Education 101: 7 important steps for choosing the right degree program
These days you are likely to come across many people who vilify higher education as a waste of time. They encourage you to learn a skill instead and use the money you would rather pay in tuition fees to invest in a venture.
Now, while nothing is wrong with learning extra skills and investing money in profitable ventures, let it be known that nothing replaces education. If you approach education with the right mindset, the benefits you can derive from it outweigh the cost of getting it.
This article, therefore, aims to help you out in this regard. Higher education can open new horizons for you, but you must be prepared to undertake this journey. You probably will not get instant results, but you will be better off in the long run if you do things the right way.
Choosing the right degree program is vital to make the most of it. Many people simply follow the crowd when it should be a decision tailored to your customized needs. So, this article lays down the steps to help you choose the right degree program.
1. Review present options
You cannot walk into a blind alley, pick a random option, and expect things to work out. It does not work like that; rather, the first step is to review all present options to decide on the right track.
Do you want to pursue higher education in your hometown? How many colleges offer the program you are looking for? Do they carry the right accreditation? For instance, if you are a registered nurse, you might want to check out some cheap RN to BSN programs for career progression. The point is that once your options are clear, you should be able to make a better comparison.
2. Be clear about your ambitions
People are often advised to be clear about their ambitions, but many of us like to take things as they come. While reflexivity can help you in various areas of life, education is not one of them if you have the luxury of choosing.
You need to be clear about your ambitions. Ask yourself why you even want to go to college. What is going to college going to do for you? What can you do with a degree? Notice the last two questions look at the same qualification from different angles. This is how you should prepare your mindset.
3. List down your objectives
This is an extension of the previous point. If you are clear about your ambitions, you should be able to list down a few objectives. It is highly recommended that these objectives be realistic and well-thought-out because they will keep you going when you think of giving up.
List down three important objectives that will create a mental framework for you to decide on your future. If needed, you can go into the specifics and discuss your objectives in detail. But that is totally up to you; you can customize this process to your requirements.
4. Create a career roadmap
At this stage, you should be evaluating real-world scenarios. It is highly recommended that you drop idealism at this stage and see things as they are rather than how you want them to be. If you live in a small town and want to continue living there, are you sure you would be able to find a high-paying job with that degree in astrophysics?
So, assess things wisely. You should have a roadmap for your career. Start by answering a couple of questions in this regard. Where do you intend to find work after graduation? How much do you expect to make at your first job? Are there chances of growth in the sector you are interested in? Does the profession satisfy you intellectually or personally? Once you have a career roadmap, you should be able to move on to the next step.
5. Consider other opportunities
Many think of a degree program as limited to attending classes and finishing assignments. There is a lot more to it. Let us illustrate this with an example.
For most MBA programs, networking is an important aspect. While networking is not a requirement of the degree, it can help you expand your horizon and open various opportunities for you. So, if you are considering MBA, you would want to go to a university that offers you the right opportunities to build your network.
6. Compare program costs
Now that you have many important variables sorted out, you need to investigate its affordability. With tuition being expensive, you want to decide on something that is affordable and offers the highest returns on investment. Sometimes, spending a bit higher than your budget is worth it if the returns are going to be high. This applies to universities in the top tier.
So, compare program costs and list the pros and cons of each program. Moreover, see if the colleges you are considering offer scholarships or financial assistance. Sometimes these opportunities are available, but we overlook them out of sheer ignorance. Therefore, better to investigate everything you can before you decide.
7. Assess difficulty
This is a subjective process; you can only get the right results if you are honest with yourself. Idealism aside, can you do that technical degree even if you set your heart and mind to it? Are you interested enough to put in extra hours of hard work to ace it? Do you have the required skills, or can you build them in the limited time you have?
See, these questions need to be answered with the utmost honesty. You cannot do well at something if you are not confident about handling the challenges it poses. Speak to others in the field or some recent graduates to develop a better understanding of the situation.
Choosing the right degree program can be easy if you follow the right steps. Review your options, be clear about your ambitions, list your objectives, create a roadmap, consider other opportunities, compare program costs, and assess difficulty. These steps should help you make the