Are you in your 20s and wondering if you can travel the less conventional path of going back to school at this age? At 24, life seems like it is demanding us to have well-defined career choices and ambitions. However, for an increasing number of individuals, this is the precise moment when the realization of going back to school to complete a high school diploma, hits.
Returning to school at this age might be a less traveled path, but it does not mean you should not go for it. If you are thinking about going back to school, it means you are prioritizing your personal growth and committing to the pursuit of your dreams. So, join me in exploring what it feels like to complete school as an adult and what are its merits and demerits.
The journey of life is unpredictable and it is filled with crossroads and decisions that you must take to change your future. At 24, this unpredictability might take you to a sudden realization and a desire for change. Moreover, sometimes the change is in the form of changing your career or completing education.
How Common is it to Return to School in Your 20s?
It may come as a surprise, but there are a handful of people who return to school in their early to mid-20s. EAB is an education research firm and they have estimated that about 60 percent of adults have thought about returning to school once their traditional college age has passed. Similarly, around 38 percent of undergraduates are considered adult learners.
With modern education and technological innovations, going back to school in the 20s and 30s has become more common than ever. There are flexible mediums for getting education like the online school which allows you to be self-paced and take classes wherever you want. So, it is better to take advantage of the new and convenient ways of completing school.
Confronting Societal Disapproval
One of the main reasons why people are so hesitant to go back to school at 24, even though it is their dream to complete education, is the social stigma associated with it. People get overwhelmed by the public’s disapproval because there is a prevailing misconception that you are supposed to complete high school when you are a teenager. However, it is rather not wise to fall into this trap and compromise on your dreams.
The ability to learn new things never ends so no matter when you start your education you will be just as fine as your younger peers. Therefore, you must chase after your goals and dreams regardless of your age.
Benefits of Going Back to School at 24
There are multiple perks of returning to school in your 20s. You are more prepared and have a clear goal which helps in aiming for the right degree. So, allow me to explain why your decision to go back to school is an intelligent one.
Enhanced Career Opportunities
Completing your education can undoubtedly open up a world of job opportunities. Getting degrees and learning new skills make you a more attractive candidate to potential employers who want a well-educated person for the job. Moreover, even if you are currently employed, you will still get a better and more advanced job after completing your schooling.
Nowadays the competition in job sectors is skyrocketing; therefore recruiters prefer applicants with advanced degrees and certifications. So, you can enhance your career opportunities by going back to school at 24.
Positive Impact on Earnings
Statistics show that employers with higher levels of education earn more than those without education. Similarly, the chances of employment increase with advanced degrees. Moreover, returning to school at 24 will open growth opportunities even within your current workplace.
With a degree, you can quickly progress up the advancement hierarchy within your organization. That promotion that you are eyeing will be yours if you complete your education. So, returning to school will help you financially because, with advancement in the job, pay also increases.
Keeping Up With Industry Trends
Industries are constantly evolving and adapting new ways and technology. Therefore, they value those employees who are eager to learn and are flexible and accepting of the change. Going back to school at 24 will equip you with new skills, new and innovative ways to incorporate technology in your workplace, and new ideas.
Career Shift and New Interests
If your current job does not excite your brain and you are looking for something new, this is your best chance. You can choose subjects and diplomas that can help you in changing your career. Moreover, education provides a nourishing environment to explore your interests and align them with your career.
Returning to school as an adult allows you to pursue your passion. For instance, if you love programming and your current job has nothing to do with it, it can become boring and frustrating. So, you can learn exactly what it takes to become a programmer and become one.
Maturity Gives You a Sense of Direction
Usually, teenagers at school have no idea about what career they want to choose and it leads to a lot of experimentation. Not that it is a bad thing but it divides your focus and you cannot solely focus on that one dream occupation. Furthermore, as an adult with experience, you have an idea of your interests and goals.
This allows you to give your 100% to your studies, waste less time, and work hard to achieve your dreams. So, being older than your classmates can give an upper hand to you because you will no longer study for mere grades and have a sense of practicality in your education.
Personal Growth and Achievement
Education is necessary for your personal growth, people do not always acquire education only for the sake of a career. However, many people opt for education in their 20s and after retirement for personal growth because it shows their dedication, perseverance, and power to set and accomplish goals. Similarly, a complete education can give you a sense of achievement and boost your confidence personally and professionally.
Additionally, it allows you to pursue your interests and learn more about the subjects that give you intellectual stimulation. You can challenge yourself and expand your horizons to learn new things.
Potential Challenges of Going Back to School at 24
We cannot completely ignore the potential challenges that come with going back to school as an adult. You have family and work that requires your attention and balancing education with these responsibilities can be hard. Balancing work and family responsibilities can already be intimidating in your early 20s.
Moreover, you will have to carry your social life among all these tasks. So, undoubtedly it will be difficult and at times overwhelming but worth all your efforts. You can choose flexible schedules and work hard for a few years and then enjoy its perks for a lifetime.
Tips on How to Prepare for Returning to School at 24
1. Contemplate What You Want
The first thing that you need to do is to stop and think about what is it that constantly pokes you to return to school. It might be an interest in a new field or it may be for personal growth. So, whatever the reason is, you need to reflect on it because it will help you in choosing the right subjects and diploma at school.
2. Research Your Degree and School
You need to decide on your degree/diploma as soon as possible and ensure that it aligns with your interests. Similarly, choosing the right school is also important because it has a huge impact on your degree.
While choosing a school, consider factors like the school’s academic record and how convenient it will be in terms of transportation. Furthermore, you can also look for schools that offer online or at least hybrid education.
3. Apply for Financial Aid
If you cannot afford to support your education, it is better to apply for financial aid beforehand. Research on various platforms and organizations that offer student loans and bursaries. Furthermore, it is better to apply as soon as possible so that your financial situation does not get in the way of going back to school.
4. Time Management
Time management is the key to excelling at school as an adult. You must observe your family’s daily routine, and your work timings and find out what time works best for you. Moreover, if you do not value time you might stay behind your fellows.
Is 24 too late to go back to school?
No, 24 is fairly young, you are only in your early to mid-20s. Likewise, it’s never too late to complete your education and grow personally and professionally.
Is it common for people to go back to school at 24?
Yes, it is quite common for people to return to school to complete their degrees, pursue higher education, or get vocational training.
Can I transfer credits from my previous education if I return to school at 24?
Generally, it depends on which school you are applying for. However, many schools allow transferring previous credit. So, it is better to ask the school you are applying to, about your confusion.
Everything considered, going back to school at 24 is a great idea. It is better late than never, and you must pursue your education regardless of your age. Similarly, returning to school at 24 has many benefits which cannot be overlooked.
It is understandable to feel a little skeptical and overwhelmed; however, you should never let it come in your way of going after your dreams. So, do not overthink it, research your career, degree, and school, and go for it.