By Dr. Mary S. Graham, president, Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College
As one year ends and another begins, many of us reflect on what we have accomplished throughout the year, and we set new goals for the year ahead. Earning a degree or credential is a wonderful goal, but it may be overwhelming at times. Here are a few tips to consider when making educational goals in 2023:
1. Determine what you are interested in and what field of study you may want to pursue. Career assessments and college counselors can assist you with this if you are unsure.
2. Do your research. Which colleges/universities offer the program or degree you want to pursue? Is there funding available through scholarships or grants to offset your costs? (Always consider scholarships and grants before taking out a loan. It can save you a world of worry in the future!)
3. Meet with an enrollment specialist to help you establish a degree plan that fits your schedule and lifestyle. Are you planning to go to school full time or part time? Are you looking for a traditional classroom experience or online?
4. Review your finances. How can you get the best return
on your investment? Does your field offer apprenticeship opportunities? Does your field require an associate, bachelor’s, or graduate degree? There are often no-cost programs or special scholarships and grants available to help you reach your goals.
5. Seek out support services to assist you in your educational pursuits. Many colleges offer tutoring services, childcare, food pantries, counseling services and clothing closets to support their students and staff in ensuring they have what they need to be successful.
Whether you pursue only one or two classes to improve career opportunities in your current job or you begin a new career path altogether, the greatest promise you can make to yourself is to invest in your education.