If you’re looking to continue your education following your undergraduate studies while also working, be sure to seek support. Sit down and have a conversation with your employer about your educational pursuit. Be sure to discuss your employer’s expectations as well as what assistance or support they may be able to provide—from encouragement to flexibility and even financial assistance.
Tips for working with your employer to continue your education:
- Research programs and schools to get an understanding of what’s offered—not only the program but the format in which it’s delivered along with the cost, anticipated time commitment, etc. Consider in-person and/or virtual programs or a hybrid approach. Talk with the school and consider reaching out to your network or connecting with alumni about their experiences.
- Reflect on your performance. Make a list of past accomplishments in the company and consider how your degree program will provide you with knowledge applicable to your position and not only help you grow but also increase your value to your employer.
- Check with your employer to see if they have partnered with colleges to provide free courses specific to your career or if they offer training incentives or certificate programs for skills that are relevant to your career and personal growth. Perhaps they offer tuition assistance or reimbursement based on certain criteria.
- Inquire. Even if a company doesn’t mention tuition reimbursement on its website or in literature, it’s okay to ask if they can provide any help in exchange for what you bring to the table.
- Involve your employer in the process early on by letting them know your intentions and seeking their support. Are they on board with your plans, and are they willing to serve as a reference, provide a recommendation and/or assist with schedule flexibility, moral support or even financial assistance?
- Perform. If you are fortunate enough to receive assistance, make sure it is renewed each semester and keep up your end of the bargain. Earn good grades, don’t let classes interfere with work and give your company notice before each semester begins, rather than relying on your boss to remember.
Use your skills and learning to enhance your work and celebrate your successes. Share the value of your education and welcome moral support from your team to help you earn your new credential or graduate with your new degree.