Many people kick off the new year by making a list of resolutions. It’s a great way to mobilize positive changes in your life and start anew. There are many common new year's resolutions—lose weight, save more money, learn a new skill, or quit a bad habit—and some people make the challenging, yet empowering, goal to go back to school. Taking the steps to go back to school can be daunting, so we put together a simple guide to make it easier. Keep reading for your four-step new year’s resolution for going back to school, complete with to-dos.
First things first, what are you passionate about? How do you want to make your mark professionally? Maybe you love to help people, you consider yourself an effective leader, or you’re a natural problem solver. If you want to go back to school, you need to decide on a degree program. A good way to start is by selecting a broad field you’re interested in like teaching, business, healthcare, or information technology. Then, depending on your interests, career and salary goals, and lifestyle, you can drill down to specific occupations. Sometimes picking a degree is easier said than done, which is where career guides can come in handy.
TO DO: Use WGU’s career guides to assist you in choosing a degree program and career path.
College education can be one of the most expensive investments in a person’s life. With tuition reaching $50,000 a year (and double that) at some schools, higher education is financially inaccessible for many. Luckily, there are thousands of scholarships you can apply for, financial aid, and federal as well as private loan options, making a college education more doable for more people. WGU has online degree programs that are significantly more affordable than traditional in-person schools, not to mention they also provide an incomparably flexible schedule, allowing students the ability to work while attending school. There are several ways you can make school more affordable.
TO DO: Familiarize yourself with all your options to make school financially doable and choose one or more that work for you.
t’s not enough to want to go back to school. You need to create an environment that is conducive to learning and success—that goes for both your schedule and your physical space. Everyone has unique life circumstances, so it’s important that you do what works for you. Decide what days and times you can dedicate to school, and find a designated spot in your home or at a local library where you’ll be able to focus on studying. Setting these things up before you go back to school will endow you with peace of mind that you can be successful. Remember: there may never be a perfect time to go back to school. What matters is that you want to do it and you work with your circumstances to achieve your goals.
TO DO: Read WGU’s helpful tips for effectively studying at home to make sure your set-up checks all the boxes.
It’s important that you’re confident in your “why.” There are many reasons to go back to school. Maybe you want to increase your earning potential. Maybe you want a career change. Maybe you want to prove to yourself and your family that you can achieve what you put your mind to. Maybe you just want to learn something new—or maybe it’s a combination of all four. These are things you open your life to when you invest in furthering your education.
TO DO: For a boost of inspiration, check out these success stories from WGU grads who made the choice to go back to school.
Whether you work full-time or have a family to care for, you can customize your journey to get back to school to meet your needs. Use these four steps to turn your new year’s resolution into a reality.