Returning to School for a Doctoral Program

Molly Howard

Student attending school online for a doctoral degree

Many people consider a doctoral degree only after acquiring some experience on the job. The task of earning a doctoral degree is a rewarding process and gives learners the satisfaction and prestige, as well as the desire to grow academically and in their careers. There are many ways to keep on track and pursue a doctoral degree with success and satisfaction while balancing other aspects of life.

Research and Apply

The first step to a doctoral journey is finding the right program. Many people already know what they are interested in and can go from there when choosing what doctoral program they want to pursue. Others choose a degree that can help them move up in their respective field. After the program is chosen, an application must be completed. This process may be a bit more rigorous than lower-level applications such as undergraduate program applications, but it is similar. Once a person is accepted, the start of the learning process can begin.

Connect With Others

For learners who may feel new to the educational world after focusing on work or family for an extended period of time, connection with others in similar situations can help ease tensions and create priceless friendships. Encouragement is a very helpful element throughout a doctoral program for anyone, but for a learner diving back in it can be especially appreciated and a good way to ensure motivation throughout the academic process. Forming connections with professors also allows for learners to know people in their industry over the course of their doctoral degree program.

Find a Rhythm

Routine and rhythm are important aspects to completing a doctoral program with success. For those who have not had to deal with tasks such as studying, homework or memorization in a while, it is important to set aside time to be intentional in these areas. Many learners interested in pursuing a doctoral degree have already perfected such learning skills but there is always room for growth and practice.

Stay Motivated, Be Focused

Many doctoral learners enjoy gaining new knowledge and finding satisfaction in what they are learning and thus approach learning as a privilege and adventure. One way some learners stay motivated is by remembering their goals, whether that be a career goal or the desire to learn something new or become a leader in their industry. Focus takes discipline and limiting distractions.

Find Balance

Returning to school for a doctoral degree program after time off may often mean other responsibilities such as family, work or hobbies have to be balanced differently. It is important to learn how to prioritize all these things while devoting time to your studies. Finding what is important and knowing priorities can be simpler with a routine and some motivation. Sleep, self-care and time with family are always important to take into consideration while still putting the best effort into responsibilities like school or work.

Finish Strong

Finishing off the doctoral degree program strong is an exciting step, but there are also many little victories and endings to celebrate. This can be as simple as finishing reading a book, closing out a year with the best or even studying and learning new victories. Noticing and celebrating these small victories can make earning a doctoral degree more manageable and a smoother journey.

Interested in starting your doctoral journey? Grand Canyon University has a wide variety of programs and resources to help you. Click Request Info above to learn more about your first step.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University.

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