“So why are you pursuing a degree?” Ask a handful of students in programs targeting adult learners (also known as “mature students,” “returning students,” or “non-traditional students”).
Often students write things like, “If I get more education, opportunities will increase.” Or, “To get a better job.” A few wrote, “My company won’t promote me unless I complete this degree.”
Well, the last reason makes sense…if it’s true. The others are (to my mind) wishful thinking.
Education doesn’t guarantee that doors will open. And your choice of school and degree program will influence your opportunities more than the fact that you picked up a degree.
Back when I was a full-time college professor, one student came to me with a question. She already had a Ph.D. in a social science field. She kept asking her boss why she didn’t get promoted. Each time, her boss would say, “Take more business courses.”
Her question was, “I’ve already taken management, finance, accounting, and…lots more! What else should I take?”
I told her the truth: I thought her boss was playing games. I encouraged her to ask, “Is this suggestion real? Or do they keep finding ways to avoid promoting me?”
She had a big “aha” moment.
Another time I taught in a non-traditional doctoral program. One student was determined to teach at a particular university. I encouraged him to visit the university and ask if they hired anyone from our program, ever. They told him “No way.” Meanwhile, he had invested several months and thousands of dollars in our program…which suited some students but wasn’t a match for his goals.
But a degree from the right university can be a first class ticket to a new career.
I once taught a student “Beth” who had just been laid off. Our graduate program got students involved in group projects where they could network and get to know each other.
“Beth” sent her resume to several companies. One copy landed on the desk of “Chuck,” who had just worked with her on a project. Impressed by Beth’s work ethic, he invited her for an interview. Ultimately she got the job. Chuck was willing to take a chance on hiring her for a job in a totaly new field.
Bottom Line: Education can be a ticket to wealth and success…or an expensive detour. And yes, I’ve written a Special Report you can download on returning to school. Check it out here.