“There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.” - Colin Powell

According to a 2016 study, more than a third of UK graduates regret attending university. Unfortunately, they only realise this once they’ve done it. Perhaps, the course they chose was the problem. Going back to university or starting a course once you’ve entered the world of work may seem difficult, but it’s not impossible.

Whether it’s IT training, studying to be an engineer, getting some A-Levels, or studying a short course, getting your education right the second time around might be really good for your career.

Improving Your Career by Going Back to School

Your decision to go back to school might be a quick decision or the result of a lot of careful consideration. You might come to this conclusion after months of thinking about your career and your daily life. Whatever your reasons for it, you need to ask yourself a few questions about how it’ll help you before you do it.

You first need to think about why you’re going to study more.

How can you improve your career?
Lifelong learning is a great way to improve your career prospects. (Source: StockSnap)

Are you changing careers or vying for a promotion?

Once you’ve worked out your objectives, you can start looking for appropriate courses or training. If you’re unsure about which one to choose or don’t know where to turn, make sure the course will teach you exactly what you need to learn. Try not to choose the first course you find.

Have a look at the admissions procedure for the course. You mightn’t have the necessary qualifications to get on the course and you might need to put together an application or even a portfolio if it’s a course in the arts. Additionally, you may need to brush up on certain things before you start the course or apply to it.

You need to make sure that you can fit the course around your lifestyle. Juggling a family and your studies can be difficult so make sure you have a backup plan if you end up dropping up.

Finally, if you’re changing careers, make sure that you’re not moving into a field that’s saturated or that you’ll struggle to find work in. Make sure you carefully look at all the available opportunities.

In terms of continuing education, you can choose from:

  • University degrees
  • Professional training
  • Industry-specific training
  • General skills courses
  • Distance learning
  • Short courses and evening classes
  • Etc.

Have a look at your CV and consider doing a skills appraisal to find out what you need to learn. Everyone’s needs are different and what you need to learn will vary depending on your situation. Consider noting down all your ideas to make things a little clearer.

Adult learners can be successful when they return to school as they've done it all before and hopefully won't make the same mistakes that students do the first time they attend colleges and universities. An adult learner can also apply for a student loan and student aid for childcare so have a look at all the options available to you. Similarly, if you're looking for a career change, further study could help you get that new career.

Learn more about the benefits of being a mature student.

Appraise Your Skills

After having worked for a long time, it can be difficult working out what you need to study. Your skills and knowledge aren’t the same as they were when you left school. This is why it’s recommended that you appraise your skills.

How can you do a skills appraisal?
Appraising your skills is a good way to work out what you need to do. (Source: StockSnap)

A skills appraisal can help you focus on your skills as well as your professional aspirations. By asking yourself various questions, you’ll see what skills you have and what skills you need. You’ll also see exactly how much you need to learn and the type of studies you should do.

A career counsellor or career coach can do a skills appraisal for you and there are also plenty of sites and resources you can refer to online. Once you’ve done your appraisal, you’ll have a better idea of whether or not you need to study and the type of courses you can do. This will help you make the right decision for your career. Think of the appraisal as a way to answer all the questions you may have. It can help you find your way.

Adult students should probably have more life experience. They are older students, after all.

Find out more about the cost of being a mature student.

Working Out What You’ve Got to Do

As you’ll have understood, going back to school isn’t a decision you should take lightly. Even if the idea may pop into your head, you’ll need to think it over carefully. There are a lot of things to take into account when choosing courses or training.

How can you create a career plan?
Once you've appraised your skills and know what your goals are, plan how you're going to achieve them. (Source: rawpixel)

If you decide to enrol in a course, you’ll need to balance your family life and your life as a student as well as your career if you’re still going to be working while you study. It’s recommended that you find out how much work is involved before you start. There’ll probably also be homework, coursework, presentations, or maybe even work placements.

Work placements can be complicated if you’ve already got a job so to avoid being overwhelmed, you might want to think about all of this before making your final choice. Don’t hesitate to ask the course leader or teachers about what’s involved and whether it’ll fit into your life.

Returning to school isn't a decision to take lightly, especially for working adults who want to attend college, are considering earning a degree, or thinking about enrolling on a lifelong learning course. Keep in mind that those who attend school now may have a vastly different experience to you. It might be worthwhile talking to them.

Find personal development courses near me.

Talk to Former Students

Another way to decide whether or not a course is right for you is to ask those who’ve already done the course. They’ll have a better idea of exactly how much work is involved and what the course is like. There may also be other mature students who understand your situation and their experience could help you better understand whether the course is feasible or not.

What are they doing now? Did the course help them change careers? What are the pros and cons of the course?

These are all things you need to ask former students about it. To find former students, you might want to look for groups on Facebook, for example.

Most students will be happy to share their thoughts and feelings about the course. Think about getting in touch with a few of them since not everyone will have had the same experience.

While you might think going back to college or university is easy, schooling might have changed a lot since you were there and schooling can be difficult for returning students who aren't used to it.

Find out more about being a mature student.

Ask Your Friends and Family

Before deciding to go back into formal education, you might want to ask your friends and family about it. It won’t be easy at home if you’ve got kids, for example. You’ll need to be able to study but also ensure that everything at home runs smoothly, too. Parental support may also play a part in your decision as they might be able to watch the kids while you’re doing exams or just provide moral support.

This is why it’s important to make sure that your friends and family are on board. If you don’t have their support, you’ll be more likely to give up. However, you need to choose a course that still leaves you enough time to do everything else that you need to do. Distance learning might be a good idea, for example.

How can you balance work and studies?
Balancing work and studies can be tricky. (Source: 28703)

If your friends and family support you, it’ll be easier to get a few free hours to attend lessons. They could also help you work out what you can do with your new qualifications. It’s always a good idea to have a second opinion.

You should also try and get your current employer’s blessing if you’re going to study alongside work. Your boss may be more flexible when you’ve got exams.

Find self confidence courses with a personal development coach.

Think About What You Want

If you’re not motivated, you won’t get very far. Think about what you want to do and make sure it’s something that you’ve always been interested in. Going back to school is a second chance that you can’t let pass you by and you wouldn’t want to change careers and find yourself in a worse place than before.

Make a note of what you’d like to do more than anything else in the world. Then start looking for how you can make it a reality. The more motivated you are, the more likely you’ll be successful so don’t hesitate to do what you’ve always dreamed of.

Keep in mind that going to school doesn't necessarily mean that you have to earn a degree or go to college as part and do an adult learning course, there's also online learning and private tutorials. If you can't return to university, consider looking at nontraditional courses, like an online degree or distance learning. Online classes or online courses might be the way to if you can't give up your job.

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