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Should You Go Back to School?

You have been looking for a job, but you haven't had much success.  Now you are exploring the possibility of going back to school.  However, you don't want to invest all of that time and money just to end up back where you are now.  Here are some factors to consider when thinking about going back to school:

  • How much will it cost?  Crunch the numbers and determine how much money you would have to invest.  This includes tuition, books, materials, and lost income (if you would have to stop working during this period).
  • How long would it take?  When can you realistically expect to reap the benefits of taking this program?
  • Is this institution and program recognized by professionals working in your field?  Talk to your networking contacts, do research, and conduct information interviews.  If the institution does not have a strong reputation or if the program is not widely recognized, then it is probably not worth your time.
  • Are these skills in demand?  Even the strongest candidate will continue to be unemployed if their skills are not in demand.  Do the labour market research, and scan job advertisements to assess if the skills that you would be gaining at school would qualify you for positions that are actually available.
  • Is there anything that you can do while you are at school that will increase the likelihood of getting a position once you graduate?  Is there a co-op program?  Are there networking or mentoring programs?  Are there any opportunities to work during the summer?  Taking advantage of these opportunities can put you ahead of the game when you are looking for work.

Going back to school is a significant investment and the decision should not be made lightly.  It is expensive, time consuming, and sometimes you are no further ahead.  However, in some cases, it can give you the edge that you need to secure your dream position.  If you do your research, analyze the costs and the benefits,  and keep your goals in mind, you will be in a good position to determine if going back to school is your best option.


(Photo From: Grant Cochrane /