What Are The Benefits Of Going Back To School For Adult Learners?
It might surprise you to learn that almost 40 percent of undergraduates are technically adult learners. The criteria to meet for being an adult learner is being over 25, but many are decades older than this, and they have chosen to go back to school – or attend for the first time – for a variety of different reasons.
What’s even more interesting is that this figure is expected to grow quickly, so that by the end of 2022, the percentage will be more like 60. These are adults going back to school to complete half-finished degrees, take on a second one, or pick up where they left off after high school, for example. Since there is now the chance to do online learning and courses are so much more flexible than they ever have been in the past, it makes sense that older people are taking the opportunity to enjoy some additional education.
Yet although they can, why should they? What are the benefits of going back to school as an adult learner? Is there really any point, or is it something to do just because you want to, rather than need to? As we’ve said, everyone will have their own reasons for attending college, no matter what their age, but there are a number of benefits that adult learners can enjoy when they do it; read on to find out what they are.
Increase Your Earning Potential
There aren’t many people who would turn down the chance to earn more money. Even those whose jobs already pay what would be considered very well would more than likely still want to earn more if they had the chance. This is something that a degree later in life will allow for; it will give you that chance to earn more.
A degree will help you to do what you want in terms of your career and your earning potential. This might be getting a promotion, for example. However, even if you have a lot of experience, it could be that you still need that extra degree or other qualification to reach the next level (and the next pay grade) of your career. Nurses are a good example of this; experience alone is not enough, and if they want to move forward, they will need to look into additional learning from Carson-Newman University.
Although going back to school will require a lot of effort and hard work, if you can use your new qualification to obtain a pay rise or even a promotion, then it is an investment worth making. Imagine what a difference that extra money could make in your life; it would be a shame to let the opportunity pass when there is a definite path to success you could take.
Start A New Career Path
In the past, it was entirely possible for someone to start work as soon as they left school and remain in that career (and often that company) until the day they retired. Today things are different. For one, the job market is changing all the time, and some jobs are disappearing (although others are being created, of course). For another, there is so much choice, and we’re told that we need to do what’s right for us for our mental health and wellbeing, that if someone starts to feel unhappy in their current line of work, they may well take the opportunity to consider doing something new. The fact that no one is expected to do or be one thing for life is important; there is no reason why you wouldn’t change careers if you realize you are heading down a path that will make you miserable or one that won’t give you the results you desire.
With that in mind, it’s obvious that in order to change careers you will need a new qualification. In some cases, such as nursing, veterinary care, legal work, and some others, you will need a specific qualification, and you won’t be able to get into your new career without it. In others, you can have a more general degree. It will entirely depend on what you need to do. However, if you don’t have the degree needed, either the specific one or one at all, you’ll need to go back to school as an older learner to achieve it. Once you do this, you can move forward with your new plans, so don’t put it off even if it seems like a hard thing to do; if you want a new career, you have to start at the beginning with your learning.
You Can Afford It
Some people don’t go to college after high school simply because they can’t afford to do so. It’s not just the tuition that they need to consider; it’s the living expenses too. In some cases, it can make a lot more sense to get a job and start earning money right away. However, although in some cases this is enough, and that person will be happy to continue in that career or job for some time, for others, it’s a temporary thing, only until they have enough money to go to college.
Once you start working and have an income, you can put some of that money towards gaining a degree, but it will mean going to school as an older learner. It will also mean you have to work around your career, trying to fit in your classes and work at the same time; you can’t afford to learn without your job, but you can’t do your job while you’re learning.
Luckily, online learning is the answer here. You can do both in this way, fitting your studies in around your other responsibilities and learning at your own pace. Of course, it will take a little longer for you to earn your degree in this way, and you won’t have the social life that going to college brings you, but as an older learner, this is likely to be much less important than it would be to those fresh from high school. Therefore, if you waited to start school until you had the money and now you feel you can’t afford to take time off to study, online learning is the solution.
You Didn’t Need It Then
It’s clear that not everyone who finishes high school will move on to college. Perhaps you already had a career path mapped out, and having a degree wasn’t part of that plan. Or maybe you just weren’t sure what you wanted to do, so you decided to wait. Whatever the reason you didn’t attend college when your peers did, there is no shame in going later on in life, whether you’re in your 20s or your 70s.
Circumstances change, and plans can be derailed, put aside, or they simply become no longer important or relevant. As your life changes and your ideas change with it, as your situation improves or otherwise, needing or wanting a degree might become more important to you. In that case, take the opportunity that is presented to you and sign up to obtain that degree. If you didn’t need it then, but you need it now, then why wait? Get what you need so you can do what you want.
You Want To Finish What You Started
As we’ve said, circumstances and situations change, and that means that you might have started a degree in the past and were unable to finish it. Life can sometimes get in the way of our best-laid plans, and if this was what happened to you, you certainly won’t be the only one as many as thirty percent of students ‘drop out’ of college part-way through their learning.
Once life stabilizes, however, some of those people will want to return to their studies and gain the degree they were working towards in the past. This might be because they are now able to move forward with the job they wanted originally and need the qualification, it could be because they don’t like leaving a job half-finished, or it could be because they want to prove to themselves they can do it. Whatever it is, the opportunity will be there to finish what you started when you go back to school and start learning once more.
You Want To Update Your Skillset
Everything changes and technology means everything changes much more quickly than ever before. This can mean that your skillset, which was once everything you needed to do well in your job, is now not enough, and you need to find ways to update it. The best way is to apply for a college degree in a relevant subject and learn the new things you need to know. For some, this will be a degree in their exact field of work – perhaps a masters or even a Ph.D. – which will allow them to understand more and gain additional skills. For others, it will be a degree that offers them the chance to update their skills in a more generalized way, learning more about business or technology as a whole, for example.
There is really no better way to learn everything you need to learn than taking a degree, and your age has no bearing on this; it’s always a good idea. If you want to succeed, knowledge is the ultimate weapon in your arsenal.