When prompted to envision the typical college freshman, you may initially imagine a fresh-out-of-highschool 18-year-old, ready to plunge headfirst into the college experience with their newly-purchased school supplies and dorm keys in hand. While this is the reality for some first-year students, other aspiring first-year students adopt a better-late-than-never mindset and kickstart their college careers after spending years spoon-feeding toddlers and idling in the school drop-off zone.
No matter your age, attending college is vital for professional and personal development alike. Not to mention, the time spent in crowded lecture halls or web surfing from online class to online class is an opportunity to discover your passions, refine your skills, and expand your field knowledge.
Despite the financial benefits of earning a college degree, many busy parents on-the-go may cringe at the thought of flipping their lives upside down and subjecting themselves to astronomical daycare costs and added day-to-day stressors characteristic of college life. For those aspiring college students hesitant to disrupt their daily routines in the interest of advancing their education, it’s vital to note that the payoff of a college education is well worth the time invested (even if attending weekly courses at 38 requires twice the caffeine intake it would have at 18).
Whether you initially decided against attending college in the hopes of building a savings account, averting student debt, job hunting for positions with limited education prerequisites, or challenging the status quo, it’s never too late to redefine your career ambitions and hit the books. Ultimately, the time spent switching from student mode to parent mode at a moment’s notice will allow you to better yourself and secure a brighter future.
Not to mention, going back to school later in your life as an adult yields surprising benefits many overlook. For one, you’ll enjoy greater flexibility with your coursework as you squeeze in an online lecture during your lunch break or in between playdates. Additionally, the course subject matter will directly benefit your career and positively impact your professional growth.
Before you jump the gun
Before searching high and low for any excuse to rewind the clock and follow in your collegiate’s footsteps, you’ll need to assess your odds of admission to your top-choice universities. All schools have different acceptance rates, so you’ll want to compile a list of your top-choices accordingly to ensure you have good odds of gaining admission.
For those first-time college attendees, you’ll want to pencil in a few safety schools to ensure your goal of earning a college education is well within reach. By definition, safety schools are universities that you’re familiar with where it would be relatively easy for you to gain admission. Examples of safety schools include public universities in your home state.
By contrast, reach schools are prestigious institutions, like Harvard, that are highly selective in the admissions process. Unlike reach schools, match schools are those institutions that accept applicants with similar test scores and experience. Some match schools, such as Keene State College, even waive entrance exam scores based on life experience and are very likely to accept middle-of-the-road students.
Remember, much like you wouldn’t encourage your child to dive off the deep-end and waste precious financial resources applying to (out-of-reach) reach schools, don’t get caught redhanded enforcing a double-standard. Take a healthy dose of reality to avoid dipping into your high school students’ college savings funds.
Once you’ve decided to spruce up your resume and attend university, you can focus your attention on the benefits of being a middle-aged college student. For starters, attending college later in life can inspire you to complete your coursework online, meaning you can tend to your family’s needs and achieve your professional goals while simultaneously earning a college degree.
Additionally, as a late-blooming undergraduate, you’ll possess the discipline and focus necessary to flourish in virtual schooling. With this unwavering dedication, you’ll earn a degree at lightning speed.
Become an indispensable asset to your employer
If you are currently employed, taking the leap to further your education will impress your supervisor and demonstrate your dedication to your professional growth. If you’re looking for high-paying job opportunities, going back to school will help you refine your skills and reaffirm your interests, all while granting you the chance to receive a more generous salary.
Never stop learning
As humans, we are continually learning new things every day. Taking the initiative to invest time and money into your education will help you feel empowered and tackle work-related challenges with newfound vitality.
Getting back into a school mindset can pose a challenge if you’re now a busy parent with other priorities, but overcoming this steep learning curve will be well worth it when you earn your degree.
Invest in your future by earning a college degree
Whether you’re the parent of a college student who found inspiration in the hustle and bustle of college move-in day, or you’re looking to take your professional success into your own hands, attending university will allow you to maximize your career potential.
Deciding to put your career on pause can intimidate working professionals and busy homemakers of all ages. Once you’re able to conquer your initial fears, you’ll likely realize that a college education will supply you with the tools you need to succeed. Remember, there will never be a perfect time to go to college, so why not take that step now?