Getting another degree is a great way to advance in your career. It can give you an edge if you’re looking for a promotion or if you want to make a career switch.
However, when you’re already established in a job and working full time, it can be difficult to manage your job and your grad school studies. If you felt busy before, get ready for a whole new level of time management. Although you’ll have more to do, it can definitely be manageable. Because your time is even more precious than before, you may even be grateful for the opportunity to make the most of every minute and reevaluate your schedule.
If you’re considering getting another degree, here are some tips to help you through it!
1. Work with your boss
Let your boss know that you’re going back to school. They’ll be impressed you’re expanding your skills, and your company may even be able to help subsidize the cost of your education.
2. Do the math
Will getting another degree increase your chances of a higher salary? Do you have the time and energy to devote to your studies? Before you register for classes, make sure you consider the monetary and time commitments and if they’ll really work for your budget, time, and lifestyle.
3. Take advantage of your commute
When you have a full time job and college work, every minute counts. Spend your commute studying! If you can’t read or write while commuting, then download audio textbooks or dictate your notes to yourself to listen to while you’re driving. You can even, with the professor’s permission, record lectures to listen to in the car.
4. Take breaks
It’s crucial to allow yourself some free time to relax. Burning out won’t help your studies or your work, so be sure to get some rest and acknowledge when you need to take a step back.
5. Be diligent about your schedule
Get into a routine and stick to it. Start by tracking your time to see where you spend it. You may be surprised at how much spare time you spend deciding on what to do next. With a strict schedule you can move seamlessly from one task to the next, and making it a habit will reinforce your work ethic. Read some more of our blogs for extra time management tips too!
6. Choose the right program
Many people go back to school because they’re not sure what else to do to advance their career. When you’re thinking about getting another degree, make sure to consider which program is the right one for your goals. Once you know which degree you need, you also need to consider the best place to study. Since you’re working, it likely needs to be a local school that is close to where you work and live, or has online courses. When you’re pursuing a second degree, there’s a lot of online graduate study programs you can choose from.
7. Be flexible
As always in life, things never go the way that we plan. Assignments take longer than you expect, or the meeting at work runs late. When things like this happen you’ll need to make sacrifices and stay flexible. If you’re short on time, you’ll need to evaluate your priorities and determine what needs to be cut so that you can make the time.
8. You’ll stay relevant
Getting another degree means you’ll stay relevant. Continuing your education is a great way to show your employer that you’re serious about improving your worth. You’re not just getting a degree because you think it’s fun. You want to better yourself, learn new skills, and apply them to your career.
9. Make a space for school
Try to find a dedicated space for your schoolwork. This can mean you go to a certain café near work for an hour before you clock-in, or it can mean having a designated school zone in your home. It’s easier to study when you can put yourself in that mindset by being in a specific location.
10. Build relationships with your classmates and professors
Don’t slip into isolation just because you already have a support system at work and home. When you’re going back to school for another degree, it’s much different than an undergraduate education. No one is there to make friends, but it’s great if that can be something that comes out of it. Most people will be working students, so you already have something in common. It’s also important to build relationships with your professors. They’re there to mentor you and teach you, so take advantage of that and ask questions.
11. Student loans may be less burdensome
Unlike your undergraduate career, when you’re a full time worker and going back to graduate school part-time for another degree, you may find yourself less burdened by student loans. You’ll have income this time around, so you won’t be digging yourself into quite as big of a hole. However, the financial cost of another degree is certainly something to be considered before going back to school.
12. Make connections between work and school
Try to implement your academic studies in your work, and use your work experience in your college classes. Building connections between the two will help you reinforce what you’re learning and you can demonstrate your new skills at work.
Going back to school while you’re working is no small feat. Even if it’s part-time, taking on studies while your plate is already full is extremely taxing. But with proper scheduling and determination, you can definitely make it work. Getting another degree is a great opportunity to advance your career and learn new skills.
Have you managed part-time studies while working full-time? Has getting another degree helped you in your career? Share your advice on UltiCareer’s survey to help others considering this option get to know what your experience has been like.
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