It’s a big decision. It will require commitment and focus, but the payoff can be huge. Here are four important factors that could help you make your decision:

1. Identify Your "Why"

Determine exactly why you want to earn your degree, and let that reason drive you. Are you doing it to:

  • Earn more money?

  • Set an example for your children?

  • Prove something to yourself?

Keep your main motivator in mind as you continue through the application process, the coursework, and the moments when you may want to give up.

2. Determine Your End Goal

If you are going to keep your “eye on the prize,” then you need to have a specific end goal. For example:

  • Do you want to attain an associate degree or a bachelor's degree?

  • Are you considering a career that requires a specialized degree, like an LPN or RN degree?

  • What credits do you already have, if any? (You may be closer to earning a degree than you think.)

  • What specific jobs will be available to you once you have this degree?

3. Consider All The Financial Aspects

It's important to get a clear picture of how much it will cost to return to school. How will you afford textbooks, tuition, and course fees? Will you have to cut back on your hours at work to fit in study, homework, and class time? Will the increased salary you earn outweigh the money you invested? Is it worth spending the money to earn the personal satisfaction of achieving your goals? Remember, there are many ways you can afford college, such as:

  • Scholarships

  • Grants

  • Loans

  • Tax credits

  • Tuition reimbursement from your employer

Be sure, no matter what your financial plan is, to fill out the FAFSA! You may be surprised to find out what assistance you qualify for.

4. Maintain Your Balance

It is important to keep a healthy balance between your work, school, and personal lives. Some questions to ask yourself:

  • When will you attend class?

  • If you're looking at an online program, what time do you have to set aside for coursework?

  • Do you have a dedicated work space where you can concentrate?

Your family will be key to your success, so make sure to have a lot of conversations about your return to the classroom and what that means to everyone. Share your "why" with your family. When they understand your motivation, they will be more likely to accept the changes in routine. You'll need to delegate more tasks, learn to say no, and adjust how you spend your time.

Find the Support You Need

Find people who can guide you through the whole process of returning to school. At Complete 2 Compete, we help Mississippi adults identify the clearest pathway to a degree and offer the support of a C2C coach all along the way. Contact us today to find out what we can do for you.

Discover more insights and strategies about returning to earn your degree:

Plan To Succeed. 5 Strategies for Returning To College

You can get the degree you’ve always wanted. A simple guide to re-applying to college.

Your Second Chance. When returning to college, the second (or third) time can be a charm.