Adult education enrollment has steadily been on the rise over the past decade. There are many reasons why individuals are choosing to go back to college to further their education beyond the ‘traditional’ age.
Often referred to as ‘non-traditional students’, one of the primary reasons for the uptick in adult enrollment at colleges is the fact adult students have far more options than they did in years past to pursue education and maintain their responsibilities.
As a result, many individuals are taking advantage of the vast opportunities available. Reasons for going back to school may range from needs to desires and/or relate to career or personal enrichment motivators.
Here are a few of the top reasons why people go back to school:
• Competitive job market
Modern work environments are evolving and as a result an increasingly competitive employment situation is occurring. The higher amount of education in a resume, the better chance of landing the desired job.
It used to be an associate degree was enough to be competitive in an industry, but in today’s environments many employers are looking for applicants who possess bachelor and/or master degrees. This does not mean that every job requires a degree, however it does give an applicant the upper edge.
• Promotional opportunities
With today’s competitive job market, many employers are seeking promotional candidates with higher education on their resumes. Those who have college degrees, in many instances, will have the competitive edge over a candidate without one because there are more applicants than jobs; essentially it is an employer’s market.
Many individuals go back to school in order to be able to remain eligible for promotional and/or managerial positions.
• Need to change jobs
Unfortunately due to economic conditions in the very recent past many employers have had to downsize and as a result laid off employees or merged with other companies. Many former employees were left with the need to find another job without having input in the matter.
Another situation occurring in the job market is some jobs become obsolete and replaced with technology centric positions and/or machinery. For those who have long worked in an industry that did not require technology, this can be quite a shock if jobs one is trained and long experienced in are no longer available.
As a result individuals may go back to school in order to train and become eligible for some of the newer, modern jobs utilizing new skill sets that did not exist when they began their careers. Technology has changed the dynamics of the modern work environment.
In earlier generations many individuals went straight to work after high school even if they wanted college; in some instances there was an immediate financial need to be met and got a job, for others college may simply not have been an option.
College today is a lot more accessible than in years past. Today students can both work and attend university simultaneously. Earlier decades there was no such thing as night, weekend classes or distance learning, but today’s hopeful students have high levels of accessibility and as a result, many of those who always wanted to go to school but could not, can do so now with all of the options available.
• Personal development and enrichment
Many people are going back to school simply because they want to. They have spent their time in careers and are basically looking to learn something new and enrich themselves in the process. The aforementioned accessibility and flexibility of education makes this desire a realistic one to fulfill.
Many community colleges offer a variety of non-credit continuing education classes at affordable prices and people take advantage of these opportunities to learn a passion or develop a skill.
Education today is attainable for most people who desire it. The reasons why people go back to school are vast, but ultimately it comes down to the primary motivator which can vary depending upon the individual.