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Sure, there’s a certain amount of risk in pursuing a college degree, no matter where you are in life. You may have to rearrange your work schedule, your family might have to change their routines and you could be forced to tweak your social calendar. But here’s the deal: without risk, there is no gain. The good news? You can go to school and still have a life. Here are some proven ways to make it work.

  1. Pick a school that gives you flexibility. With all you have on your plate already, you need a practical approach to getting a degree. Tiffin University lets you go to class online or on campus and take as many classes as you want, depending on how quickly you want to complete your degree. Programs start every January, March, May, July, August and October.
  2. Get your family on board. You going to school affects everyone close to you. If you have a spouse and/or kids, make sure they know how important a degree is to you and ask them to help you succeed. Divide up household chores and driving duties, designate a “study zone” just for you and promise to celebrate together when you meet important milestones.
  3. Talk to your boss. Most companies are very supportive of employees who want to better themselves and sharpen their skills. Tell your boss what you’re doing and agree on a schedule that accommodates your job responsibilities and your school work. While you’re on the subject of education, find out if your company offers tuition reimbursement or scholarships.
  4. Plan what you can. Outlining what’s coming up each week reduces stress and keeps you from overlooking important things. Try scheduling certain times for schoolwork, family activities, meals, household duties and R&R. Leave yourself a cushion if you can to deal with surprises.
  5. Do first things first. It’s okay if proving yourself with a college degree feels a little overwhelming at first. Take a breath, then make sure you spend your time efficiently by prioritizing each item on your to-do list as an A, most urgent and important; B, important but not as urgent; or C, not important or urgent. You’ll be amazed at how easy it is to decide where to invest your time.
  6. Just say no. We agree this one is easier said than done sometimes, but it’s highly recommended if you want to get your degree and have a life. It might mean saying no to a volunteer project, dropping out your running club for a semester or taking fewer classes than you’d like. The trick is to know yourself and what’s important to achieving your goals.

Just a few simple adjustments to your lifestyle and workstyle can put you on the road to earning a college degree and achieving your dreams. Trust us, the risk is well worth the gain.

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