Five Ways To Continue Your Education After Graduation

by Christine Chadwick

Lifelong learning is often discussed and then discarded as a clique or catchphrase that means little. Successful and interesting people understand that continuing your education after graduation is crucial to keeping your mind toned and agile and your options open. Here are five ways to continue your education after graduation at little or no cost while reaping great benefits.

1. Professional development

Take advantage of all opportunities your employer and industry offers to build your skills. Attend seminars, training, and in-house services offered, and be sure to obtain proof of any certifications or credits earned. These courses are usually very targeted to the work you are doing and go beyond the theory you were taught at university to the practical skills you need to grow and prosper in your career.

Another way to expand your education is to develop an area of expertise and transition from attendee to presenter. If you become a go-to expert in your field you will make yourself more attractive to your current employer as well as potential employers, should you decide to check out the competition. Should you be interested in pursuing additional degrees at a later time, the niche you carve out for yourself may make your application more appealing.

2. Company-paid courses or degrees

Many companies give employees the time and the funding to continue their education. Discuss any current educational plans your company currently has in place, or explore the possibility of creating your own plan that will be partially or fully paid for by your employer. The company you work for may be willing to make a significant educational investment for and with you if it feels it will receive the benefit of your further studies.

3. Community education

Your local community colleges often put together short-term courses at little cost. Learn a new language, take up painting or yoga. These opportunities give you the chance to try out some disciplines that weren't previously available or couldn't fit into your schedule.

4. Community organisations

Whether it is a book club or a service organisation, joining a group of like-minded individuals outside of the work setting offers you a chance to learn and grow. Some of these affiliations will further your career; others will simply expand your general knowledge, making you a more well-rounded and connected individual. All can give you the chance to develop relationships that can further your career and improve your personal and professional life.

5. Online courses

Many colleges and universities offer accredited courses online. Usually they carry a price tag, but it may be less than enrolling as a student in a regular program,e or may be paid for by your employer or industry group.

Also investigate the growing educational opportunities made possible through Massive Open Online Courses, or MOOCs. These online opportunities are offered to individuals worldwide and by institutions of higher education around the globe.