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Are You Too Old to Go Back to School?

November 5, 2009


Are you thinking about going back to school to continue your education or change career paths after working at the same organization for years?  The answer is yes. It is really that simple. It doesn’t matter what your age is, because we can assure you that there are many nontraditional students enrolled in college courses today, and likely some of those students are older than you are. Really, you have a leg up because your life experience gives you many advantages over more traditional students. With the nontraditional student population growing, many colleges have programs and services more geared towards the nontraditional student.

Going back to school, especially in a tough economy, can be highly beneficial for people of all ages. In 2008, the unemployment rate for people over 25 with an associate degree was 2 percent lower than for those with only a high school diploma, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. For those with a Bachelor’s degree or higher, the unemployment rate was 3 percent lower.  So if you do decide to go back, make sure it is in an area that is in demand!

Speaking from personal experience, waiting a few years to enroll in graduate school was one of the best decisions I have ever made.  When I was in college when I was younger, honestly, I didn’t want to be there.  When you have no idea what you want to do for the rest of your life, it is hard to focus on the chemistry class you are being forced to take.  Waiting a few years can really make the difference.  Now when I am in class, I actually care what the professor is lecturing about, and for once, I actually try to participate in discussions, because it is related to what I want to do in my career. 

The thought of walking into a classroom with other students half your age might scare you a bit, but you’re doing this because it is something YOU want to do. Who cares what anyone else thinks?  You are the one with the life experience, and that is only going to make those dull classroom discussions all the more interesting.  Now you won’t be that timid 18 year old in the back of the classroom who is too shy to raise their hand, because you have years of life experiences to relate to!

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