How to Go Back to School While Working Full-time

A full-time job likely occupies at least 40 hours of your week; add in the commute, obligations at home, time to sleep, and you probably barely have time to even think about going back to school. However, returning to college or enrolling for the first time can allow you to land your dream career. Fortunately, the accessibility of online schools has made it at least somewhat easier to achieve your goals, and you can follow some other tips for success as well.

Evaluate the School’s Requirements and Schedules 

You may jump into a program because you see that it’s offering many evening classes in the upcoming semester. However, one semester does not necessarily tell you what the entire program will require. The best idea is to sit down with the chairperson in your intended program or a guidance counselor at the school. Seeing what the schedule of courses is like will let you know if this institution is the best one for your needs. If you are choosing an online program, you may be required to complete at least a few of the classes on the actual campus. Knowing this information before you start the program means that you’re reducing the risk of unpleasant surprises later on.

Ask about Tuition Reimbursement 

Before you start applying for student loans and scholarships, find out if your company offers tuition reimbursement. If you are looking to leave the job, you may likely discover that this option isn’t possible. In fact, you have given your boss a reason not to keep you. On the other hand, if obtaining the degree would better your skills and position at the company, you may then discover that the business will cover the costs of tuition.

Understand How Costs Work 

In the event that your job does provide tuition reimbursement, make sure that you aware of exactly what those funds will cover. For example, many colleges have fees that are not covered under tuition. Your job might pay for them too, or these fees may be your responsibility. When you cannot procure tuition reimbursement, start seeking cost-effective options. You may think that you can just take out a loan to pay for schooling; however, your income might preclude you from doing so. You shouldn’t be so quick to give up though when it comes to how to pay for college. Speaking with a representative from the school’s financial aid department can introduce you to options that you didn’t know existed.

Enroll in an Online Program 

Attending on class and arriving on time are both important components of the college experience. When you’re working a full-time job, however, you may be unable to do so. To prevent problems that arise with missed classes and lateness, enroll in an online college. You can also find online schools that provide laptops so that you have a means by which to accomplish your work. An online school means that you could take care of assignments early in the morning before heading off to your job or during your lunch break. You’ll have a greater amount of flexibility than you would if you were enrolled in a traditional brick-and-mortar school.

Work with Your Cohort 

While online school provides a host of benefits, it does not necessarily offer you the community perk of a cohort. When you enroll in certain programs, you’ll often go through the classes with the same group of people. In fact, if you’re taking classes in the evening hours or on weekends, you may discover that many of the other students are also working full-time. You can act as a source of support for one another. For example, you can swap notes to make sure that you are prepared for the next exam; however, you can also talk each other through the tough days and discuss strategies for dealing with time-management debacles that may arise.

The decision to obtain a degree while you’re working full-time is likely a tough one to make. However, this choice will eventually allow you to obtain the position or the job that you want. Keep in mind that you’ll have this packed schedule for just a few years until you finish up the program requirements.