Melissa Puls, Vice President for Strategic Partnerships and Advancement
A master’s degree program can increase your depth of knowledge, help you hone critical leadership skills, expand your network, and catapult your career advancement. But even such a worthy educational pursuit can add stress to an already busy life. To make your investment of time and money worthwhile, embrace the endeavor and fully dive into the experience. Start with a positive, purposeful attitude and remember why you’re doing what you’re doing.
Select a Master’s Program that Fulfills a Need or Passion
Before you enroll, be sure the program you choose aligns well with the plans you have for your future self. Almost three-quarters of people pursuing a postgrad degree do so to advance their careers. If you’re on a career path you want to continue, how will this program help you contribute more fully? How might new skills and perspectives better enable you to do your job or move to the next level in your organization?
If your motivation is to pivot away from an unfulfilling career, in which direction do you hope to move? Whether you want to change the world by reshaping public policy or save the planet through sustainability efforts, you can find a degree program to augment your new reality. The best way to get the most out of your graduate school experience is to be passionate about why you are there.
Fit Your Grad Program to Your Life
About 26 percent of people who pursue a master’s do not complete their programs. To increase your odds of being successful, choose a program that fits your lifestyle. Especially if you will work while you attend, time will be precious. Even night classes can be a challenge. Online programs, on the other hand, can provide the same robust curriculum, qualified professors, and engaged students that you would find at a campus location. But the delivery method is flexible and convenient. However you choose to acquire your degree, make sure it fits your life and your timeframe. Setting realistic expectations from the start will help ensure success.
Attend Class and Be Fully Present
It should go without saying that to get the most out of your program, you need to attend class regularly. Be present and engaged. Look for guidelines on the hours you are expected to spend outside of class time. Will you be able to make the commitment? Consider whether you will have the time to dedicate to your studies and what you will need to do to adjust your schedule.
Read the required materials, do the assigned projects, and participate during class time. Especially if you take online courses, check your student portal every day and post to discussion boards as required. Thoroughly read prompts, think before you formulate a response, and answer all parts of every question. Show off your ability to think critically and act responsibly.
Leverage What You Learn in Grad School
Put what you learn in school to immediate use for your career and your life. If you are learning new leadership skills, use them on your job or in your community. If you are learning to incorporate sustainability methods into the workplace, incorporate them. Discovering the benefit of cross-culture tactics that can be used in human resources? Use them.
Connect with Professors and Peers
You don’t just learn from professors; you can also learn from your peers. Connect with them both during and after class. Introduce yourself to your instructor and visit during office hours over the course of the term. When you work with fellow students on projects, take the extra step and ask to connect on LinkedIn or share personal contact info. Your professors and peers could both be valuable resources as you expand your network and further build your career. To take full advantage of your program, don’t let your relationships end with graduation.
The right graduate program truly has the potential to change your life. At Claremont Lincoln University, you can pursue a variety of online, affordable, mission-driven degree programs that you can complete in as few as 13 months. For more information, please contact Leslee Patterson at firstname.lastname@example.org.