As employers demand an increasing range of skills in their employees and continuing professional development is becoming more important, many professionals are going back to college to get the specific expertise they need for a new job, for a promotion, or, in some cases, to retain their current position. Once you have decided why you want to go back to study, you need to be prepared. Work life balance will never be more important as you try to balance study life with work life. Here is a short list of what you need to organise:
1) Talk to your manager – Before making a decision about what to study or where to attend, get some advice from your manager about how your continuing professional education can contribute to the success of the company.
2) Talk to your colleagues who have gone back to school – Discussing your plans with colleagues who have experience with returning to school will give you a better idea about what to expect and what to avoid.
3) Come up with a time management plan – Draw up a time budget that will help you figure out when you can study given your work and family commitments.
4) Ensure that your commitment to your course doesn’t overshadow your commitment to your job – While your employer might be supportive of your decision to go back to school they still expect you to be fully productive on the job.
5) Align your course work with your career work – Most academic programs should have enough flexibility and discretion in assignments that will give you opportunities to tackle work-related projects or problems.
6) Develop a professional network with your classmates – Don’t skimp on the social side of college or school, getting to know your classmates and professors will expand your network, and may be a big chunk of the upside of going back to school.