The Insider’s Guide to Going Back to School in Your 40s

There are many reasons why people in their 40s consider a return to school. Tired of the same career for the last 10 years or having gone as far up the food chain as possible, school of often crosses the minds of those who are at least twice the age of the average student.

If this sounds familiar then perhaps it is your time to consider a professional transformation. It is true there are many challenges for those 40 and over looking to return to the college campus, but there is also an abundance of rewards. Christopher Maag reported in his article for ABC News both the pros and some cons for 40 somethings to return to college.

The happiest people switch up their careers more than once in their adult lives. College may look scary when you have been a long time gone, however, many of those fears are unfounded when there are more reasons to return.

Three Reasons your Head is Telling You to ignore your Heart

You may be longing to go back to school and finally get your degree in web design, accounting, or education; however, your head is reminding you that it may not be that simple.

Time and Duties

Mature students are expected to bring with them more responsibilities and everyday obligations when matched to students in their 20s. Learners in their 40s usually have family commitments occupying their time.  Older students will tell you they are prepared to work in addition to their studies however it is the balancing of many schedules that is difficult.

Any postsecondary student will tell you that school is a huge time commitment. In class time, preparing for class, and then the time required for essays, assignments, and readings all adds up.

Terror and Panic

After being out of a classroom for potentially decades, numerous adults are undecided about whether to join their younger counterparts. Their dread is heightened if they are unemployed.  Many of us in our 40s lack confidence in their learning abilities. Chances are once you get back into the classroom, your motivation to learn will be stronger than when you were younger.

The Price tag

The education price tag can be challenging for anyone. Potential students in their 40s will likely toss in daycare costs or mortgage payments costs for chasing an education. If you view your education as an investment, the price of attending college becomes less of a hurdle.

Your salary increase as a result of gaining more education frequently offsets the costs of returning to school. Many colleges, counting those proposing online courses, are reasonably priced. Before determining you cannot return to school, contemplate how going back will aid you in reaching your long-term professional and educational objectives.

Five Reasons going back to school in your 40s is sweeter than Christmas Morning.

Believe it or not your many decades of living will work to your advantage more than you first thought. As a student in your 40s, you will likely be pleasantly surprised as if it were Christmas Morning!

  1. Bad experiences are good for you. Older students like you know what it feels like to earn less than you are worth. Losing your job or passed over for a promotion is enormously motivating. Forfeiting your needs to care for your kids or parents can help you shed light on your objectives when you are finally able to do something for you.
  2. You love them but in your 40s your parents’ feelings about college no longer dictate your actions. Going to college now is because you want to, not to placate your parents. You choose your career and future now.
  3. You recognize what it is you want. You have battled for survival in the big bad world. You work and pay your bills. You know the prospects and the price of accomplishment. In your 40s, you recognize more than any 20-year-old student the advantages of education. Make that awareness work for you. Your will make smarter choices and how to get where you want to go.
  4. There are many colleges offering flexible schedules. Evening, weekend, and online courses help you finish your school work at a time that suits you; after work, with sleeping children, or in the morning before your day starts.
  5. Your 20 year head start. Countless students in their 20s know only one president, are not as well read, or have the experiences you have. What they are familiar with is limited. You have an overall, social knowledge, and wisdom they will not reach until they are your age. Merry Christmas!

All major life altering decisions require serious thought. Whether or not to return to school in your 40s is no different. It is important to remember that although it may be a terrifying journey to consider, the rewards are just as bountiful as they are scary.