A projected 7.6 million adults over the age of 25 were enrolled in colleges or universities in the United States in 2018, according to the National Centers for Education Statistics. That number continues to rise. Going back to school offers many benefits. And, while the reasons to go back to school are often very personal and based on the unique needs of the student, those on the fence may wish to take a closer look at how this move could change their future. You’re not too old to go back to school.
Consider these reasons why other adults are going back to school. Do they apply to your situation and needs right now? If so, it may be time to consider going back to school at 25, 35, 45 or older.
#1: You Want to Earn More Money
Many people benefit from going back to school simply because it allows them to move beyond their current income bracket. It is not uncommon for business managers, human resource departments, or company owners to be unable or unwilling to promote or increase someone’s wages if they do not have a degree or a more advanced graduate degree. Going back to school, then, could help you earn more in the coming years.
#2: It’s Time for a New Career
Maybe you’ve been at it for a while, but you’ve come to realize … you hate your job. You long to be in another field. Adults return to college to launch a new career all the time. In some situations, individuals are making this move in order to open the door for their future goals. You may have learned about a new opportunity, or you may just be unhappy with your current position. In some situations, a new career could open the door for a different lifestyle that is important to you. Degree programs exist to help adults go back to school for virtually any career they decide to pursue.
#3: You Earn More Now and Can Afford It
Americans owe a lot of money in student loans. According to a survey from Make Lemonade, there are 44 million borrowers that owe $1.5 trillion worth of student loan debt in the U.S. Perhaps, when you were younger, you did not want to take on that burden. The same study found that those who graduated in 2016 had an average of $37,172 in student loan debt alone. Perhaps now you are more financially stable and able to invest in college. In fact, adults returning to college now may be able to qualify for discounted programs as well as financial support while maintaining financial stability along the way.
#4: You Didn’t Get to Go to School Before
Let’s face it, life can get in the way of anyone’s plans to go to school. And, that’s okay. Even if you missed your opportunity for whatever reason, you can still go back to school and earn your degree. You may feel you missed out on the opportunity yesterday. Today offers a whole new set of opportunities.
#5: You Didn’t Finish … And Now You Want To
Perhaps you never got around to finishing your college degree. This isn’t uncommon. Going back to school now may allow you to get back on track. The U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard tracks the number of students who drop out before completing a degree. According to a U.S. News and World Report calculation, 3.9 million students dropped out from 2015 to 2016. If you left something on the table and just were not able to complete your degree, now may be the time to do so.
#6: You Need New or Improved Skills Now
In some cases, adults going back to school do so to gain new skills to enhance their current careers. You may now need to have more training in a specific area. An advancement in technology is a common reason to return to school or a degree program. You may also want to move to a different position within your company, or you may no longer feel like you’re competing well enough with younger applicants for the jobs you want. Going back to school may allow you to gain very specific skills geared toward helping you be more of a viable option for specific tasks.
#7: You’re Thinking About Launching a Business
Perhaps you are good at your job and you want to turn it into a business. Many people do this by consulting. For example, perhaps you are handling payroll services for a company, but you are tired of the pressure on the job. You want to provide these services as a consultant. You may be able to go back to school, enroll in business leadership skills, learn business management, and then be able to launch a company that is competitive from the start. Many individuals seek the value of an education before launching a business like this. Additionally, many small business owners, especially those who buy a franchise, don’t have business skills. They will get trained in how to operate the franchise by the franchisor but lack skills in accounting, human resources (hiring people) and marketing.
These are just some of the reasons to go back to school. Adults returning to college may finally be able to pursue positions they were unable to consider before. For many men and women, completing a college degree is just about the principle. You want to have that degree in hand even though you have all of the experience you possibly can have. Having access to quality and flexible educational opportunities is making it possible for many people over the age of 25 to complete their college degree.