Does Lack of Degree Hold Her Back?

Stephanie writes:
I am a former bank employee of seven years. I was a recently laid off as part of a bank merger.
I have been unemployed for five months now and having a terrible time finding a job. I do not have a college education and I feel that is what is holding me back. Employers want my experience in banking but also want me to have a bachelor’s degree.
So at 28 years old I am debating on enrolling in college. But am I too old? By the time I graduate I will be in my thirties. Will employers wonder what took me so long? And honestly I climbed the corporate ladder at my previous job so quickly I did not think I needed a degree.
My other question is what should I go to school for? Did the banking industry interest me? Not really. It was the constant chaos that had me hooked. It was being in charge of 30 people with 30 different personalities and a hundred different problems every day. I have never been faced with such a dilemma and for the first time I don’t know what to do.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.


The Career Doctor responds:
You have a number of issues you need to think about and resolve before you can make your decision about attending college. But I can tell you one thing Stephanie you are by no means too old to enroll — and excel — in college. In fact older students often make much better students than traditional college-aged students.
Here are some of the things I think you need to think about carefully as you work toward a decision about college.
First can you afford to go to college? I assume you have things such as rent and car payments along with other expenses. Can you develop a plan — a combination of financial aid scholarships and a part-time job — that will give you enough financial freedom to pay your current bills as well as college tuition? Find some resources in the
college planning resources section of Quintessential Careers.
Second what do you want to study in college? Don’t just jump into college without a plan. You’ve done the first step in eliminating at least one thing you don’t want to study — while also identifying the type of work environment you enjoy. Now spend some time matching up your other skills and interests with various careers. I suggest you go to the
career assessment tools section of Quintessential Careers.
Third do you really need to go to college — or do you want to go? While many companies do hire employees without a college degree there is often a point where you can’t get any farther up the ladder with the degree. Keep in mind too that it is often the degree the matters more than what you study so keep your focus on the prize.
Fourth are you using college as an escape from the job market? It’s a tough economy right now and jobs are definitely harder to find but this situation should only play a very small role in your decision about attending college.
Best of luck in arriving at your final decision.

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