How to Know when to Go Back to School

by Education Cube, posted on May 25, 2016


Learning for life

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Saying lifelong learning is a big thing here in Singapore is an understatement. Most people believe that always being open to picking up new knowledge and skills can only serve to benefit one’s work or self-enrichment. It is also a national attitude towards education and skills development constantly promoted by the Government in various ways, such as through CET 2020 and SkillsFuture.

SkillsFuture in particular is so progressive that some have admitted it is not easy to understand it entirely. More than just a training framework or funding scheme, it has been described as “a policy that encompasses philosophy”. The essential takeaway, however, is still that lifelong learning is key, and SkillsFuture is intended to support whatever kind of learning you would like to pick up – be it personal or professional – for whatever life or career stage you might be at.

In fact, going back to school is no longer common for just mid-career workers. We are also seeing far more seniors heading back to the classroom to expand on their career skillsets. Many of them are in their 50s and 60s, and opting for part-time polytechnic study even as they continue to work full-time in the day. Although being closer to retirement age, they believe skills upgrading would help them progress further in their jobs, and keep up with changes in their industries.

Know what is right for you


But when is the right time to dive back into school? How would I know what I should study? Is it necessary to do so for any and every profession? Looking at MBA programmes just because every other person may seem to have gone for one will certainly not be the right approach. After all, not everyone works in a field that might be boosted by an MBA.

8 Questions to ask yourself before going back to school

So what is the best way to decide in a sea of options? There are several questions that can help you weigh in on it:

1. Are you thinking of studying for work related reasons or purely self-enrichment?
2. What will be a relevant course for your occupation?
3. Are you able to study full-time or part-time?
4. Are there schools locally that carry the courses you are interested in, or will you have to go overseas?
5. What is your budget, and are you aware of any schemes available that can help support your learning?
6. Will you be able to juggle work and school, and will your family be supportive?
7. What is the opportunity cost of studying, or not studying?
8. Is the additional study likely to directly help your career progression?

Although by no means exhaustive, these questions should be able to help you identify what you want to learn, and narrow down the schools or courses you might want to explore in-depth, such as by making enquiries or planning a school visit. Forbes also provides some useful considerations for you to evaluate why you want to go back to school, when to go, and how.

Everyone’s situation is unique, and the trick is to find what is the most appropriate for you. Find something that suits your situation, job progression, and the amount of time, money and energy you can spare. You can also use our resources here on Education Cube to help you make that crucial decision, be it if you are looking to upgrade your job skills, cultivate an interest, or finish a dream.


CET 2020
Singapore Ministry of Manpower Who wants to go back to school