Going back to school isn’t a decision that can be taken lightly. Before you register for classes, there are a few things you’ll need to take care of, starting with figuring out whether going back to school is the right thing for you.
Why do you want to go back to school?
There could be a number of reasons for wanting to go back to school, but are they the right ones? Furthering your education to advance your career is a good idea. A career change and increased earning potential are other good reasons for going back to school. Before you put in an application, evaluate the underlying reasons that you want to go back to school.
Will you be able to juggle school with your other responsibilities?
Life changes once you’ve been out of school for awhile. Having a family can impact your decision to go back to school. If you’re working full-time, you might wonder if you can handle working and going to school. Even though you may have additional responsibilities, you can still go back to school. Many others have done it successfully. You can do it to.
Are you ready for the admissions exams?
Once you’ve decided to go back to school, you’ll need to take the necessary tests. Most colleges and universities have admissions exams that must be taken before you can attend. The ACT or SAT is required for undergraduate degree programs. Graduate degree programs have different admissions exams depending on your program.
Graduate School – Graduate Record Exam (GRE)
Business School – Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT)
Law School – Law Schools Admissions Test (LSAT)
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Med School – Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT)
Dental School – Dental Admissions Test (DAT)
To find out which exam you need to take and what need to score on the exam, check with the school you’re interested in attending. You can typically get this information online from the school’s website. Use a search engine to find the school’s web address if you don’t already know it.
How to pay for it?
Once you’ve made the decision to return to school, then you have to figure out how you’re going to pay for your education.
If you’re employed, your company might reimburse some or all of your tuition costs. Talk with your manager or someone in human resources to find out if you qualify for the tuition reimbursement benefit and how you can take advantage of it. You might have to have a certain number of years with the company before you can have your tuition reimbursed. Or, you might have to sign a contract promising to stay with the company a certain amount of time after you’ve gotten your degree.
You may qualify for federal student aid. To be considered, you should fill out the Federal Application for Student Aid. Your adjusted gross income will be used to determine if you qualify. If you’re under 25, your parents’ income can also be considered. Applying before March 1 gives you priority consideration for federal student aid. Depending on the school you’re considering, you might have to fill out additional student aid application forms. Check with the school’s financial aid office.
There may be scholarships available. The school’s financial aid office is the best place to find out about scholarships, the qualifications, and how to apply for them.
Student loans from federal and private lenders are another option. Federal student loans often have lower interest rates than those you get from a private lender. You can also talk with someone in financial aid about the student loan options available through the school.
Put in your application
When you’ve decided you’re certainly going to go back to school, sign up for your exams, and then put in applications at the schools you’re thinking about. After the schools get your exam scores, all you have to do is wait for your acceptance letter and get ready to enroll in classes next fall.