Ready to go Back to School? Important Things to Consider, First!

Earning a graduate degree comes with many benefits. Not only do higher-level degrees tend to lead to higher-earning occupations, but more and more employers are filling positions with master’s degree holders, when they once required just a bachelor’s. Earning a graduate degree can not only create many opportunities, but it can also lead to a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment.

Returning to school also requires time, energy, and motivation. If you’re considering returning to school, here are ways you can prepare and set yourself up for success.

What’s your “Why?"

If you’re reading this right now, there’s probably some voice inside your head saying “I think it would be a good idea to go back to school.” The first thing you should consider is - why?

Some people work towards a graduate-level degree for career advancement; some occupations might even require a master’s degree to enter the workforce.

Maybe you’re considering switching careers, and earning a higher-level degree would open new doors for you.

Maybe you have a love of learning and you are determined to earn a higher-level degree for the sense of achievement alone.

Maybe you’re all of the above, plus your own, unique reasons!

You just want to make sure that the answer to “Why?” is  forward-thinking. What will going back to school do to enrich your life? Not only will you probably have to answer this question at some point in the application process, but understanding your motivation for returning to school from the very beginning will help keep you motivated, even when the coursework gets challenging.

Know your options

M.A., M.S., M.S.W., M.B.A., Ph.D., Ed.D. - the list of graduate-level degrees goes on!

Once you understand what your motivation for returning to school is, you’ll be able to pinpoint which degree paths make the most sense for your needs.

Some careers require a specific degree in order to earn key credentials. For example, if you are interested in school counseling, a master’s degree is a must.

If you’re looking to change careers, researching which options are available for you might help you find a specific area of interest that you can go into directly. Have an interest in writing and communications? You could explore your passion through an M.A. in Writing. Maybe you’re specifically interested in marketing or public relations writing, or perhaps you want to branch out into writing for T.V.!

You might also want to consider whether you would prefer an in-person or online degree program, depending on your needs.

Exploring degree paths and concentrations will help you find the program that will match your motivation!

What do you need to apply?

Every program will have application requirements. You might have to write a personal statement, send letters of recommendation, update your resume, submit your prior school transcripts, and maybe even interview with the admissions committee.

The earlier you know what to expect, the more likely you are to craft the best possible application package for you! You want to showcase both your academic qualifications and your personal drive to the admissions committee - let them know that you are ready to return to school and that you have the motivation to earn this degree.

Not sure where to get started? Our Learn from the Experts: How to Apply to Graduate School webinar breaks down everything you need to know before you start putting together your application materials.

Concerned about the cost of attendance? As a graduate student, you do have financial aid options, including federal aid and graduate assistantships.

Not sure if a graduate degree is right just yet? Consider certificate programs

Maybe you’re worried that, even if you want to go back to school, you just don’t have the time right now to commit to a degree program. Or, maybe you want more freedom to explore a new field or interest, but you want to experience it first-hand.

A certificate of graduate study allows you to take three to four foundational courses in your choice of subject matter. You could earn a Certificate of Graduate Study in creative writing, diversity and inclusion, data analytics, and many more!

Earning a graduate certificate could help you take your first step into a future master’s degree. In fact, many programs allow you to transfer credits over from your certificate program, when you are ready to apply.

Ready to go back to school? Here’s how Rowan can help

At Rowan University, we are dedicated to providing quality education that is accessible, affordable, and meets the needs of all students, regardless of where they are in life. We offer a wide variety of graduate degrees, certificates, and programs that will meet your needs and align with your passions. Explore all of your options here.

If you have any questions about how you can best prepare to return to school, we encourage you to request more information or attend one of our upcoming virtual information sessions. Of course, if you’re ready to go, you can start your application today!

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