ST. LOUIS – As the new year begins, residents across Missouri are setting their New Year’s resolutions. For many hoping to advance their careers and increase their salaries, that resolution could mean enrolling in a local university or online program with the goal of completing a bachelor’s or master’s degree. To help encourage those who are interested in pursuing a degree in higher education in 2019 make that leap, WGU Missouri is offering helpful tips to keep top of mind and up to $25,000 in scholarships to new students who plan to enroll in the New Year.
“For those planning to go back to school while working and caring for their families, choosing the right school is crucial to their success,” said WGU Missouri Chancellor Angie Besendorfer.
To help make the research process as seamless as possible, WGU Missouri is offering the following considerations:
- Find the right degree. Before deciding on a school, it’s important to know what degree will best help you achieve your career goals, whether it be a higher-paying position in your current industry or a job in a completely different field. Be sure to select a degree that is in demand and is relevant to employers. Once you know this information, it will be easier to choose a university based on what programs they offer.
- Get your finances in order. Before enrolling in a school, research the costs of tuition, books and other fees, and compare those with what other universities charge, to help ensure you make the right choice for your budget. If you expect to use financial aid, be sure to find out whether the school you are considering is eligible, and only borrow what you need in order to avoid unnecessary debt. Inquire about scholarships and other available means of assistance that can lower costs. Many employers offer various forms of tuition reimbursement, so be sure to check with your employer as well.
- Consider going the non-traditional route. It can be challenging for working adults to fit on-campus classes into their busy schedules. An online program might be a better option for those students who need the flexibility. Be sure to check and see if your university offers fully online degree programs.
- Prior experience should count. Your work experience and previous education/training may mean you don’t have to start from scratch. Before enrolling, check and make sure your earned college credits will transfer into the chosen program of study. Workplace training and experiences may also help advance your degree, especially if you choose a school that offers a competency-based approach to learning. This model, which is growing in popularity, allows students to move at their own pace and advance when mastery of the subject matter is demonstrated.
- Choose a university that will support you. Those going back to school, while working and raising families, will need a good support system to encourage them along the way and answer their questions. Find out what type of support the university you are considering offers, including how you’ll interact with faculty and what type of mentoring is offered. If you’ll be pursuing your degree online, be sure to find out how you’ll be able to connect and network with other students.
- Choose a reputable university. Request information on alumni placements, employer surveys and graduate rankings before enrolling to make sure your degree will be valued. It’s also important to note that employers and academic institutions will only recognize degrees earned from accredited universities. Make sure your time and effort isn’t wasted on a non-accredited program.
Besendorfer added, “We encourage individuals to do their homework and select the university that’s best for them. WGU Missouri offers affordable competency-based education programs that are a fit for many working adults, and we look forward to helping more students achieve their educational goals in the coming year.”
WGU Missouri’s “New Year, New You Scholarship” is open through March 31, 2019. Each scholarship award is valued at up to $2,000 ($500 per term, for up to four terms) and can be applied to any of the 60+ master’s and bachelor’s degree programs offered through WGU Missouri. Scholarships are competitive and are awarded based on a candidate’s academic record, readiness for online study and current competency, as well as other considerations.
For more information or to apply, visit missouri.wgu.edu/newyear.