Female business partners in office discussing how to let your employer know you're going back to school

The decision to go back to school to earn a graduate degree is one that shouldn’t be taken lightly. There are many considerations to think about, including the impact that going back to school will have on your current employment status.

While living in the digital age has made it easier to go back to school thanks to online courses and flexible learning schedules, every class that you take will add up to 10 hours per week of additional work to your to-do list. This will mean having to make big adjustments to your day-to-day life.

To help prepare you, we’re discussing why and how to let your employer know you’re going back to school.

Should I Tell My Boss I’m Going to Grad School?

This is a big question that a lot of people will ask themselves when deciding if they should be open at the office about plans to earn an online graduate degree. After all, what if your boss isn’t happy that you’ll be splitting your attention? It is important to tell your current employer about your plans to continue your education, but it is even more important to communicate your plans in a way that delivers the most accurate message.

What Will Happen When I Tell My Boss I’m Going to Grad School?

When you tell your current employer about your plans to continue your education, several questions are likely to arise including: how this new commitment will impact your ability to work regular hours, how your attention or ability to focus at work may shift, and what level of longevity can be expected from you if you are planning on pursuing a degree that may take you away from your current workplace.

These considerations can have a big impact on your likelihood to be recommended for pay raises or promotion. Being open and clear with your employer about your educational plans can make earning your online graduate degree that much easier.

How to Let Your Employers Know You’re Going Back to School

Here are several strategies for being open with your employer about your decision to go back to school:

  • Be clear about your long-term goals. If your plan is to obtain a higher level of education to help you advance within your current workplace, then tell your employer that this is why you are going back to school. Your employer will then know that you see yourself staying at your current workplace in the future, and it may put you on the radar for promotion as you complete your degree.
  • Be open about how going back to school will impact your schedule. Don’t minimize the impact this decision will have on your weekly schedule. At the end of the day, your employer will be happier with you if you are more open to picking up shifts rather than if you have to routinely call in to accommodate your school schedule.
  • Be ready to make accommodations in return. When you meet with your employer to discuss the necessary accommodations that will make earning your online graduate degree a decision that works, you should also be prepared for your employer to ask you to make accommodations in return. This may include working a shift at a different time or adjusting how available you are to work remotely. If you are asking for openness and flexibility, you need to be open and flexible in return.

Going back to school while working is stressful, but being open and honest with your employer about your plans can reduce the level of tension surrounding this decision. Use that thought in your guidance when you think about how to let your employer know you’re going back to school. Some employers may even ask for a letter of intent to go back to school while working to keep in your employment file, and this can be a great way to formalize your conversation about your plans and what you hope to receive from your company in return.

It’s never been easier to go back to school, and being open with your employer about your decision can make the process so much easier. If you’re considering going back to school for an MBA, make your next move and talk to us at Georgia College for more information about our online MBA programs.