degree can help you meet your income goals. It is important to look at the field you are in or want to go into and the expected income for a person in the position you are seeking. This will help you gauge whether or not the cost of graduate school is worth the investment. If you are thinking of returning to graduate school mainly for the financial gain, it is important to do a cost-benefit analysis to help decide if your time, money, and effort will get you the rewards you are seeking.
4. Personal Growth
Not all graduate school education is for the purpose of gaining financial reward or upward mobility in one’s career. Many of us have a love of learning, even outside of a career that we may love and enjoy. In this case, graduate school can help further our knowledge in a field we have an interest in, but not necessarily want to make it into a career. There are plenty of part-time programs one can attend while working full-time. If you have a love of learning there are many options for graduate school for personal growth reasons.
5. You Have the Time
If you have raised your family and are going through an empty nest situation, graduate school may be the perfect opportunity to occupy your time. Many in the middle of their professional careers or even retirees find themselves with a great deal of extra time on their hands. Graduate school can help keep you intellectually stimulated while you enjoy your retirement or more relaxed lifestyle.
Returning to graduate school is a great opportunity to further your growth in a number of different ways. It is important to understand your reasons for wanting to return to graduate school. If your goals for graduate school meet one or more of the above, it may be worth it to turn in that application and get the process started.
Photo Credit: Kevin H.