|Returning to college might help you |
land the job that you want.
Seasoned workers go back to school for many reasons, such as finishing a degree, changing their career path, or getting the education needed to move forward in their profession.
The good news?
The number of non-traditional students 35 and older enrolling in college part time has risen to 34 percent, according to the U.S. Census, so most likely you will not be the only older student in your classes. Many colleges have a healthy non-traditional student population, with resources available for helping you adjust to college life and succeed in your personal goals.
Photo by Michael Coghlan via Flickr
Tuition ReimbursementYou have probably already heard about the availability of federal loans and grants, but you could have access to even more extensive financial aid. If you are employed, ask your employer about tuition reimbursement, especially if the degree you're pursuing relates to your current career. Employers who offer reimbursement may offer a set amount or cover a percentage of the tuition costs.
Some employers have strings attached to the reimbursement offer, such as only covering you if you achieve a specific GPA or requiring you to work for a set number of years following the reimbursement.
Non-Traditional Student OrganizationsIt's hard not to feel a generational gap between you and your 18-year-old college peers. You generally have more responsibilities at home, have different hobbies and interests, and, like most other non-traditional students, you're more motivated and driven to succeed.
Explore your college's clubs and discover whether a non-traditional student organization exists or not. These organizations are useful for discovering scholarship opportunities for your unique situation, connecting with other students in your age range and working through challenges like juggling work, school and a family. If you enjoy your college, but they don't have this type of organization, talk to the school to see if you can start your own.
Choosing Your DegreeTake your time when choosing your degree. The choice might not be difficult if you're going into a field related to your career, but when you're changing careers, you don't want to jump into anything without thinking it through.
Explore the college degrees and courses offered by each university that you are contemplating. Consider not just your interest in a subject, but also whether a degree is a worthwhile investment. Degrees in actuary math and accounting, human resources, information technology, and marketing are all worthwhile degree paths that give a good return on investment.
Research the best colleges and universities in your area for the majors you're interested in. If you want to go beyond an undergraduate degree, see the types of specialties and research they have available. When you choose the right college for your major, you get connections, skill development and education that serves you well throughout your old or new career.
The bottom line: If a lack of education or having the right degree is holding you back, go back to school!
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Guest post by Timothy Moyer. Tim is from Kansas originally, but he came to the Southwest to study landscape design and raise a family. Thanks, Tim!
Readers: Share your thoughts about going to college later in life!
Have you tried it? Do you recommend it? Did going back to school work for you?
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