Is It Worth Going Back to School as an Adult?


Making the decision to go back to school as an adult can be a difficult one. You may be wondering if it is worth the time and money to pursue further education when you already have a career. The answer to that question depends on your individual situation. Here are some of the pros and cons of returning to school as an adult learner, as well as some tips for making the decision that is right for you!

The number of older adult learners in the United States has been gradually rising over the years. People have all kinds of reasons for going back to school, enrolling in college, or gaining some kind of additional qualification. But would this be the right move for you? Here are some of the main reasons it might be worth going back to school as an adult.

Career Advancement

One of the major benefits of going back to school as an adult is the potential career advancement. Having a higher qualification on your CV could open up new job opportunities, or help you to get a better position and salary where you are already employed. The benefit of being an adult is that you already have experience in your chosen career, and you have decided that this is the right career for you. Therefore investing in making this career work even better for you feels like more of a sure thing.

You Can Support Yourself Financially

As an adult you have a better understanding of how to support yourself financially while attending school. This could be through financial aid, scholarships, part-time work, or other means. You may also have the benefit of an employer who is willing to support you in some form while you are studying. There are many scholarship benefits, and there are scholarships out there for older adult learners as well as younger students.

Personal Growth

Going back to school as an adult is also a great opportunity for personal growth and learning. This can include learning new skills or gaining a better understanding of certain concepts or topics. It is also a chance to get out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself in new ways. And the best part is that you can take these newly acquired skills and knowledge with you into your professional life!

You’ll Be More Focused

Compared to younger learners, adult students tend to be more focused and motivated when it comes to studying. This is because you know what you want out of your course, and you will be more likely to stick with it and make the effort needed to succeed. You’re also less likely to be distracted by the social side of school, which is often more geared towards younger students.

Building New Relationships

Returning to school as an adult can also be a great opportunity for networking and building relationships with like minded individuals. These contacts may end up being invaluable in the future as you progress in your career. If you embark on a course or qualification that has a distinctive niche, or is very vocationally focused, it’s likely you’ll meet a network of people that you’ll be interested to spend time with.

Developing Resilience

Going back to school as an adult is also a great way to boost your resilience. It will take time and effort to adjust to the new environment, and you may also be learning a completely new subject. In doing so, you are actively pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and developing a greater level of resilience. This will be an invaluable trait to have for the rest of your career!

Learning Is Good For You

Using your brain and pushing it to keep learning throughout your life is good for both your physical and mental health. It helps reduce the risk of health conditions such as dementia, and can also help to keep your mind sharp and alert. It may not always be possible to take the time out of your life for full-time study, but taking courses or qualifications on the side can help to keep your brain active and engaged.

The Flip Side

There are also some potential drawbacks to returning to school as an adult learner. It can be expensive to pursue further education, and the time commitment may take away from other things you would like to do. You may also find it difficult to juggle work, school and family responsibilities, which can be overwhelming at times.

If you’re considering returning to school, ask yourself the following questions to ensure it’s the right move for you:

  • What is your motivation for going back to school?
  • Are you willing to commit both time and money to making this work?
  • Are you prepared to give up other activities or commitments in order to make this happen?
  • What are the long-term career benefits of returning to school?
  • Do you have the necessary support from family and friends to make this work? 
  • Does your employer support you doing this, and have they confirmed it will actually lead to career progression?

Once you have answered these questions honestly, you will be in a better position to decide if going back to school is the right move for you. It can be an incredibly rewarding experience for adults, but it is important to weigh the pros and cons before making a decision.

Ultimately, whether or not it is worth going back to school as an adult comes down to your individual goals and circumstances. If the benefits outweigh any potential drawbacks, then it could well be the right choice for you. Good luck!

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