It’s never too late to go back to school and get your degree. There are many things to think about when going back to school as an adult, and one of the biggest questions for most students is, will it pay off?
The benefits of being an adult student far outweigh the cost, and most students who decide to go back to school do so for the following reasons:
- Obtain a higher salary.
- Secure a promotion.
- Learn necessary skills.
- Become a specialist.
- Gain credentials.
- Change careers.
U.S. Bureau of Labor Education Pays statistics show earnings can substantially increase with each level of degree completed.
|Educational attainment||Median usual weekly earnings||Average salary|
|Some college, no degree||$802||$41,704|
|High school diploma, no college||$730||$37,960|
|Less than a high school diploma||$553||$28,756|
|*Ages 25 and over. Earnings are for full-time wage and salary workers, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Population Survey.|
It’s important to choose a degree that translates to a job with room to grow, and you can start with the BLS occupational statistics and job outlooks to compare potential careers with more solid data to back your choice.
The good news is that a good education can easily be obtained online—so going back to school as an adult, as a busy parent or even while working full time, has never been easier than it is in 2021. There are many options for flexibility with studies, such as fully online degrees and classrooms and virtual resources that give you access to tutoring services and online libraries.
Paying for College as an Adult
Investing in your education doesn’t have to be expensive, especially when you choose a college that offers scholarships and benefits for adult learners. At the same time, finishing your degree faster by starting college with credits can also help you save.
How to Afford Going Back to School as an Adult?
There are other ways to save on your education, and some of them include getting experiential learning credit for on-the-job training and certificates, transferring previously completed college credits and degrees, and finishing your degree faster through an accelerated program.
If you’re already employed, then you can check to see if your company sponsors any form of higher education for its employees. Some corporations sponsor college tuition costs to help their employees obtain the necessary skills to take on a more specialized role.
Finally, you can obtain federal and state loans and grants by filling out your FAFSA. Financial aid worthiness is evaluated and based on income and need.
Practical Steps to Take When Going Back to School
If you’re thinking about going back to school as an adult, then there are some practical steps you can take to get started with your application before nailing down any details. Start with this checklist to get started today.
- Complete Your FAFSA.
- Request transcripts and test scores.
- Find the right college program.
- Apply by application deadlines and submit all requirements.
- Prepare for your first day of class.
You probably have a good reason for wanting to go back to school—and it’s most likely reaching your goal of obtaining your degree. Keeping this reason in mind will help if you’re struggling to stay motivated.
Focusing on the payoff will help you stick to it and continually do your best to balance work and school as an adult.
Here are some things you can do to find motivation:
- Keep your eyes on the prize: Write down your goal and keep it top of mind. If it helps to count down, then celebrate each semester as a milestone.
- Take care of yourself: Save time for self-care in the form of exercise, meditation or simple R&R. Give yourself a break every once in a while.
- Structure is your friend: Plan your weekly routine and stick to it—a consistent routine will guide you through chaos and unforeseen challenges.
- Stay sharp: Get plenty of sleep to start each day right (or take naps!). Lack of sleep can cause loss of concentration and alertness. Your body and brain will thank you.
- Don’t fall behind: Always go to class, unless you’re unwell. When you’re actively participating, it’s difficult to fall behind.
- Adopt a study habit: Everyone studies differently, and it’s important to take the time to form a regular study habit, even if it is for just 10 minutes a day. There’s always room for improvement or mastery or to learn something new.
- You’re older and wiser: Now is the time to apply the life skills you’ve gained through experience to get the most out of your college education.
Going back to school as an adult can open up a world of new possibilities and opportunities that benefit you in your career and your life. Gaining more knowledge is the key to getting ahead, and having a higher level of education is a proven approach to upping your earning potential.
Not only this, but going back to school as an adult might just be the solution to securing your preferred job.