L.L. Plante January 20, 2012

You have seen all the ads on TV, in emails directed to you, and through phone calls that you receive urging you to consider going back to school.  Each school will explain to you that you probably would qualify for a student loan and most will help you complete the necessary forms.  Most schools also offer some type of help towards finding employment once you have graduated.

Stop and think before you sign up.  What are your personal goals for going back to school?  Are you thinking of taking up a new profession?  If so, there are a few things that you seriously need to consider before taking that initial step.  There is a saying that most individuals will have had at least three different career paths during their life time; however what they do not tell you is how difficult it is to obtain a position within that new career field.  For example, if you are thinking of becoming a paralegal, you should be aware that most paralegal jobs listed require two years’ experience.  If you have no previous experience in this field, obtaining your bachelor’s degree in the Paralegal field will not get your foot in the door to a successful new career at what you expect as an annual salary.  However, if you are already working within a law firm in some type of legal position, say perhaps, a legal secretary, then by all means go for it and increase your education!

For those who may be thinking of going back to school to enter a new profession, there are a few things that you need to contemplate first.  The first issue you need to consider is that without experience in your new field the education that you have just completed is almost useless.  The only way around this is to start off working in a lower position within a firm and work your way up the ladder at less income or to offer a firm your free services for the privilege of hands on learning. While this may be something younger adults who still live at home can accomplish, older adults cannot.

The second thing that you should be aware of is that the educational cost of that new profession starts very soon after you have graduated and this cost alone will require that you bring home a good salary (something you cannot accomplish at a low level paying position).  Paying back student loans are a large expense and do not ever go away until fully paid.  The only way that you can get out of paying back student loans is to die; the student loans are forgiven when an individual is deceased.

You really need to strategize and think before being tempted by the big push on today to go back to school.  Look at all your angles and think strongly about what you will be able to accomplish with that new degree; do not take the word of schools or ads who are pushing you to go back to school.

False advertising, or the way things are worded can be confusing.  You must remember that the employees who are trying to convince you to return to school are performing their duties in obtaining as many students as they can; some receive bonuses for how many new students they can attract.   Ads that tell you how much a person can make in a certain profession do not tell you how much experience, besides education, is required before you make those big bucks!