career tips

5 tips for going back to school while working full-time

These tips will help you boost your skills by going back to school without quitting your day job

Whether you’re looking to grow your skill set, advance in your current role, or take on a new position, going back to school can be a great option. The downside? School can be expensive, time consuming, and may conflict with your current job. There are ways to further your education, however, without breaking the bank or putting your career on hold. Here are 5 tips for going back to school while working full-time from a Thomson Reuters employee who has done it.

1. Consider online courses

There are thousands of courses and degree programs that are affordable and available online.  Some of the top schools in the United States offer flexible programs that allow you to complete your degree on your own time, while still interacting with peers and professors.  Check out the top 50 most affordable online MBA programs of 2018. 

2. Does your company offer tuition assistance? 

Check to see if your employer offers tuition assistance or reimbursement. Thomson Reuters offers a Tuition Reimbursement Program for undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate studies, which provides financial assistance to employees to improve their current position, prepare for future responsibilities, make a career change within the company, or to further prepare employees for a leadership role within the company.   

3. Keep your manager informed

You’ll need support from your manager, so make sure that you have a conversation with them about your plan. Begin by explaining why you’re going back to school, and be open and honest, and show how the company and your team will benefit when you earn your degree. Be prepared to discuss what your potential schedule will look like and how long you believe it will take to receive your degree. If you believe your workload may impact your ability to complete your degree, discuss the possibility of needing reduced or flex hours. Once you begin your coursework, keep your manager up-to-date by letting them know what classes you’re taking and how what you’re working on can make an impact in your job. 

4. Create a schedule and stick to it 

Carve out time every week to focus strictly on your course work and stick to it. For example, if you know that you’re going to spend about 12 hours per week on coursework, then set aside 3 hours on Wednesdays and Thursdays and 6 hours on Saturdays. If you aren’t going to campus for your course, then consider stopping by a coffee shop during this time to eliminate any distractions that may be waiting for you at home. 

5. Use real life examples in your work

Be sure to connect school life to real life by integrating real work-related scenarios to your coursework. For example, if you are taking an Operations Management class and have been tasked with creating a new process for a business, find a process in your organization that you think can be improved, and use that for your project. Once you’ve completed it, share your ideas and strategy with the appropriate people in your organization and see if it can be put to use! 

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