Maybe you’re looking to advance your career; maybe you’re hoping for a pay raise; maybe you want to finish what you started yet left undone long ago; or maybe you’re just another knowledge-seeker who wants to push academic boundaries – whatever the reason you’re going back to school to earn your master’s degree, there are a few things you need to know before you sign up:
1. Are you sure that your chosen school is accredited by a reputable agency? Unless both your program and institution are accredited by established and credible agencies, your degree is not going to be worth squat.
2. Are you qualified for the degree? Check out the prerequisites for the course you’re interested in before you dream about signing up for the degree. If you fall short, find out what courses you can take so that you qualify and are allowed to sign up.
3. Is the course material challenging and on par with programs that are offered in traditional institutions? Your degree is only as valuable as the school you earn it from. Even accredited courses are sometimes worthless because they don’t have depth and don’t teach enough. So find out if the program you’re interested in is worthy of your time and effort.
4. Does it offer practical classes? There are some degrees that require a few hours of practical exposure, and if your program is one of them, ensure that your chosen school offers options that are convenient for you.
5. Are you paying for tuition by borrowing money? If you’re taking out a loan to pay for your education, ensure that it’s worth it – you don’t want a degree that puts you in debt unless you’re sure of some financial return because of it.
6. Will your degree improve the quality of your life in some way or the other? If you’re not going to climb up professionally (a promotion), financially (a pay hike) or personally (a sense of personal achievement), then it could be a waste of time and effort.
7. Do you have the time to dedicate to your studies? Grad school courses are very demanding, and unless you’re able to set aside time every day or at least every week to do your studying and complete your assignments, you’re going to find the going very tough.
8. Is your employer supportive of your efforts? If you’re going to balance work and study simultaneously, the ideal situation would be one where your employer sponsored your education. If not, they must at least understand your need to go back to school and support you by cutting you some slack when it’s time for exams. If not, your work life is going to become pretty miserable and you’re going to feel stressed out during your online classes as well.
9. Are you tech savvy? It’s important today to know technology reasonably well if you want to gain the edge in online education. You need to know your way around a computer and the Internet if you want to augment your study material with relevant information, and it helps if you own a smartphone which you can use to access your lessons and study on the go, especially if you’re pressed for time.
10. Are you determined to finish your program? Expect to face many hurdles before you cross the finish line, and make plans to cross every one of them, no matter how difficult they are. Even if takes a longer time, dedication and determination can help you achieve success.
This guest post is contributed by Debbie Owen, she writes on the topic of online doctorate degree. She welcomes your comments at her email id: firstname.lastname@example.org.