Ready to move forward in your career, but realize you need to earn your degree? Thinking about a return back to school, but know you can’t afford to go back without a job? You’re not alone.
At some point, any adult who is serious about going back to college will need to determine how to fit their degree goals into an already busy life. If this sounds like you, you’ll be happy to know that you’re not alone. You can work and earn your college degree!
Here are a few strategies that are guaranteed to help:
1. Be confident and show your “grit.”
According to a recent report, 80% of students work at least part time while going to school. More than 71% of college students are considered nontraditional students, the majority of which are adult learners working full or part time with existing commitments. If other working adults can earn their college degree, so can you!
Are you a hard worker? Self-motivated? Studies have shown that students who show more “grit” are also more successful than their less “gritty” peers.
2. Work, get a scholarship, and rely less on loans.
According to the American Council for Education (ACE), the primary reason students work while going to college is to pay tuition, fees and living expenses. Instead of maximizing student loans, working adults prefer to reduce their debt by applying for scholarships and earning an income.
For example, low-cost online college course provider StraighterLine and APU have teamed up to offer a partner college scholarship for students who transfer their StraighterLine online courses to APU. Scholarships like these are ideal for working adults who are ready to rapidly get started on their degree and are flexible enough to accommodate individual degree goals.
3. Take a job in a field related to your major.
If you are thinking about making a career change, it’s a good idea to start getting work experience in your new field while enrolled at school. Though you may not qualify for your dream job until after you graduate, you can start making connections now. The right job–one that provides you with related work experience–can give you a jump start on the career you always wanted. Plus, you can use that experience to improve your chances of getting hired after you graduate, and increase your earning power.
4. Get paid to get promoted.
Many working adults go back to school in order to qualify for a promotion. Since many companies view employee education as a smart investment, your company may offer tuition assistance to help cover the cost. Talk with human resources, and discuss your career goals with your manager. Be sure to share your career goals with your enrollment counselor to leverage a relevant degree plan that can help take your career to the next level.
5. Stay focused on what’s important.
As a working professional, you’ll encounter many on-the-job challenges that will directly apply to what you’re learning at school. Fortunately, as an experienced adult, you’ll have the benefit of perspective — and knowing what’s truly important. Don’t hesitate from using your school assignments to explore related issues at work. The knowledge you gain from earning your degree adds value, and can put yourself into a much better position to add value on the job.
If you are a working adult, college is a smart investment in your future. Manage your time effectively, take advantage of online education, stay focused on your goals —— and you’ll be able to take your career to the next level on your own terms.
This is a guest blog post from our partner StraighterLine. It is written by Director of Content Beth Dumbauld. StraighterLine is a great resource for students who need more credits to transfer into APUS.
About the Author
Beth Dumbauld is the Director of Content at StraighterLine. StraighterLine solves the #1 issue facing students today — the skyrocketing cost of college — with low-cost online courses that are guaranteed to transfer to schools in a network of 90+ accredited colleges, including APUS.
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At American Public University, students are priority one. We are committed to providing quality education, superior student resources, and affordable tuition. In fact, while post-secondary tuition has risen sharply nationwide, the university continues to offer affordable tuition without sacrificing academic quality.