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How To Pay For Your Masters Degree – Cutting Tuition Costs!

With both in-state and out-of-state tuitions climbing at a similar rate as gasoline, many potential graduate students are finding themselves wondering if pursuing an advanced degree is really a good investment. For many of us, the thought of taking on more dept is terrifying and enough to prevent us from going back to school. Before you abandon the idea of higher education, you should be aware that there are a few ways to avoid these climbing tuition costs.

1. Since most universities offer tuition waivers to employees, consider getting a job on campus. Even if the job is entry level and low paying, the money that you save on school might still make it worthwhile. Do the math! Getting a job on campus is a great idea for several other reasons as well: working on campus will give you the opportunity to meet faculty in a more casual environment and this may help you when it comes time to apply. Further, working in your field might give you the opportunity to publish an academic manuscript, and this is a tremendous advantage when being considered for admission.

2. Many employers will pay for a portion or all of your tuition if they perceive your pursuit of an advanced degree as transforming you into a more valuable employee. When you approach your boss, present a good argument convincing him or her that it would be a great investment to send you to graduate school. In return, you may be required to agree to work for this employer for a certain number of years, but this is usually a fair trade off.

3. Going to school part-time is another good way to offset the cost of tuition. Taking a few classes at a time will allow you to spread the cost of school over a longer period of time. Further, it will limit the amount of lifestyle changes required of going to school full time. It's also a good idea to test the waters before jumping in because this also gives you the opportunity to see if you really do enjoy studying a particular topic at the graduate level.

4. Some programs will offer "graduate assistantship opportunities" once you are accepted to the program. These are on-campus jobs designed with graduate students in mind. Examples include dormitory advisors, laboratory mangers, and teacher's assistants. These jobs are staffed by graduate students in return for a tuition waiver (partial or full).

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Career Planning

Career planning can be an exciting time. However, people often worry about the process, instead of embracing it. Look at it this way, the future is a blank slate and you can go in a number of different directions. Career planning shouldn’t be a time of worry, but a time of hope. People worry that they might choose the wrong career path. Instead, look at the glass half full: you might choose the best possible career.

In order to make that a reality, you need to plan accordingly. You can’’t just open the classifieds, point your finger blindly at a job, and say "that’s how I’m going to spend the rest of my life!"  Career planning is life planning, —it determines how you might spend the next several decades, if not your entire life up to retirement.

It is no wonder then that people are daunted about making such a long-term commitment. Remember that career planning doesn’t just involve what you want to do for a living, nine to five. It also encompasses many other facets of your life.

For instance, when planning a career, you should ask yourself these questions: do you want to make a lot of money? Do you want to live in a big city or a small town? Right there you’’ve already started planning a career. Suppose you say that you don’t want to make a lot of money but you do want to live in a big city. This narrows your options somewhat because the cost of living is much higher in cities than in small towns or outlying suburbs.

Suppose you want to make a lot of money but want to live away from a big city. There are a number of companies that have corporate offices far away from the city, so this again narrows your choices to certain types of employment.

Of course, the most important question is what exactly you want to do with your time. The main thing to consider is a mixture of skill and enjoyment. How skilled are you at a particular job and how much do you enjoy it. More often than not these two things overlap, as people are skilled at jobs they enjoy, and vice versa.

If you are just entering the workforce, you might not yet know about your skill level, as you may have never held down a full time job. Even so, many of the skills you already have will apply to the job. Take a careful look at jobs in the industry that interests you. If possible, talk to people who are in the profession so you can get a good sense of what it is they do every day. You may just find that you’re up to the task.

Whatever the circumstance, you want to know that there’s some room for advancement. More than not, a person entering the workforce will have to take an entry-level position. An entry-level position implies that you’ll be able to climb up the ladder as time goes on. Talking to people in the same industry—or, ideally, at the same company—will give you an idea about the rate of advancement.

Too often people take whatever job they can get. Don’t let this be you. When planning a career, try to be a little bit selective. In the long run, you’ll be a lot happier.

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Real World Experience is Essential Before Heading the Graduate School

Most of the time, you should work before going back to graduate school. Some real world experience will make you a better candidate for school, help you determine what you really want to do, and let you know what you still need to learn.

Better Candidate

The best candidates for graduate school are those who already have some real world job experience. They are already disciplined due to their day jobs, and they are more committed to getting the degree and a pay raise after working for a few years.

True Calling

Working for a few years will help you decide what you really want to do. After being in a profession for a while, you may discover that you hate it and would prefer something else. Getting your graduate degree is the perfect way to transition into a new profession. You will come in at a higher pay rate and your resume will be more enticing if you have a higher level of education.

More to Learn

After working in your field for a few years, you will find that you still have some questions. When you return to graduate school, you will have a great forum for getting those questions answered. You’ll also have the opportunity to get the perspective of your colleagues and discover how they deal with the same issues. Knowing what you need to learn will also help you take the most appropriate classes for your needs. Although your often don’t get a lot of options in graduate school, when you can choose an elective, you’ll know which class to choose.

When You Can’t Work in Your Profession

Let’s say that you got a degree in Psychology in your undergraduate university. You can’t really work in your profession until you go to graduate school, so what do you do? Well, you can get a related job for less money, or you may just want to head directly into graduate school. Most programs where you can’t already be working in your chosen profession, give more assistantships and scholarships to help you save money while in graduate school.

Why You Should Work in the Real World First

Real world experience makes you a better candidate while the time spent working will help you decide if you want to stick with this career. Plus, there’s always more to learn. If you can’t work in your profession right away, find a job that will give you some similar experience if possible. It’s just that important.

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Online University Textbooks

There is no getting around it. If you plan to pursue a higher education, be it online or traditional, you will need access to textbooks and most likely need to purchase them. But you have some choices to save you money. Many universities have e-libraries where you can access your textbooks online. E-textbooks are half the price of printed textbooks and you don’t end up loosing money on unsalable and unusable old textbooks.

Also with e-textbooks, you no longer have to worry about juggling a ton of books wherever you go or want to study; with the click of your computer or labtop you can access your course material online. Listed below are five websites where you can find online university textbooks:

1.http://www.coursesmart.com/students

2.http://textbookrevolution.org

3.http://ocw.mit.edu (MIT’s OpenCourseWare electronic publishing initiative)

4.http://people.math.gatech.edu ( online math textbooks)

5.http://www.cengagebrain.com

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How to Choose the Right Online School for You

Deciding to go to college, whether right after high school or after years of working, is an important crossroads in life. There are many factors to consider before committing to an educational program online. The first decision you need to make is what school you want to attend. Online schooling offers the possibility of nearly any school you want, as long as you qualify for acceptance and can put together the financing. So how do you know which school is the right one for you?

One of the first factors that will help you narrow down your choice of schools is your program of study. Obviously, if you have already determined what program you want and the degree you are seeking, you have narrowed your options considerably simply by what is offered by different schools. If the career you are considering requires certification or licensure in your state, make sure the school’s program meets the criteria for the license or certification. Check with the state you live in and make sure the school meets the qualifications, especially if the school is out of state.

Consider the reputation of the schools you are thinking of attending. Is the school accredited and by whom? Accreditation means the school’s programs and degrees have been reviewed and determined to be legitimate and acceptable. Many online websites offer a “diploma” for sale, with no actual education taking place. Other schools may offer classes by instructors without the necessary training or experience to be qualified as an instructor. Do your research and make sure the schools you are considering are legitimate educational institutions offering a quality education in exchange for your money.

Cost is always an important factor when choosing a school – and that includes online schools as well. While online school will be substantially less expensive than a traditional school there will still be variations in costs from one school to another. Along with tuition, books and fees, you also need to find out if the school you want to attend accepts financial aid. A school must be accredited to be able to offer most traditional financial aid.

Ask how long the school has been offering online classes. Do they use a leading virtual classroom management system? You will likely have a better experience with a school that has been offering online education for a few years and have most of the quirks worked out. Find out what type of learning resources are available to you. Many schools allow online students to access the campus library by ordering books online and receiving and returning them through the mail or a ground delivery service.

Finally, ask if there are recent graduates you can speak with, as well as employers who have hired graduates from the school. These sources will often give you the most realistic view of the quality of the school, so don’t be afraid to ask to speak to them.

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What You Need to Know About Online Degrees: The Pros and Cons

Online Degrees can satisfy a wide range of needs for many people in diverse circumstances, but it’s not for everyone. For many adult students, the advantages of online degrees far outweigh the disadvantages and vise versa. This section discusses the pros and cons of online degrees and helps you assess what you need to know about online educational programs and if it is right for you.

Advantages of Online Degrees

1. Online Degrees are very time flexible. Happily, in most online degree programs, you do not have to be in a certain place at a certain time. You can learn and study as much as you can handle, when it is convenient for you.

2. Online Degrees are geographically flexible. With online courses, location is irrelevant. Whether you are logging in from your computer or on a business trip or hanging out with some friends, you can learn wherever a computer is present.

3. Online Courses go at your own pace. Online degrees are ideal for students who like to set their own pace and who learn best on their own. Although you are likely to have periodic deadlines, you can approach the work at a pace that suits your schedule, while meeting the courses load’s due dates.

4. Online Educations can save money. Although the tuition and fees for online degrees are usually comparable to those charged on-campus courses, you save money on commuting costs. Also, you can maintain a normal work week while attending your own classes. Money saved.

5. Online Degrees fit individual needs. You can often tailor a program to fit your particular educational or professional goals and take as many courses as you want from various programs.

6. Online Degrees provides you with a freedom of choice. Since you are not confined to schools within easy commuting distances, you can consider online degrees at any university around the world.

7. Online Degrees teaches you more than course materials. There is a huge writing aspect to online classes; therefore you can improve your computer and Internet skills, and reading and oral communication skills. Employers love these beneficial qualities.

Disadvantages to Online Degrees

1. Online Degrees require discipline and self-motivation. Online courses may require more time, self-discipline and dedication than traditional on-campus classes. Busy professionals may find that motivating one-self to do extra studying and learning surprisingly hard; therefore the dropout rates are higher for online degree programs than that for campus-based programs.

2. Online Degrees lack face-to-face interaction.  For some students there is simply not enough social contact to keep them enthusiastic and motivated to complete the online degree.

3. Online Degrees may take longer than a traditional amount of time.  Because online degrees are self-motivated, it is easier to postpone taking courses; thus increasing the time it takes to complete a program.

4. Online Degree students get poor student services. Most online degree programs offer online library access, but it does not compare to the on-campus students who have access to libraries/librarians, academic advisers, and tutoring centers.

5. Online Degrees still have the stigma of inferiority. Although employers are starting to accept online degrees, traditionally on-campus degrees are considered more valuable if you are contemplating apply for future prestigious graduate and professional programs.

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