If you’ve been putting in hours research programs near and far, here’s a quick list of key factors in your decision-making process. Pay close attention to this information, whether you’re seeking an associates or bachelor’s degree, an advanced degree, a certification or pursuing a non-degree program.
- The description: While learning at all stages of life is important, you’re going to want to see a real benefit by devoting time now to school. So, look at the description of the program. Does it give you an idea of the impact on your career? Does it get your excited about this educational endeavor? You want and deserve a program that’s going to be challenging and put you on a path toward professional success. If you’re trying to decide between two types of degrees, weigh your potential earnings by checking out this list of salaries.
- The length of time: How many months or years will it take for you to complete the program? Think about how that timetable may fit with other events (such as having a child, becoming an empty nester, or reaching retirement age) and activities in your life or put you into position to transition to the next phase of your career. You may need a program with more flexibility, or maybe you’re seeking a program with a rigid format where you can’t procrastinate and delay earning your degree.
- The experience: This will quickly take some programs off your list, depending on what type of work and school experience is required or desired. If it’s not made clear on a website, catalog, or brochure, don’t hesitate to ask.
- The feedback: Ask to speak to alumni of the program to get their insight of the benefits, challenges, and quality of the professors and program content. Their perspective may be the deciding factor if two programs appear to have no other differences.
- Your gut: After you’ve done the research and asked the questions, what is your gut telling you? That can be a factor in your decision. When the coursework becomes difficult and if you start to question whether you will actually finish, you’ll remember the feeling you had during this time, when you knew this was the right education program for you.
What other factors did you find crucial in determining the best school and program for you?