Article originally posted in the Huffington Post, written by: Robert Farrington
Have you ever thought about going back to college? There always seems to be a few reasons that hold you back (like, “I’m too old” or “I don’t have the money”), but if you are honest with yourself, an improved education could benefit you tremendously. In fact, here are five incredibly beneficial reasons for you to invest in your college education and start taking classes again.
1. Improves Your Discipline
When I went back to school for my MBA, I suddenly had much less time on my hands, which forced me to plan each of my days, especially if I wanted to have a little downtime to myself for a weekend. Due to the more difficult schedule, I actually utilized my time so much better. In addition to blocking out time for homework and classes, I was able to schedule in a consistent exercise regimen, date nights with my girlfriend, and even squeezed in some time to teach myself to build websites.
By attending school, I was able to weed out all of the things that I used to waste my time on (like watching TV and playing video games) and fitting in everything that was important to me. Without the pressure of classes, I probably would have just kept wasting my time.
2. Increase Your Earnings Potential
If you only have a high school degree in this day and age, you are put at an immediate disadvantage (which I don’t agree with, but that’s another story). The average incomefor you is $40,000/year. With a bachelor’s degree, your income could increase by $20,000 up to an average of $60,000 per year. And, if you head back to school yet again for your Masters, then you would likely be bumping your income up yet again, with the national average at $81,000 per year.
So, let’s say you head back to your state college and spend $20,000 for your MBA degree. There is no guarantee that you’ll get a promotion, but over the next couple of years you will likely see your pay increase to the average (either by switching to another company, or by getting that sought-after promotion), thereby increasing your wages by $20,000 in that single year! Work for another 20 years and your $20,000 investment has earned you an extra $400,000. I’d say that heading back to school would be worth it, wouldn’t you?
3. Increase Your Knowledge
When I got my MBA, I excitedly went to my mentor with hopes of an immediate promotion. Well, apparently life doesn’t work this way anymore. He basically said, “Yeah, it’s great that you got that piece of paper, but now I want you to show me what you know… What have you done for me lately?” In other words, I need to prove myself in order to get that big promotion that I’ve been hunting for.
Fortunately, I didn’t head back to school simply to say that I was an MBA grad. I absorbed everything that I have learned and am applying it to my work every day. With my schooling, I am now able to look at problems differently and come up with much more effective solutions. My improved knowledge will shine through my work and will soon increase my pay. It will do the same for you too.
4. Tax Credit
If you are earning less than $80,000 as a single or $160,000 as a married couple, then you qualify for this college education tax credit (known as the American Opportunity Tax Credit). By spending more than $2,500 at an accredited institution, you likely qualify for the $2,500 tax credit. This is a fantastic reason to get off your couch and apply to your local college!
5. Increase Your Network
As our world becomes more global and interconnected, jobs are often more difficult to get for those that are not working to increase their network. Personally, I used to think networking events were beyond stupid and a waste of time. You show up to the lobby of a hotel and pretend to care about other people there that just want you for your name and business card. Well, in all fairness, I still believe that these events are stupid, but I now understand the value of a network.
The more corporate friends you make, the more opportunities you will have to move up the ranks in those companies. LinkedIn is a fabulous site that can help you stay connected with your working professional friends. By meeting new people at my work and staying connected, I have been involved in many wonderful opportunities and have gotten promoted because of them!
Do you know one of the best places to meet new people that work in various companies all around you? College. In my last two years of college, I have networked with engineers, nurses, SEO managers, presidents of manufacturing companies, and many others! These friendships have actually opened up a few doors for me as well. Bottom line, make friends, stay in touch, and don’t be afraid to ask about open positions if you are hunting for a different job. These connections are invaluable to you and your future.