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Phoenix Forward magazine

5 reasons to go back to school

Eating healthier. Working out more. Quitting smoking. Drinking less. Taking the stairs rather than the elevator. These are all admirable lifestyle changes.

But setting self-improvement goals that transform your mind can be just as rewarding as those that strengthen your body. One to consider: returning to college and getting a degree. In addition to being gratifying and confidence-boosting, this particular change can also redefine your career options and — as a result — has the potential to improve your financial situation and life as well.

“Once you commit yourself to your education, it can change many aspects of your life,” says Tracy Barton, PhD, instructor in the higher education doctoral program at the University of Phoenix Columbus Ohio Campus.

Here are five other reasons to consider returning to college:


It will give you an edge over those who don’t have degrees.

Completing your degree will make you more marketable to employers so you can get a better job. “There are currently more than 3 million jobs out there, and employers can’t find qualified people with the appropriate skills to fill those positions,” Barton says.

“Having that education is going to put you above of the rest of the applicants.”


You’ll sharpen your computer skills.

Whether attending online or in a physical classroom, students today are required to learn and utilize technology to complete their coursework, from creating PowerPoint® presentations to conducting research online, Barton says.

Because the business environment is constantly changing, she adds, even if you’re already tech-savvy, a college degree can help build on your skills and make you more competitive in the workplace.


It could improve your communication style.

Employers demand that people know how to communicate effectively and work within a team. “By working in small groups on collaborative assignments and projects in a college atmosphere,” Barton points out, “you will be more prepared for collaboration in the workplace.”


You can more easily support loved ones.

“Studies show that if you have a bachelor’s degree, you will make more money over your lifetime than you do if you have an associate, or a high school diploma,” says retired Army Col. Garland H. Williams, PhD, associate regional vice president of the University of Phoenix Military Division, citing a Department of Labor study finding that those with bachelor’s degrees earn an average of $1 million more than people with no higher education.


You’ll set a good example for your family.

Going back to school raises the bar for your kids. “By setting aside time to do homework,” Barton says, “you are promoting education and literacy, and creating a legacy for your children to follow.”

PowerPoint is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corp. in the U.S. and/or other countries.

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