Does it make sense for you to get more education?

Hi, Caitlin Faas here. I help busy professionals like you integrate graduate school seamlessly into your lives with productivity tips and career direction. Today, I want to talk about, is going back to school right for you and is more education right for you in general.

A lot of times I see potential clients have swirling thoughts in their head about “Should I go back and would this be good for me?”

And they're kind of starting to think about what will work out like, “Yeah, I think I’ll be good for this and I think it’ll do that, but maybe it’ll take a lot of my time.” But it’s all swirling up here and only the thoughts that pop up are the ones that kind of keep resurfacing and it's jumbled. It's just very jumbled.

What I want you to do today if you're in this boat is really break down your cost and benefit analysis.

I want you to write this down. I want you to think about “What is this going to do for me financially?” If you don't know how to find the nitty-gritty on what will happen if you go to this graduate program, you should be able to find easily the salaries of someone who has this degree. What is their salary? If you don't know where that is, send me a note and we’ll check because I'm happy to help you figure that out for your specific profession. You should be able see that line by line and you know what you make right now – Write this down.

You know what you make right now, what will I make after this program?

What does this program cost me financially and how will bridge in between? There's a lot of conversations in between there and I also have resources for that and can send you some great people that are talking about helping graduate students with finances. So we've got those pieces of cost benefit analysis of your financial situation. You're going to write that down on one sheet.

Then I want you to think about what this will do for your time.

You know that going to school is going to take your time, but do you have the time right now? Are you in a place where you can say, “Oh, it's okay if I need to do this in the evenings five days a week.” It's also starting to figure out exactly how much time will this program take me.

You may have a rough idea in your head. A graduate adviser might say to you, “It’ll probably take about this…” But talk to some first or second in years that are in the program. Get a realistic perspective from them. Are they working every single night and weekends or do they feel like there's a good balance and what does that look like for your time schedule? Is this worth the time that you would put in? The answer is a time sheet, so to speak, on your cost benefit analysis.

And then the last thing would be about resources both professionally and personally like, “What resources do you need to use to make this happen?

And so one example would be if you know that this is going to take a lot of your time and maybe you need childcare to support you to do this, do you have resources that can help with that so someone else in the home that is going to take on more of a child care role or you're able to hire somebody because your financial situation is pretty good and you're able to make room for that into your budget or family members – all kinds of resources that you could rely on as you go through this graduate school process.

If you think about these things upfront, you're able to prepare to go into your program much more smoothly rather than some graduate students feel lost in this process while they're in the middle of their program.

I can also help with that. So reach out to me if you're struggling. There are a lot of people going through this process and you're not alone.