I wanna go back to school. Where do I start? Would it be awkward if I went back to school now as an adult? It is disheartening and sad to see that some of the greatest minds and quick learners have to come face to face with such questions the moment they decide to go back to school.
Somewhere along the way, we forget that the process of learning is not restricted to a certain age and that a normal person is supposed to keep learning in all stages of his/her life. Being an old college professor myself, I can personally vouch for the benefits of going back to school as an adult. Let me guide you through this process so that you will feel less stressed with this entire process.
We also have dedicated articles for going back to school categorized by age.
Why go Back to School Now?
Going back to school as an adult has its pros and cons, and if you ask me, the pros outweigh the cons. You may want to disagree with me, but I believe that there is no age limit to learning and gaining exposure. A person only stops growing when he stops learning new things.
Going back to school as an adult is a different experience than being forced to go to school as a little kid. You now have a better understanding of why knowledge is so important and what you want to do with your life. You also know that the things you will learn from school now will stick with you for the rest of your life.
The best part about going to school as an adult is that you can now get focused studies relating to your field. You no longer have to experiment around studying various subjects just to see where your actual interest lies. Plus, without the constant pressure to do well in your exams and get good grades, you get to experience the fun side of learning.
How To Get Started?
I know how overwhelmed you might be feeling right now. It is a huge step that you are taking so it is absolutely normal to feel the pressure and have second thoughts. But, you have to fight your fears and take this step towards the betterment of your future.
Being an old professor, I can assure you that I have seen my students struggle with this fear that you are feeling right now. But then, I saw those same students go back to school in their adulthood and excel in the most unexpected ways possible. So, let me give you the same advice that I once gave them to get started!
1. Connect And Seek Advice From Successful Professionals In Your Respective Fields
The best way to seek motivation and the best advice is by approaching your successful seniors and professionals in your respective fields. These are the people who went through the same stage in life that you are stuck in right now and will be able to give excellent advice on how to get out of it! Ask them to share their own experience and the details of courses they took in college.
They will most probably volunteer a lot of information on their own with you. Pay attention to them, listen to their words, take notes if necessary, and then try to follow their lead. Make a plan and build up your strategy using their life experiences. But most importantly, learn from their mistakes!
2. Compare Degree Program options
Now that you have sought advice from the top professionals in your fields, it is time to compile all the information you gathered from them relating to the courses and schools they recommended. Perform intensive research of your own to see what other courses are available in the market that could enhance your skills and expertise and improve your career.
Check out what kinds of programs are available in schools and colleges currently, then compare them to the ones suggested by your field professionals. Separate the courses that look most promising and then do research on what schools are offering these courses.
3. Consider All The Costs Involved
Now, it is time to consider the expenses of returning to the school. Check out the fee structure of the schools that appeal the most to you and see if you can afford to pay the tuition fee. If you can not afford to pay the fee, check out if you could get a grant or financial aid from the institute somehow.
If the institute does not offer study grants, you may take out a loan if necessary. After all, it is the best investment that you could make in yourself. However, if all that is not possible, you may research an institute that has a relatively affordable fee structure.
Your Options For Going Back To School
You usually have three options for going back to school. You get to choose between an Associate’s degree, a bachelor’s degree, and a master’s degree. Let’s see what each of these degrees pertains to and how they can benefit you in your career aspirations.
1. Associate’s degree
An Associate’s degree is the most basic level degree in any field. This degree is designed to build and solidify the key concepts and foundations of your field.
These courses will act as the stepping stone in launching you into professional life. So, if you are not yet a professional and looking for courses that will help you land a fresher job, then you should start with an Associate’s degree.
2. Bachelor’s Degree
A bachelor’s degree comes after an Associate’s degree. In these courses, you will not only get theoretical knowledge but also receive practical training and demonstrations by your instructors. You will be trained as a professional who is ready to face the actual professional life.
These courses will include advanced concepts of your field and equip you with the skills and knowledge of top-tier professionals. So, you can expect to excel and grow in your career like never before. If you don’t believe me, earn a Bachelor’s degree and see the magic with your own eyes.
3. Master’s Degree
If you are already a professional with an Associate’s and a Bachelor’s degree, the next course that you could take to become an expert in your area of expertise is a master’s degree. A master’s degree, as the name suggests, will equip you with the master skills by teaching you the most complex and advanced concepts.
You will start to see the entire picture of your work with a much better and clearer focus. In fact, it is now that you will start to understand the actual meaning of the things that you have been doing all along.
This degree is enough to take you to the top possible position in your organization. Your knowledge and expertise will be valued by your company and they will start to seek your advice on various matters.
Once you have decided on everything, it is time to select your learning format. You get to choose between two options. Let me explain them all to you briefly below.
1. On Campus Learning
This is the old-fashioned way of learning and acquiring knowledge. You Will have to go to the campus to take classes religiously. I would only recommend this type of learning format to those students who are not employed.
2. Online Learning
Online learning is the newest and the most convenient way of studying in the modern world. You get to make your schedule and study at your own pace. And the best part is that you can manage your studies and classes with a job and a myriad of responsibilities.
So, I would definitely recommend this mode of learning to working professionals. They keep putting off studying just because they do not have the time to attend physical classes.
Is it worth going back to school as an adult?
Yes, it is absolutely worth going back to school as an adult. You should keep learning and growing in your respective fields. If you stop the process of earning and acquiring knowledge, you will eventually get stuck in a rut, and everything around you will start to get boring and lifeless to your eyes.
So, I would definitely recommend you all go back to school and continue your learning process. I do not say this because I am a wheezy old professor who spent the better half of his life in the school corridors but as a friend and a colleague who saw the wonders this education did to the lives of my peers and students. You deserve to shine and do not let anyone or anything convince you otherwise.