Should I Go Back to School? December 1st, 2012
It’s never too late to go back to school. In 2007 Nola Ochs graduated from Fort Hays State University in Hayes, Kansas and became the oldest person to receive a college degree at 95 years old. Three years later she received her master’s degree.
There’s no denying that a college degree will open up all sorts of doors for your professional career. But for many people, going back to school simply is not an option. It is expensive and time consuming. For others it is unnecessary. They prefer to get their foot in the door with a company and work their way up the proverbial corporate ladder. There are many understandable reasons to avoid pursuing higher education. But, for those who set their goals high, going back to school is an essential investment in their careers.
Meet John Doe. John just graduated from college and he’s buried up to his eyeballs in student loans debt. The pressure to find a job forces John to live in the “now” and lose focus on his long-term goals. John finds a job, becomes comfortable, gets a promotion or two, settles down, and eventually starts a family. Now the responsibilities are piling in and it’s too late for John to go to graduate school. There’s nothing wrong with that lifestyle as long as John is happy. John became comfortable with his job and it no longer made sense for him to go back to school. Unfortunately, due to the nature of John’s occupation, John’s career potential was capped.
Meet John’s sister Jane Doe. Jane came out of undergraduate school in the same boat as her brother; drowning in student loans debt. Jane found a job, worked hard, and received a couple promotions as well. But in the back of Jane’s mind it just wasn’t enough. She was not content. After a few years Jane went back to school and incurred more debt. She lived below her means and worked part time to pay her bills. After a few years she graduated with a master’s degree in business and landed an executive position that paid over six figures. After several years Jane became CEO, bought a large house, started a family and finally paid off her student loans. Now she is content.
There are many factors that go into the decision of whether or not to go back to school. The most important thing to ask yourself is, “Am I content?” Next time you’re at work, look around. Assess your own growth potential and the security of your job. Many people thought they were ok before the recession hit a few years ago. They were let go by a company at which they spent many years working their way up the ranks. Other companies wouldn’t hire them because, without a college degree, they could not compete with other candidates. A college degree is always a safety net to fall back on when times get tough. Hiring managers will ask you about the degree listed on your resume from the college you attended 25 years ago.
Unfortunately the proposition of going back to school for a bachelor’s or master’s degree is becoming more risky. According to the Economist, student loan delinquency rates exceed 10%, which is ten times greater than that of credit cards and car loans. The total amount of outstanding student loan debt is greater that $757 billion and on the way to surpassing $1 trillion. Without effective government intervention, the system may be doomed to crash. Until that day comes, amass whatever student loan debt you must to make it through college. That education is an essential investment to take your career to the next level. On average, over the course of one’s professional career, a master’s degree is worth $1.3 million more than a high school diploma.
Career Corner Article Series
Career Corner Articles Home
Management Matters Article Series
Management Matters Articles Home
Industry Trend Article Series
Industry Trend Articles Home