Recently on Daily Morning Coffee, blogger Rosemary Silverman wrote a very insightful post that gave readers reasons for knowing when it’s time to pause your career and head back to school. Of course, there are many great reasons for pursuing an advanced degree, but sometimes these reasons are more applicable to certain individuals in certain points in their career than other individuals. Here are a few reasons why you may want to wait before jumping back into a degree program:
1. You aren’t ready to sacrifice your current standard of living.
There’s no way around it. For most of us, going back to school will cost us quite a bit of money. Even if you do have loans and/or grants that cover the tuition, there are several incidental expenses that just go hand-in-hand with being a student. As such, you’ll end up having to give up at least part of your current standard of living because of these expenses and the added cost of being out of the workforce and not earning a full-time income.
2. The degree you wish to pursue isn’t absolutely required to maintain or accelerate your career.
Many potential students are swayed to pursue a degree for the only reason that it’s simply being offered. But it’s important to understand that not all degree offered will be entirely useful to you. For example, say you are a journalist, or you aspire to be one. Perhaps you consider pursuing a master’s degree in journalism. While these degrees may make some sense to some people, the fact of the matter is that a successful career in journalism is almost always predicated on experience alone. Of course, you may learn some insightful things in a master’s degree program, but it’s not anything you can’t learn on the job, while making money. If you don’t absolutely need the degree—like you need a J.D. to practice law or an M.D. to practice medicine—then it’s a good idea to reconsider your plans to return to school.
3. You don’t have a very set financial plan for paying off school debt.
If your investment in an advanced degree program is to have returns and reward in the future, then you must have set financial plan for paying back your student loans in a timeframe that doesn’t eat up your entire life. Student debt in the United States has, for the first time in history, surpassed credit debt as the number one source of consumer debt. Consider the high likelihood that you’ll be faced with lots of debt, make sure that you calculate the risks and the possible jumps in salary as a result of your degree to decide if the plan is worth it.
4. You’re unhappy with your job and think going to school would be much better.
I think going back to school is an idea that young adults in careers often have when they are simply unhappy with their current job. After having spent a few years working, you may long for those days when you were a carefree student. While the grass on the other side of the fence may appear greener, you should consider first finding a different, more rewarding job before going back to school. Maybe it’s just a change in work environment that you need.
Lauren Bailey is a freelance writer and her specialty is higher education, Lauren also enjoys blogging about technology, student life, small business strategies, and more. She can be reached for questions or comments at [email protected].