Going Back To College Later In Life

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It’s never too late to pursue higher education. While some may earn a degree as soon as they graduate high school, for many, this is a goal that needs to be placed on the back burner due to professional or personal developments. There are many benefits to earning a degree, and going back to college later in life is a great way to open the door to additional career opportunities and gain further expertise within their chosen field. While there are many benefits of going back to college, it’s certainly not a small decision that should be made lightly. Especially for older adults with jobs and familial obligations, going back to college can substantially change a typical schedule.

In this article, we’ll explore some of the reasons why working professionals should consider going back to college. Understanding all of your options is crucial for career development, so whether you’re going back to college in your 30’s, 40’s, or later, you’ll be well-equipped for everything coming your way. 

Benefits of Going Back to College

There are countless benefits to choosing to go back to college. College not only mentally equips students with the knowledge and insight to succeed within their chosen field, but it also provides numerous opportunities for professional networking and career acceleration. At the end of the day, the reason why someone may choose to re-enroll in a degree program will always be unique to that student, with each gaining something unique from the experience. Let’s cover some of the most notable benefits of choosing to go back to college later in life. 

  • Increase Earning Potential: On average, most high-paying career options highly value having a degree under your belt. 
  • Apply Work Experience: For those who would like to advance within their current field, they can easily apply their work experience to their collegiate studies. 
  • Network Expansion: A successful degree program will provide numerous opportunities to strengthen professional contacts. 
  • Mentor Opportunities: Gain useful knowledge and key takeaways from your curriculum with esteemed professors and collegiate advisors. 
  • Career-Centered Experience: Carefully curate your degree experience by enrolling in courses that are centered around your desired career path. 
  • Easily Consider Alternative Career Paths: One of the biggest benefits of going back to college later in life is that you can more easily transition out of a career you’re not enjoying. 
  • Increase Current Job Eligibility: Many careers require a college diploma, and gaining this later in life is bound to increase desired career prospects. 
  • Develop a Competitive Resume: The job market can be competitive, and with a college degree you can instantly strengthen a resume to gain a competitive edge. 
  • Increase Job Stability: Studies show that those with a college degree are statistically more likely to secure their job long-term. 
  • Complete a Long-term Goal: Many start college in their younger years to have their experience interrupted, but they can check this goal off their to-do list by going back to college later in life! 

Advantages of Going Back to College in Your 30s

It’s safe to say that life at 30 is much more intricate than life in your 20’s. Instead of worrying about finding the right friends, 30-somethings are often more concerned with finding the best babysitter for their kids on the weekend. Your 30’s are often when the map of adulthood begins to be charted, and while this can be a hectic period, it’s also a good time to consider going back to college. There are many benefits of going back to college in your 30’s, including but not limited to:

  • Financial Stability: Gone are the days of instant ramen. Typically, once you’re in your 30’s you’re at a more financially stable place in life to invest in your studies. 
  • More Professional Experience: At 30, you won’t be as overwhelmed with upcoming deadlines and assignments, as you’ve likely already applied many of your skills within a professional setting. 
  • Increased Preparation: For students that may have had their college experience interrupted early they can feel more prepared than a freshman who has no prior experience.  

Advantages of Going Back to College in Your 40s

In the grand scheme of life, your 30’s really can’t hold a candle to the insight and experience incurred by turning 40. Whatever level of professional development that occurs when one is 30 only continues to expand upon advancing decades. Many of those who choose to go back to school in their 40’s do so to either advance or transition their career, something much easier to do with a degree under their belt. Some of the biggest advantages of going back to college in your 40’s include: 

  • Begin a Second Chapter: By earning a degree later in life, you essentially open the door to an entirely new set of opportunities. 
  • Professionally Challenge Yourself: It’s common for those in their 40’s to have older children, which allows older students more time to work on personal professional development. 
  • Financial Comfort: At 40, the likelihood of having existing savings to utilize toward a degree is much higher than those in their 30’s or 40’s.   

Advantages of Going Back to College in Your 50s

Those in their 50’s have a wealth of knowledge, but it never hurts to explore areas and opportunities that they might have missed out on, such as earning a degree. One of the major reasons anyone decides to go back to college is to improve their financial health, and doing so at 50 is just as effective as doing so in your 20’s. Some of the biggest benefits of going back to college in your 50’s include:

  • Keep the Next Busy: Most parents have watched their kids leave the house in their 50’s, making this the perfect time to commit to other obligations. 
  • Improve Overall Health: Studies show that those with a degree are less likely to be stressed about their economic position, which can be helpful in our older years. 
  • Financial Comfort: The 50’s are when you can begin to truly invest in yourself and have more time to do so, with savings from years of working experience.  

Options for Going Back to School Later in Life

Now that we understand the many benefits of choosing to go back to college, it’s time to explore how an aspiring student may go about doing so. It’s never been more simple to earn a degree, with countless accredited online degree programs developed in recent years that provide a remote learning experience. Especially for working adults that may need to exercise careful time management skills while pursuing their degree, taking advantage of the many online degree programs available is a lucrative and worthwhile choice. The “college experience” is no longer confined to the idea of young twenty-year-olds booking it to their 8 AM classes each Monday morning. Over time, earning a degree has shifted and it’s never been more accessible for students of all ages to pursue a degree and enriched their higher education experience. 

Full-Time Degree Programs

Full-time degree programs are time-intensive programs that require students to take a certain amount of credits each quarter or semester. Each college is different, but generally speaking, this means 4 to 5 classes that can be taken either in-person or potentially online. Many of those who choose a full-time degree program can attend classes or lectures on a consistent schedule, which is important to consider when deciding to go back to college later in life. 

In a typical full-time bachelor’s degree program, students are expected to complete approximately 120 credits, taking around 4 years to complete. Full-time degree programs tend to be the most expensive option for those looking to earn their degree, as these programs are often billed based on semester instead of credit hour. While this is a streamlined degree experience, full-time degree programs do not lend themselves toward flexibility. 

Best for: Young professionals, those looking to complete a degree program quickly.

Online Degree Programs

One of the most popular options for older students looking to earn their degree is to choose an online degree program. Online degrees are a fantastic option for those considering going back to college later in life because they offer increased flexibility, a remote learning platform, and a customizable schedule that allows classes to be taken on their own time. Those in their 30’s, 40’s, and later can easily appreciate the flexibility if they’re already juggling a job and hectic life schedule. Online degrees are only projected to become more popular as remote learning has become increasingly demanded and in turn effective. 

Online degree programs are also a great idea for older students because they are usually cheaper than choosing a full-time or in-person degree program as they’re priced by credit hour. On average, students spend approximately $282 on online classes, and these costs can be spread out for however long the online student needs. The time it takes to complete an online degree program is completely based on the student’s preferred schedule, which is great if online students are hesitant simply due to time-related concerns.  

Best for: Those with non-traditional work schedules, students who do not want to physically relocate

Online Certificates

Online certificate programs are designed for those looking to quickly gain insight and increased experience in a specific field of choice. Typically created to be completed within a short period such as e a year, these are a great option for those looking to strengthen a resume or working professionals seeking specific credentials and experience. Online certificate programs offer older students the ability to gain specific knowledge and skills within one area of interest through online courses and lectures. Available for a wide variety of fields from applied statistics to law enforcement, earning an online certificate is an increasingly popular alternative to earning a degree. 

Online certificates are generally the least expensive option for those looking to quickly advance their career prospects. Offered by colleges or universities, it’s important to research the institution issuing the certificate to ensure it’s legitimate. Online certificate programs come in a variety of price ranges, with some of the more esteemed certificates more expensive than others, but can be as low as $1000 in total. 

Best for: Working professionals seeking career advancement, those looking to gain credentials quickly

Am I Too Old to Go Back to College?

You’re never too old to go back to college! With the further advancement of remote learning opportunities and increased amount of online degree programs, it’s never been easier to heavily consider going back to college later in life. Gaining the education you deserve only continues to become more affordable and accessible, with many accredited online degree programs available for older students to take to their advantage. By deciding to go back to school later in life, you’ll be closer than ever to the worthwhile education you deserve. 

Ready to take the first step toward your professional future by going back to college? Explore Bible College Online to discover highly reputable colleges and online degree programs perfect for earning a degree later in life.  It’s never too late to begin! 

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