Deciding to return to college to earn another degree is a big decision for most working professionals. It represents a commitment of considerable financial resources, time, and brainpower. All that being said, an estimated three million students made the decision to enroll in U.S. graduate programs in fall 2016.* Many professionals took advantage of the convenience of online degree programs at colleges and universities, and many returned to the familiar environment of their alma mater.
Why are so many people investing in higher education when they have already graduated from college with an undergraduate degree? Here are a few top reasons:
A graduate degree can play an essential role in your career advancement and earning potential. Earning a master’s or doctoral degree indicates to an employer that you have skills and knowledge that could be useful to their business. If you’re newer to the workforce and lack the job experience your co-workers might have, a graduate degree can often offset that difference in the eyes of an employer.
If the prospect of beginning a graduate degree program seems daunting, consider some of the statistics on median annual earnings according to your level of education:†
If you have ever been unemployed, you know what a difficult situation it can be—especially if you’re financially responsible for people other than yourself. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the more education you have, the lower your rate of unemployment.† Simply knowing that a return trip to a college or university can also help to lessen the possibility of future unemployment delivers real peace of mind.
This little advantage has nothing to do with insurance premiums. Rather, individuals with a bachelor’s degree or higher have been shown to smoke less and live longer, and children (aged 2–19) living in their homes had lower rates of obesity.‡
When you return to your alma mater for your master’s or doctoral degree, you may be eligible for scholarship opportunities that could reduce your tuition costs considerably, in addition to other benefits. For instance, alumni returning to Walden University enjoy:
When you enroll in an advanced degree program at your alma mater, you also have the immediate advantage of being familiar with your school’s online learning platform or campus, procedures, and helpful resources.
Regardless of whether you return to your alma mater or choose a new option to guide your educational pursuits, advanced degrees can provide endless opportunities for success in work and life.
*National Center for Education Statistics, Back to School Statistics, on the internet at https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=372#.
†Bureau of Labor Statistics, Career Outlook, Data on display, Education matters, on the internet at www.bls.gov/careeroutlook/2016/data-on-display/education-matters.htm.
‡Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Higher Education and Income Levels Keys to Better Health, According to Annual Report on Nation's Health, on the internet at www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2012/p0516_higher_education.html.
§All tuition reductions, grants, or scholarships are subject to specific eligibility requirements. Contact a Walden University enrollment specialist for details.