(Closed) Graduate School after a several year school hiatus? Please weigh in.

posted 4 years ago in The Lounge
Post # 2
271 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2014


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soulful1 :  I am currently pursuing my MBA while working full time, managing a 1 year old, and am expecting my second child in January.  It can be scarey to go back and fell that you are taking time away from your family, but you must remember why you are committed to doing it. 

The key to success for my experience is balance and a strong support system.  I am currently enrolled in a 100% online program that has classes beginning every month, completing one class at a time.  The cost is affordable, especially with the tuition reimbursement offered by my company.  I am in constant communication with my boss and husband to determine if my schoolwork is causing me to ignore my #1 responsbilities.  I get frustrated feeling that this is going to take forever to graduate, however, I found the balance of me being able to do it all.

Be sure to do lots of research to determine which programs are right for you, or if now is even a good time.  I don’t think reaching one of your goals should ever “get in the way”.  You could do just one class and see how you like it and determine if its too much or if you are able to handle more than one class.  It never hurts to try it out!  Good luck 🙂

Post # 3
26 posts

My mom went back to school when she was like 41 ot 42 for a 3 year masters program part time… a total career change. My sister and I were in like kindergarten and 2nd grade. It was hard, way back before online classes were a thing so she did a lot of commuting! She literally is constantly telling me how happy she was that she went back to school. 

In the span of your career, 2 years is such a short time. 2 years will fly by before you know it, and if you are really diliberating it this much, I have a feeling you will regret it if you don’t do it. Go for it!

Post # 4
305 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2017

My mom took many night classes along the way because she had kids when she was 20. I think it was hard for her but ultimately fufilling. Her work paid for a portion of it because the classes she took were in a related field. 

Post # 5
163 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: June 2017

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soulful1 :  I am in my 30s and work full time, own a house, and am in college part time. I went to college when I was 17 screwed around/partied too much, dropped out and joined the Navy. It was always my life long goal to finish my bachelors so I’m now finishing my senior year of college. I go to school 4 days a week, those days are 12 hour days with work and I spend my weekends studying. I have no social life whatsoever. It does suck,  but I know when I graduate I can get a job that I actually like so that is what keeps me going. We’ve decided to put off babies until after I graduate (if we have them at all) because I couldn’t imagine doing what I’m doing now and having a child on top of it. It sounds busy, but I’m totally used to the routine and I’m pretty sure you could get used to it too.

I’ve considered going for my Masters after I finish my BS, but I gurantee I’ll be putting it off just like you. It is hard and a lot of work! However, a lot of people that I know that are going for their Masters now are doing it online. That might make it a little “easier” if you can look into those programs. At least you’ll be spending less time in class 🙂 I don’t know if I’m helpful. Schools hard, it is expensive, but the acheivement at the end is totally worth it. I say follow your dreams, try it for a semester and see how you feel? Good luck!

Post # 6
883 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2015

I strongly believe in the imporance of education. I went to an Ivy League undergrad, and have a master’s degree and a PhD. However, my advanced degrees were absolutely REQUIRED for the field that I wanted to enter. I would not have been able to get my dream job without both advanced degrees.

I do not get the same sense of NEED from your post. Unless you have a very clear vision of exactly what field you want to enter, what position you want to have, and how your master’s degree will help you get there, I don’t think it will be worthwhile to pursue a master’s.

You can invest in yourself in so many other ways – reading widely, pursuing free online courses, investing in your health and your passions. Don’t feel like you should get a master’s degree just to check it off your bucket list. It is a LOT of expense, and a LOT of work, and you should be very sure that it will provide very tangible gains! Otherwise, it will get in the way of more worthwhile goals of yours (you mentioned saving for a house, and having time for relationships/marriage/baby).

Post # 7
704 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2016

DH just actually finished his application for a masters program. We are putting off TTC and this is one of the reasons. With his current job he would have a tough time advancing much further. And we want a lifestyle where I am a Stay-At-Home Mom because we know it works better for us, but we know we need to hit the 100k mark. The program will cost almost 20k but his job does provide a bit so that will help, but with the degree he will most likely be able to make another 20k a year. He is 30, it’s all about balance and we know it’ll make things more stressful and harder but we will work as a team. Is all the hard work going to pay off and get what you want in life?

Post # 9
1989 posts
Buzzing bee

Since you have an english degree, can you get accepted into a psychology grad program? I don’t know much about psychology, but it seems like you would need some sort of psych undergrad in order to get into a grad school program.

Can you leverage your english degree and get into research writing/grant writing for a hospital? I would think your english degree would allow you to get your foot in the door in that type of setting, where you might be able to gain work experience that would allow you to A) see if you really like it B) potentially get your employer to pay for schooling. 

I dont want to be a debbie downer, but it sounds like a lot of work and expense to try something new out. I would try to leverage what you’re doing now and your current certifications to shift into the type of work you want to do, versus starting all over from scratch. It sounds like you don’t like your current position, but I don’t know if that’s because your english degree is useless. 

Grad school in a totally new field would probably consume most of your life and available $$ the next few years. I think you’re the only one who can decide if it’s really worth it, based on what else you are hoping to accomplish in the next few years.

Post # 10
1697 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2016

I worked for several years before returning to graduate school. I think that work experience is a huge benefit in my program, and people who have worked before returning to grad school are often successful because of their ability to draw on real-world experiences. I am in a health masters program. Since you mentioned you are interested in psychology, and have an English degree, I think you should research some programs and see what are the requirements to apply. As well as the potential for employment in your field after graduation, and average salaries for those positions.


I personally believe that education is an investment in yourself. If it will increase your skills, allow you to pursue passions, and make a comfortable/livable salary doing so, then it’s worth going back to grad school. Additionally, if helping others is a motivation for you, then you may find a health career very rewarding! 

Post # 11
9519 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper

It is more challenging to go back to school as you get older but if you want to go this is the time. It will have more challenges if you do have children. 

I went back to school at 33 to do a degree very different than my undergraduate. I have a BFA in Costume Design and Scenic Design but I could not find opprotunities that were engaging and as fulfilling as I would have wanted where I live. I went for Hotel Administration as it would allow growth in another industry. It is extremely luckly tht I found a job that I can use both my background and my new education. I finish grad school in December. There were times that I felt I was wasting time, effort, my sanity, money for a useless grad degree but it was worth it in the end. I hope you can be as lucky.

I found strength to do this as I saw my mother go to college in her 30’s while being a single mother, working full time. She completed her undergraduate in her 30’s and went back for her Masters in her 40’s. She now teaches at the same University she attended.

My Grandmother was depressed after my Grandfather died so she went back to school in her 50’s for a Masters in Psychology. She became a family counselor to help others through their grief. Her children were grown by then and I was a baby. 

You can do further education at any age. If it is a life goal you should pursue it! You only have one life. Better make the most of it. 

Post # 13
883 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2015

Have you researched job placement and starting salaries for people who complete the program you’re interested in? Have you talked to students who are near graduation, or recent graduates, to find out about their job hunting experiences?

I agree with the PP who suggested it might be wise for you to try to get involved in the field of psychology prior to starting the master’s, and see if you can get the master’s partially paid for by your employer.

For example, what about a research coordinator position? I know someone who took a research coordinator position at a university, and was thus able to complete her master’s degree for free! (And that’s at an expensive, private university!)

If you don’t know much about research coordinators, when somone has been funded to complete a research project, they often hire a research coordinator to run the “day-to-day” activities of the research. You might be enrolling patients, doing informed consent, overseeing research activities, organizing and coordinating with partners, keeping track of data, etc. These positions can be based at hospitals, universities, or outside agencies (like nonprofits).

It’s possible you could find a research coordinator position for a clinical psychology research grant. Your experience in admin and background in English could be very useful, and it could help you get your foot in the door in a new field. And if it’s based at a university that allows employees to enroll for free or reduced tuition, you’d be in a great position!

Post # 14
997 posts
Busy bee

I don’t think grad school will get in the way, but I would caution against incurring debt to get a masters in a field where it isn’t valued as much as experience.  If you’re going to take on some debt, then I argue there needs to be an increase in earning potential.  Getting a masters for sheer personal edification isn’t worthwhile in my opinion.

Post # 15
511 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2017

I don’t have much advice for you but my best friends parents are both psychologists and found that they were having a tough time finding career opportunities with their Master’s and decided to get Doctorate degrees. Psychology is a very competitive as there are many people with the degree and from what her parents have told us, you essentially need a doctorate to get a good job in that degree field. That friend wanted to do psychology but decided not to because she doesnt want to spend 8+ years in school. 

If you get your masters and it is nearly as useless as your bachelors degree, would you be willing to go back again for a doctorate to make it worth your while? Just something to consider. 

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