Top 5 Reasons You Should Go Back to School
Adults Returning to School
Recent studies indicate that more than fifty percent of students going to college these days are adults. Adult learners can be defined as those students age 24 and older who have been out of school and in the workforce for several years and who have decided to return to college for continuing education. In order to better meet the needs of this growing segment of students attending college, educational professionals must endeavor to pinpoint the motivation for their return to the classroom. Let’s take a look at the top five reasons adults decide to further their education.
- Career Advancement
- Expanded Opportunities
- Degree Completion
- Job Loss
- Personal Growth After Retirement
As ever-increasing numbers of people enter the workforce with a college degree, many fields require higher degrees in order to advance to the most coveted positions. Adults who have been in the workforce for several years may find themselves outpaced by younger colleagues who can boast of a master’s or doctoral degree, catapulting them to higher rungs on the corporate ladder. In order to remain competitive, these adults often choose to return to school for an advanced degree. In addition, some companies ask employees to take specific courses in order to be eligible for advancement, meaning older adults might sign up for night classes even without a degree in mind.
While the stereotypical mid-life crisis may be highly exaggerated, the idea of a career change after years in a particular field does hold appeal for many adults. In order to expand their opportunities for choosing a career they love, they may consider returning to school for specific job training in their field of interest. In addition, many adults find themselves woefully behind their younger counterparts when it comes to technological advancements. In order to open doors both in their current careers and in new fields, they opt for continuing education that will teach them to navigate a constantly changing technological landscape.
Because more and more employees now hold bachelor’s degrees, many older adults find the idea of degree completion more attractive than they did just a few decades ago. Whether the goal is increased career opportunities or personal achievement, the satisfaction of completing a college degree makes the extra work and long hours of study well worth it for many adult learners.
Many people in the workforce have had to face the hard truth that the ideal of graduating from college and landing a job that will support you until retirement may be just a pipe dream. As financially-strapped business make hard decisions about layoffs and cutbacks, those finding themselves in the growing ranks of the unemployed must consider new ways to earn the attention of hiring companies in a fiercely competitive job market. One way to achieve this goal is to go back to school for a college degree. Job loss can also spur people who have considered changing careers to take the next step in receiving job training for a new field.
Older adults in today’s workforce, either by choice or by necessity, often enter retirement at an earlier age than their parents did. In order to continue learning and to remain professionally active, these adults may choose to pursue degrees that their careers would not allow them to consider during their working years. The satisfaction of personal growth and achievement is its own reward for these self-motivated learners.
Most of us can remember attending a class in college and noticing an older adult or several occupying student desks. As more and more adults choose to seek further education, this experience will evolve from novel to normal for the next generation of college students. Understanding the reasons these adults are choosing to go back to school can help colleges and other continuing education environments as they prepare to make the learning process as accessible as possible for students of all ages and experience levels.