Thinking about taking the plunge into new career training or a degree program? Some practical first steps:
Narrow your career focus as much as possible. Maybe you’ve been thinking about switching into a health career field, but you’re not exactly sure what you’d like to do. Do some research on your own through the career portal indianacareerexplorer.com to narrow down your career interests and educational requirements.
Narrow your educational options. Cost, location, convenience, reputation—all these factors matter when choosing to invest your time and money in a degree or certificate program. Understand the criteria that matters most to you, and go for it—for example, if you know that an online program is the only option for you at this stage of your life, it only makes sense to pursue that opportunity.
Visit. Even before COVID-19 made in-person shopping a challenge, students were researching their college options online. Every college or university will be happy to make introductions and offer advice via live chats, phone calls, or video calls.
Ask others for recommendations. Your employer, friends, family and extended community circles might have had experiences with the degree program you’re considering. You wouldn’t dine at a new restaurant without checking with Yelp, would you?
“If you hesitate to map out your future, to make a big plan or to set a goal, you’ve just gone ahead and mapped your future anyway.”
—Seth Godin, entrepreneur and author
List all the challenges. What is likely to prove difficult for you? Childcare, transportation, work demands? Try to anticipate the challenges and come up with the answers so you’re not backed into a corner when the inevitable emergency happens.
List all your resources. Get your team assembled: parents, spouse, kids, co-workers can all make a huge difference in your success. Make sure you ask about college resources, too—is free tutoring available? Tech support?
Do you have experience or credits that will count to get you over the finish line? Make sure you’ve asked for credit for any past coursework, or thoroughly investigated whether your work experience could be applied to your new program. Or, consider a competency-based program that will allow you to prove what you know—and get college credit for it.
WGU Offers New Online Access Scholarship
Is a lack of internet access or computer holding you back from pursuing a college degree? Western Governors University has a program to help students who lack those tools to take classes remotely, including internet access and a computer.
The Online Access Scholarship grants high-speed internet access and a refurbished laptop to qualifying WGU Indiana students. The program covers internet installation and monthly access costs for students in good standing.
According to WGU, 666,000 people in Indiana live without access to high-speed internet and 265,000 live in an area without a wired internet provider available. Nationwide, WGU’s program will provide 5,400 refurbished laptop computers.
To learn more about the scholarship program, visit wgu.edu.