Going back to school for the older adult is not easy, but it is also not impossible. The most important question to consider is why. Why do you want to go back to school? What is it that you would like to accomplish? What is your purpose? These reasons are various but understanding the why is what will allow you to persevere through the struggles and obstacles that will come. Some reasons might include:
1) Increased opportunity: A college degree provides access to more money and increases your ability to obtain a higher-level job. Increased education is especially helpful if you are in a career that requires a college degree or increased training for advancement.
2) Career change: Further training and education can provide access to another job or allow you to pursue another career.
3) More money: A college degree or advanced training could possibly lead to increased earnings in your current field or industry.
What to consider?
More than anything, what is your purpose? Why are you doing what you are doing? What is your passion? What do you love? If you cannot answer these questions, ponder the following:
1) Start small: Take one class at a time. Don’t get overwhelmed with trying to figure everything out at once.
2) Obtain advice: Community colleges are excellent places to begin. They are more cost-effective than larger colleges and offer both training programs as well as foundational courses that can be transferred into a more traditional bachelor’s degree program at the university level. They offer day and night classes and often have counselors that can help you with the re-entry process including admission and financial aid.
3) Plan: You will need to think, imagine and create a schedule that will work for your life. If you take one class, there is commute, class and homework time. You will need to consider what kind of impact this additional time and energy will have on your family, your job and your life.
4) Timing: Make sure the timing works for you. You will need to feel comfortable, safe and secure in your decision, hence, starting small helps you to think about whether or not, this is the best option for you. Don’t get bogged down in how long a program or a degree will take. The most important thing to realize is that your education is a journey. It begins with one step and you are the creator and captain of that journey.