Going back to school to complete a bachelor’s or pursue a graduate degree can be intimidating. But the reward can be great.
If you’re considering taking the leap, online programs can offer the flexibility to weave coursework into your busy lifestyle.
Here are some tell-tale signs it’s time to fill out your application.
You want a new challenge
If you’re feeling stuck in your position and are looking to move up, an advanced degree could give you a competitive edge for promotion.
Keith Cangelosi, 27, knew the upper-management positions he was interested in required more than a bachelor’s degree so he prepared by pursuing his Master of Science in Systems Technology online.
“I kind of felt our generation requires something to stand out,” he said. “Everyone has degrees now.
“The reason I did it was to stand out and as a way to prove myself.”
Graduates may also have greater earning potential. The Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the median weekly earnings for someone with a master’s degree at $1,401, versus $1,173 for someone with a bachelor’s degree.
You’re looking for new opportunities
Julie Chambers had a successful career in sales, but she wasn’t satisfied.
“I had built this big business and was making a lot of money, but at some point, it’s not about that anymore,” she said.
But without her bachelor’s degree, she couldn’t make the career change she wanted.
Julie, 50, was able to complete her bachelor’s degree in General Studies online at UL Lafayette and was accepted the following semester to the University’s Master of Counseling program.
Our online degree and certificate programs can give you the credentials and skill set to branch out into new fields or advance your education.
You want a foundation for a career
A bachelor’s degree can be the first step in a long-term plan, building education and experience to advance in a career.
Each of our online bachelor’s degrees prepares graduates to tackle a number of roles and responsibilities, allowing them to build and shape a future that suits their needs and interests.
Kailey Hanks developed a passion for working with new moms and babies from her first internship as an online Health Promotion & Wellness student.
She leveraged that role into her first job at the same organization. From there, she was able to expand her focus from one-on-one education to developing programs and events for larger segments of the community.
Is it the right time?
If going back to school seems like the best option to achieve your long-term goals, the next thing you need to ask yourself is whether you’re ready to commit.
You’re ready to dedicate the time
Completing the coursework, studying, and participating in forums in an online or hybrid class can be difficult, even more so when you add in work responsibilities, kids, pets, or any extracurricular activities.
Online students should be ready and willing to commit 9-12 hours per week, per three-credit course.
You have a financial plan
Online coursework gives students the opportunity to continue earning a living as they earn their degree. These students may find UL Lafayette’s payment plan a viable and convenient way to cover their tuition.
In addition, students who qualify can apply financial aid to any online course or degree program.
Online students can also take advantage of in-state tuition rates, regardless of their location.
You have a support team
Adding coursework to your responsibilities is not only an adjustment for you, but also an adjustment for your family and friends.
Jami Rush is director of The University of Louisiana at Lafayette Learning Center and is pursuing a doctorate in Educational Leadership.
She says it’s crucial for those around you to understand the commitment you’ve undertaken, but also to plan your semester so you have space for downtime.
“If you were on campus and going to class, would you consistently be asked to skip class to go to work? Would you consistently be asked to skip class to hang out with your partner or to start dinner early?” Rush asks. “What would be the reasonable expectations of you if you were on campus? If you set those expectations early and maintain those expectations, it will become a habit for you and the people in your life so you can easily manage your time.”