Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Update to Tips for Returning to College

This is an update to an original post that I shared in 2017.
Two Chicks and a Mom were not compensated financially by reviews.com to include a link to their site but they did share our post on social media.  

 Have you ever wondered about tackling college again (or technical school)?  Do you have a lot of questions regarding doing that?  Maybe you don't think you have the money or it's been too long since you were in high school or college and you aren't sure you can still keep up with the work.

Here's some tips that might be helpful.  I returned to school and am now currently working towards my Master's degree.

1.  Decide if a degree, certificate, or higher education is what you REALLY want.  Are you ready to seek a better job?  Are the kids in high school and will be leaving home over the next few years?  Want to get back into the work force with a better edge?  Decide what YOU want to do and WHY.

2.  Do you have a set degree in mind?  If not but you still are wanting to get a degree, colleges have counselors who can assist you with choosing a degree program.  Perhaps an aptitude test would be helpful.  Talk to people who are in the career-field you have in mind to get an idea of what is entailed in that job (talk to teachers, nurses, beauticians, social workers--whatever you have considered doing in the past).

3.  Do you want to attend classes on-campus or online?  Some people do better with the structure that on-campus classes offer, while others are fine with online classes and are able to discipline themselves to stay on task.  Many colleges offer online degrees, while some may require you attend certain classes on-campus.  If you already have an Associate's degree or Bachelor's degree and are ready to move forward to a higher degree, many universities offer the next step completely online.  I received my RN-BSN degree by doing online classes at WESTERN GOVERNORS UNIVERSITY (WGU) 
and it was totally affordable!  They offer Nursing, Education, and Business classes.  Recently, I felt that I wanted to do something a little different with my Nursing career so I am working on my Master's of Education degree in Health and Wellness through AMERICAN COLLEGE OF EDUCATION (ACE).  This school offers Master's of Education degrees, a Doctorate of Education, and several certificates as well.  It is so affordable (less than $8000 for my degree) and I should be done in 14 to 15 months.  Make sure you attend an accredited college.

4. Concerned about paying for school?  Check with the college counselor regarding scholarships.  Do an online search to find scholarships related to your field or situation.  As a nursing student, I received scholarships from the local hospital auxiliary, a grant from the state due to a nursing shortage, and a private scholarship offered to women of Nevada.  Some employers will pay all or part of your tuition, even for spouses--check with your Human Resources for information.  Past military service may make you eligible for the GI Bill.  School loans are always available, too, either privately or through the government.  When in doubt, always do an Internet search for scholarships or grants--you never know what you might turn up yourself!

5.  If you have a family, schedule time to have a meeting and let them know of your plans.  Going back to school is a big step and a lot of work--it will affect your family!  Things won't be the same with Mom (or Dad) having class work to do or being gone to classes in the evening.  Make sure everyone is aware of the changes and that you will still be there for them but you will need some support, too.  At the beginning of each semester, we would have a family meeting so that everyone was aware of my schedule and what days I would be out of town (my nursing classes and clinicals took place almost two hours away from my town).  Every week, I made sure everyone knew who was picking up Ali and Staci--Grandma and older brother Aaron were a big help.

6.  Don't stress!  Nothing is etched in stone and if you decide you need to step back from your schooling, do so!  No degree is worth your health or the well-being of your loved ones!  It's okay.  I left nursing school for a year as my mom was not doing well (she passed away during my year off) and Ali was only 4 and missed me.  It worked out and I was glad I took the year off.  Talk to the school administrators--they want to help you succeed!

I am not an expert in returning to school but since I do have experience, I just wanted to share what I have learned over the years.  If you have any questions, you can either comment or email me--our link is over in the right-hand side bar.  When I originally posted this in 2017, I was just starting my Master's degree at American College of Education.  Now, one year later, I will finish up in 2 to 3 months--not bad and am excited for what my future will bring!

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Thanks for stopping by! 

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