Yes, my intention here for you is to document and provide you with as much information as to what I went through in getting back into the swing of things. Some of what I went through was much easier for me because I already work in higher education. But for you, many of you may have to take extra steps and I’ll help you there as well.
So, my plan here is to post an article, maybe 2-3 per week that specifically relates to my experiences in school. What ever it is. The turns, curves or bumps in the road of my own journey. many of you just need to know that other people deal with the same stuff, so here I am to hopefully share with you some of my experiences, and then to provide you with steps, ways and resources to make sure your experience before during and after college is what you hope for.
I’ll break this up in sections and make it easier to understand. My goal is to provide you with what you need to do, without a lot of detail, because everyone is different and almost every college and university has different procedures, but they follow by the same standards when it comes to financing and admissions.
So here’s the skinny…
I started graduate school last week, July 1. I currently work for a higher educational institution for the past 4 years and just took advantage of their tuition reimbursement program.
STEP 1: Find out what types of educational offerings the company or organization you are currently working for provides. It might be internal continuing education or some sort of management trainee program, but ask your boss. Most companies offer this up as part of their benefits package.
Most people don’t go to college, or back because of financing. There are other ways to finance that we’ll touch on in a bit.
My company offers a huge variety of degrees in undergraduate and post-graduate education. They are so wonderful about the programs and the fact that they are totally exempt. So I’m attaining an online Master’s of Arts degree in Higher and Post-Secondary Education (MA.Ed Higher and Postsecondary Education) at Argosy University’s online division. Yes it’s an online degree yes and I’m not the biggest fan of online degrees, but this is more of a focus on administrative type work and duties within higher education.
This degree will better my chances for advancement in the company with which I work, or in my career in general. It will primarily focus on the history of and transformation of higher education.
STEP 2: Think about what type of institution you are interested in. I recently wrote an article about this. The types of colleges available to you. Check out why choosing the type of college can make the biggest difference. The one type of schooling I did not include in this is Online education.
So figure out if you’re more interested in types like: vocational schools, public universities/colleges, private schools, community colleges or online programs. Collegeboard.com provides great resources on this as well. Also, visit your library and/or guidance counselor at school. Most of them have files on stuff like this.
**Let me add this about online education. I am NOT a huge advocate of online education. Most of the degrees offered are those that don’t really require you to be in person for education or classes. Like Nursing degrees should NOT be online. Business, finance or accounting might be okay. This is my personal opinion. But you should really think about you and what you would feel more comfortable with.
It’s NOT a pajamas kind of education either…
Online education is NOT easy, believe me. There is a lot of reading, research and writing that you have to do. Some programs require that you be logged in at certain times. Many of them allow you to log in anytime and supply whatever work required by certain dates. But it’s not as simple as people think it is. Sure you can wear your jammies. Go naked for all I care, but it’s a lot of work and you have to be ready for that.
Once I chose my degree, it was a matter of hooking up with an admissions representative at Argosy. This was easy as they have people who will immediately contact you once you put in your request for information, or call the main line. This is true for any school.
There is a very standard process that most schools have. They like to introduce you to the school and provide you with general information regarding departments, policies and other services provided. Get all the information you need as you begin here.
STEP 3: Collect the info needed to make the right decisions. If you don’t know what career to choose, check out my posts on choosing the careers that fit you, and the process in which you go about that. Here’s one of them. There are several of these articles I wrote that really focuses on personalities, interests and skill set. There are a ton of careers that nobody really thinks about!
The other part of this step is to gather enough information to make the right choice on your degree choice in school. But, also make sure to collect information in admissions as well as whatever financial aid information is necessary so you won’t have to pay a dime for college. Remember: Don’t plan to pay anything for college. Find the ways to get your financing. I wrote about a number of them:
There’s more, but this will get you the information you need.
This step is important as it starts your journey. Ask your admissions representative what information you need to get things started and done. They will help you and usually are completely honest with you. Let me know if you have any further questions or concerns about your admissions rep.
The process is NOT difficult at all. The perception from people is that it is so difficult and that might be why people don’t inquire in the first place.
I’ll come back with my experiences throughout the process of applying like transcript requests, application and class registration.
Keith Lipke is a careers and college recruiter, coach, mentor and blogger at The Hope Chest. His passion is to educate, inspire, and give hope to young people who need it upon their search for the right career and college.