Not all of us pursue higher education as soon as we leave school. Some of us opt to focus on other things, such as taking a job up straight off the bat, family or traveling. Some of us will take a degree, but change our minds about our chosen specialism or career later down the line. Whatever your reason for considering a return to education, here’s everything that you should consider before filling in your college application forms.
What Do You Want To Study?
Nowadays there’s a degree course in just about every area you could imagine. A good way to decide what courses to check out is to decide whether you want to take part in an academic course or a more vocational course. Academic courses spread across categories such as the humanities (which consist of English literature, history, philosophy, classics, anthropology, and archeology), the sciences (chemistry, biology, physics), and languages. These studies are often critical and center around thinking and theory. Vocational courses take a more upfront and tangible approach, giving students the knowledge and practice that they need to fulfill the demands of a particular job role. If you want to study to take the opportunity to expand your understanding of the world and the individuals who inhabit it, academic courses may be the best option for you. You will be able to engage with professionals in the field, discussing theories with them and your classmates. If you are looking to study in order to gain the necessary qualifications for a particular job role, you will more likely find vocational courses to be better suited to your wants and needs. A degree in philosophy, for example, will alter your perception of various things in the world, such as morality and subjectivity. On the other hand, licensed clinical social worker degrees will give you the paper degree to be hired as a professional social worker and the skillset and specialist knowledge required to excel in the role. So, take your time when you decide what you want to study. After all, you’ll be spending the next three to six years of your life studying your chosen area. You should also compare syllabi between different higher education institutes, as different schools will offer different modules and classes.
Where Do You Want to Study?
Once you know what you want to study, it’s time to start deciding where you want to study. There are higher education institutes almost anywhere that you could imagine. Chances are that you could stay close to home, studying somewhere that requires little to no movement or you could alternatively opt to study somewhere on the other side of the world, in a country with a foreign language to your native tongue. This isn’t going to be an easy decision to make, so you need to take all of your personal circumstances into consideration. If you have dependent family members, such as children, or a partner who you can’t bear to be away from for extended periods of time, you should start checking out local options. If you have fewer responsibilities and a strong sense of wanderlust, this could be the perfect opportunity to spread your wings and see a little more of the world. You could also take this opportunity to become fluent in another tongue, which can open up all sorts of doors and opportunities to you in the future. Make sure to go to open days when possible. These are special events that colleges hold to allow you to look around the institute and meet some of the academic staff who work there.
What Pace Would You Prefer?
Most institutions offer both full time and part time courses. The average full-time degree course will take you three years, while a part-time course can span around six years. This is entirely dependent on your personal preference. If you want to knuckle down and get the studies out of the way, full-time is the way to go. If you need to work longer hours around your degree, part-time will allow you to work in both roles to your full potential. Many courses will also allow you to take time out if you experience changes in circumstances during your studies, such as maternity or paternity leave, illness or other lifestyle changes. Remember that the institute is there to help you to achieve your greatest potential.
What Qualifications Do You Need?
Qualifications for higher education vary depending on your chosen college and your preferred course. However, admissions tend to be a little more flexible when it comes to accepting mature students. After all, you have more life experience and may have already shown proficiency in a similar area. So never be hesitant to ask. Find contact details for admissions tutors and tutors listed on the course that you are interested in. A quick conversation will let you know everything you need to know about the application process and what you will need to be accepted onto the course. Just remember to be polite and professional at all times. First impressions are always important and you want to portray yourself in the best light possible. Also, remember to address your first email to academics using their correct title. This will most often be doctor or professor. For a more personal interaction, ask for more information at open days. Treat it as a networking event where you can make a certain tutor root for your admittance on your behalf. Have reliable references ready and available to put a good word in for you too!
So, if you’re considering a return to higher education, bear these simple steps in mind. Following each step will ensure that you choose the right course, college, and pace for yourself. Within no time you will be learning new information on a regular basis. By the time you have completed your degree, you will have truly earned your diploma alongside acquiring the knowledge and skills necessary to push your career and life path forward in an entirely positive direction.