Should You Return To College?

Adult learner returns to schoolHave you ever thought of going to college?  Have you started before and stopped but would like to go back? Are you perhaps thinking of a career change?
Adults returning to college are the single largest demographic group currently pursuing higher education.  This trend is growing and you can be part of it!
College is a great way to advance in your current career or break into a new career altogether.  You can go to a school near you, or even a school online like Western Governor’s University.  You will take a series of 10-20 classes, and then you will have a certificate, diploma or degree that an get you a higher salary or a different job.  Credentials pay off!
It can be scary, though, to think about going back.  Some of the most common fears are:

  • Can I do schoolwork after all these years?
  • Will the other students be smarter than me?
  • Will my family think this is a good idea?
  • Can we afford it?
  • How will I make the time?
  • What do you even do at college?
  • What if I start but can’t finish for some reason?

The short answer is, you can do this!  Of course you can!  You’re smart, you’re determined, you can do this!  It’s ok to feel hesitant because college is a new and unknown world, so let’s talk about these fears one at a time:
Can I do schoolwork after all these years?
Yes, you can.  For however many years you’ve been out of school, you’ve been going to work every day and solving problems, thinking creatively and putting your brain to work.  This will be the same.  It might seem new at first, but you’ll pick it up in no time, and the college has lots of support programs in place to help you re-learn how to study, solve math problems, and write essays.  Colleges want to help you! 
Will the other students be smarter than me?
Nope.  Not all of them.  Some of them might be, but that’s life.  You’ll be smarter than some other people for sure.  The important thing is that you get in there, and do your best, and encourage your classmates to do their best.  School is like being on a team.

Will my family think this is a good idea?
Yes.  Convince them that you will be happier in your new job because you will make more money or get to do something you find more interesting.  This will certainly decrease your stress, make you more fun to be around, and improve your health.  Everyone’s family wants that!
Can we afford it?
For education, you can always find a way.  There are more and more scholarships for adults returning to college than there have ever been before.  Make a plan.  Make some sacrifices.  Rent your books instead of buying them.  Be creative, but you can make this happen.
How will I make the time?
This is important.  You will need to talk honestly with your family about the times you need to be in class and the time you will need to study, too.  You may not be able to study at home, so go to the library or a coffee shop.  There will definitely be a sacrifice of your time for school, so prepare yourself for this mentally.
What do you even do at college?
It’s basically like high school with less frequent homework, fewer quizzes and tests, and shorter terms.  You go to class, take notes, listen carefully, do the readings beforehand, and then study for any tests.  If there are essays you start writing them as soon as you get the assignment and absolutely ask your professor for help on your thesis and outline before you start writing, and use the free writing lab on campus to get extra editing help, too!
What if I start but can’t finish for some reason?
If you need to take a break for health, family or financial reasons, don’t give up on your dream!  Set a deadline for when you will start again.  Look, in ten years, you are going to be ten years older no matter what.  You can be ten years older with your degree or without it–that’s your choice.  I say, don’t give up!  Never give up.  NEVER give up!!
Adults returning to college are the largest group of all people in America going to college right now, so there are more of you than teenagers anyway!  You guys can do this by feeling that truth and realizing that YOU are the new face of college!  Follow your dream!  You can do this!!


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