Forum Archives

Return to Forum List

Should I return to school?

You are not logged in. Login here or register.

Pages: 1 · 2

Bluebird26 posted 4/10/2013 00:36 AM

Something I have always wanted to do was attend college (or university here) but when I was younger and stupid, believed my spouse when I made a commitment to him and our family giving up my career aspirations as he was supposed to support us. That plan A didn't pan out lol.

I am employed I love my job, and it works great around my kids. But the nagging thought about going to university is still in the back of my mind.

I would have to complete a degree either online or part-time as I still have to support us financially at least for the next 8 years and the logistics of actually attending a campus is out, plus attending part-time would take 8-10 to complete a degree.

I have no idea what I want to study but I need something to do, I need something to sink my teeth into and challenge me. Should I take the plunge? Any ideas what I should study?

Amazonia posted 4/10/2013 06:02 AM

What sort of work do you do now? Is there a degree you could get that would help you advance in your current job that you know you enjoy?

If not, to help is determine work that might be suited to you: 1) what are your biggest transferable skills, and 2) what do you enjoy about your current job?

phmh posted 4/10/2013 06:47 AM

First, I am a HUGE proponent of education.

However, with costs increasing, I'd be very wary of getting a degree without doing a lot of research first, to make sure that the pay-off is there. Especially since you love your current job.

At the companies I've worked at, we wouldn't hire anyone with a degree from an online university. You can definitely argue that we're missing out on good candidates, but those are the facts (I was not involved in these decisions.)

Is there demand in the field you want to study? What salary are you likely to make so is the investment worth it? Would you be able to pay for school without taking out loans? Would you still have adequate time with your kids?

Could you satisfy your thirst for knowledge elsewhere and go back to school *just because* once your kids are older? (For example: reading books; learning a new language, musical instrument, or skill; taking non-credit courses from The Great Courses, Yale Online, Stanford, MIT, etc.)

It's a big decision and you want to make sure you're not sacrificing too much to make it happen. I just keep reading about how the student loan bubble is the next to burst -- interest rates on loans are soon doubling -- people with $100k in loans that have gotten them $20k/year jobs, etc.

Weatherly posted 4/10/2013 07:36 AM

I'm taking online classes through the local college. It isn't an "online" degree though, my degree with read the same as everyone else's. Do you have a local college that does that?

I enjoy school (well, I have until this semester. ) I like learning. And, the community college is not too expensive either.

Why don't you look at what online degrees are offered, and then you can see if any of those even fit your interests/further your career goals.

Bluebird26 posted 4/10/2013 07:51 AM

Thanks for your replies, I currently work in accounts receivable, whilst I do love my job, it's not something that can sustain me forever, it is very repetitive and doesn't challenge me. There is only one position I can advance to in my office. It is a massive job with not much financial gain and I would have to work full time + a lot of extra hours not paid for to get the job done, plus a massive amount of responsibility, not something I can manage right now or interested in right now.

An Accounting or Business degree would be the likely contenders and an extension of what I do now I guess. There is a high demand in the next 10 years for these fields and the payoff with a little experience would be earning approximately triple what I earn now. The cost of the course does scare me but our system here provides that I can pay the loan back after I graduate once I am earning above the threshold amount which currently is set at just below 50K.

My youngest son is 10 years old, he has about another 8 years at school so I am thinking this would be a great time to start something so I can finish when he finishes school and I can then move on from my current employment.

Lots of research to do before I make any decisions.

Pmnh - online university here is very different, you wouldn't know if I attend the course on campus or did the course online, by looking at my application for a job. The courses are the same offered online vs on campus by the same college, you just pick your preferred delivery method - not all course have this option obviously some course like medicine and things you cannot do online, in the end the graduates ends up with the same piece of paper.

But I will definitely look at some other things to satisfy my learning need for now, thanks for those ideas.

dlmos posted 4/10/2013 07:57 AM

I'm considering the same thing myself and one option to consider is if your job does tuition reimbursement. Many companies offer that as long as the degree is in an applicable field. Additionally, although Australia might be a little differant, you could look into government grants. The US offeres these and if your willing to go through the application process its money you don't have to pay back

I would just swing by your local college or junior college's financial aid department, they usually keep information packets on that stuff and I'm sure you aren't the first person in your situation they will have met.

As far as what to study that really ia a call you need to make. If you love your job I would lean toward something that would help in advancement. Beyond that the sky is the limit. I'm a lister so I would list out all the differant things you always wanted to do, then look for degrees that would get you there.

Amazonia posted 4/10/2013 08:32 AM

How about something like a CPA? I see you're in Australia, can't speak to the system there, but here in the States, licenses are sometimes a better investment for your money than a degree. Being a licensed CPA (or Australian equivalent) could open up a lot of possibilities within the finance field that you enjoy, but would probably be a shorter program, probably night or online classes available to accommodate continuing to work, etc.

Survivor3512 posted 4/10/2013 08:55 AM

Just a note, here in the U.S. you need a bachelors degree plus some (I think it's a total of 150 college credits) to even be able to sit for the CPA exam.

I think going back to school is a good idea, but I think you should consider what you really enjoy and want to pursue career wise before you make a decision. Have you ever taken any career aptitude tests? There are some free online you could take. It may help point you in a direction.

Bobbi_sue posted 4/10/2013 09:00 AM


we wouldn't hire anyone with a degree from an online university.

Phmh, I realize you said this is not your decision, but for those who make the decision, what if it was Harvard, Penn State, or Virginia Tech, or hundreds of other highly esteemed universities? An extreme number of highly regarded universities now offer completely online degree options.

[This message edited by Bobbi_sue at 9:04 AM, April 10th (Wednesday)]

jennie160 posted 4/10/2013 09:56 AM

I think you should consider what you really enjoy and want to pursue career wise before you make a decision. Have you ever taken any career aptitude tests? There are some free online you could take. It may help point you in a direction.

I have a Bachelors in Accounting and I have to agree with this. Depending on your personality it may not be the best fit. I didn't realize until I was finished with my degree and started working in Accounting that I enjoy helping people and teaching them more than I do being cooped up in an office at a computer all day. Don't get me wrong, I'm a numbers person (that's why I went into Accounting) and I still enjoy the tediousness of it but I feel like something is missing.

If you really think that you would enjoy Accounting as a career then go for it. If may feel like it will take forever but you'll be glad you did it. You may also want to consider finding a company that has more room for growth in order to get your foot in the door. Alot of companies would rather promote from within and if they see that you are working toward the higher degree they may promote you to an advance position before you are 100% finished.

Amazonia posted 4/10/2013 10:51 AM

Bobbi sue, I would guess that she meant online universities - not online programs from traditional universities.

stillstrong posted 4/10/2013 10:59 AM

Please PM me. I am not sure if I am allowed to post the site here because while it is free, there is a paid option. But the site I am referring to gives resources to help you study for tests that give you college credit. Google CLEP or DSST (used to be DANTES) DSST used to be primarily for military people, so some here may chime in. My college advisor told me about these tests. CLEP tests are given through college board. I have taken about 15 of them and am 12 credits away from my degree. I made a degree plan, had it approved by my college, and started studying for tests. Technically I am a Yale, Berkeley, Missouri State University educated woman. lol I listen to or watch complete iTunes college course lectures, take notes, read the recommended books, study, and take a test. If I pass, which I have every time, I earn between 3-6 college credits.
My daughter took one with NO study time at all, and earned 6 college credits the summer she graduated high school. It was Analyzing & Interpreting Literature, so if you are an avid reader, have good comprehension, and know your literary terms, you can easily pass. DSST's have some upper level tests, I took Rise and Fall of Soviet Union, Modern Middle East, Vietnam War. For those I put in quire a bit of study.
This summer my daughter needs to take a computer class at a community college that will cost me $1200. But there is a CLEP that she can take that will cost $120. If you can read and watch videos, have the discipline to study, you can quickly and cheaply earn credits. I originally started doing this because I moved cross country, and had to wait a year and a day to be eligible for in state tuition. My advisor didn't want me to stop my momentum so suggested these tests.
I could talk about this all day, sorry. It's just such an affordable way to go to school, and no one really knows about it because it doesn't make money for the college.

peacelovetea posted 4/10/2013 12:24 PM

You will still be 10 years older but not have the degree in 10 years.

I don't even think the practical considerations of which degree and would it help you in your career (though it sounds like it would) matter as much as this:

Something I have always wanted to do was attend college

Go for it!

SouthernGal posted 4/10/2013 12:32 PM

I took phmh's comment to mean schools like Univ. of Phoenix and Kaplan - which are "online" schools in that they have very few (if any) campuses and are not always a credited - as opposed to distance learning options from accredited state and private universities.

The former are over priced degree mills in many cases and the latter are accredited state and private universities offering flexibility but with the same standards across the board.


I was not clear enough in my first paragraph. UoP and Kaplan are accredited but many schools that run off the same model employed by UoP and Kaplan are not.

I used Kaplan and UoP as examples of schools that are primarily on-line education because they are two of the most heavily advertised and two of the schools who charge some of the most outrageous tuitions.

Additionally, while they may not technically be of the "degree mill" variety they are not selective in their admissions policies, accepting students who have very little chance of obtaining the degree because it means higher profits.

Because of these practices these two schools are at the top of the list of "colleges we won't hire from" for a lot of businesses (including hospitals since these schools offer degrees in nursing - which scares the diddly out of me).

So there it is. The full intent behind my first paragraph when I said "schools like UoP and Kaplan" I was not speaking only about UoP and Kaplan.

[This message edited by SouthernGal at 4:09 PM, April 10th (Wednesday)]

HurtsButImOK posted 4/10/2013 18:09 PM

what about doing a certificate IV or something along those lines? It provides an accreditation without the full on commitment of a degree so that you can stick your toe in the water and see if study in that field is what you really want to do?

ETA - it might also be something your employer is happy to fund as part of professional development.

[This message edited by HurtsButImOK at 6:11 PM, April 10th (Wednesday)]

phmh posted 4/10/2013 19:02 PM

Phmh, I realize you said this is not your decision, but for those who make the decision, what if it was Harvard, Penn State, or Virginia Tech, or hundreds of other highly esteemed universities? An extreme number of highly regarded universities now offer completely online degree options

I'm not in HR, so I really can't answer that definitively. I just know what I was told when I was hired at my current job. (We started discussing this because I actually had a job offer from an online university when I was interviewing for my current position.) When I had this discussion with HR at my old job, back in 2002 when I was getting involved in screening resumes for my department, I don't think that more esteemed universities had all-online offerings, so I don't know what they would say, either. My first job only recruited from a few universities and would only hire from them. Given that in-person collaboration is huge in my field, my guess would be that they'd prefer someone from a traditional, bricks and mortar school. It's probably different for different companies, industries, and even geographical locations. A company with mostly telecommuters might prefer a degree from an online school.

Bluebird -- I hope I didn't sound too negative! As I said, I am huge on education. My plan, right before D-Day was to be a SAHW and just take college courses after I put my XWH through school since that was our agreement. I can't wait until I'm retired so I can take classes in linguistics, history, and other fascinating subjects. I listen to online college lectures every day and have taken the equivalent of dozens of college classes (not for credit.)

I just suggested other alternatives since I read your OP as saying that you needed a challenge and weren't even sure what you wanted to go into. I've just read too many stories of people racking up huge amounts of debt and then finding themselves with essentially the same job or worse, finding that they're overqualified. And now with a student loan payment equivalent to a mortgage payment. And no way to discharge that in bankruptcy in the US. While I definitely think there is something to living your dream, the practical side of me wants to make sure that dream isn't going to put you in the poorhouse! (I also didn't realize you were from Australia, so maybe college is funded differently there.)

It just wasn't clear to me why you wanted to go back to school. Because you want to make more money? Follow a passion? Realize your dream of having a diploma? You want a challenge?

I think once you narrow down the why, you can come up with a better plan of attack.

Good luck!

Bluebird26 posted 4/10/2013 20:44 PM

thanks everyone, definitely given me some ideas to think about.

idkam posted 4/11/2013 10:40 AM

OMG!! I'm a Phoenix and reading your post SG & Pmhn is very depressing... I work full time and with online classes i'm able to be a full time student too...i'm not sure what the difference is in being the classroom with an instrutor as oppose to online, other than the physical aspect of it...

I do not need supervision to do my work...i'm not a procrastinator so in my opinion taking online classes is much harder than the traditional way.... You still have to read, do reasearch papers, and complete assignments before the deadline...

Nature_Girl posted 4/11/2013 10:53 AM

I very much want to return to college & finish out a degree so I can work in a field that will make me financially self-sufficient. I do not want to be dependent upon STBX for money in any way, but I'll need a good career to make that happen. College will do that for me.

Bobbi_sue posted 4/11/2013 11:02 AM

t/j again

(Sorry to t/j Bluebird, but this might apply to you too if you choose an online option).

Idkam, while UoP is accused of aggressive and overzealous marketing and being at the higher end of the tuition scale for their programs, the actual education you get there is respectable and you should be proud of your accomplishment. UoP is regionally accredited and that is the highest accreditation there is in the US. If the programs were inferior, the accreditor would revoke accreditation and would effectively shut down the school.

As for nursing programs, there is a lot of misinformation out there. At UoP and other online schools, people need to realize that the very same requirements that a student do part of their work and study in an actual hospital or medical facility setting are no different than the requirements in a B&M school. The only difference is that the classes that are lecture type in a classroom, would be done at home on your computer. More often than not, the nurses in these programs already have their RN or nursing license, but seek a higher degree such as a BSN or MSN.

We are all entitled to our opinions, but it is my opinion that most people that have such negative views of online universities really don't have all the facts and this includes employers who make blanket statements they will not hire anybody who graduates from one. In spite of a few very real employers that feel that way, I believe in the real world, few really care as long as you can show your degree is accredited. After that, your experience and other qualifications will count just as much or more than your degree. I won't go into any further detail here but I have many years of experience in both traditional and distance education.

[This message edited by Bobbi_sue at 11:13 AM, April 11th (Thursday)]

Pages: 1 · 2

Return to Forum List

© 2002-2018 ®. All Rights Reserved.     Privacy Policy