Conquering College Later in Life

High schools around the country prepare students for college and many students take on hard classes striving to get high scores on their tests so it can get them into a good college. At the same time these students are stressed out by these tests not only to score high but also to not disappoint their parents and teachers. Schools put on so much pressure on these students that it becomes difficult to really concentrate on why they want to go to college, finding their purpose at such a young age can be challenging. This is the reason why is better to go to college later in life because many young adults don’t have the motivation, persistence and engagement . At a young age we hear “college is not for everyone” bringing some students down or putting some doubt to enter college life. As for an adult going back to college he/she has life experience certain situations can motivate and make the individual get a degree not having the pressure to satisfy someone else but actually do it for themselves to succeed in life.  

Are older adults taking over college campuses? Not really but 8.1 million college and university students are age 25 and older. The National Center for Education statistics found 1 in 10 undergraduate students were age 40 and older in 2013. Many high school graduates start college but don’t finish and this isn’t uncommon because many young adults face distractions the lack of emotional maturation and real world experience can make it easier to fall off track. Many young adults have the opportunity to pursue a career right after high school and have the financial and emotional support from their families but sometimes they get a degree in a field that they might not necessarily love it might pay good but doesn’t fulfill their dreams. For instance, I have two sisters who went to a four year college after graduating from high school one has a degree in Theatre Arts and the other has a degree in film production but both have jobs that are the total opposite of what they studied for. They realized after that it wasn’t what they really wanted but decided to finish school since they already had invested time and money but are happy with their new successful jobs. 

The economy is continuously changing and recessions happen but with a degree you can find a job sooner. Workers of age 25 and older 11% earn $35,900 a year after taxes with an associate’s degree, 25% earn $46,900 with a bachelor’s, 11% earn $56,800 with a master’s degree. We all know the job market is getting very competitive and company owners look for those degree workers just having the experience is not enough but having a degree will help you move up the latter thus having a better paying job and be economically secure. Maybe you have a job that you really like but want to go to school to get paid more or you want to go back to start a new career which will look even better in your resume which will open more windows. Life experience is a helpful tool to help you complete your studies your age works to your advantage your years in the workforce and life have prepared you. Great opportunities present themselves when going back to school later in life like personal growth. Throughout the years we lose sight of who we are at the same job, having responsibilities and raising a family and going to school will release the pressure of being a mother, father, provider, boss, teacher etc. Having been working in the “real world” you now have a good idea of your skills, passions and desired skills something the youngsters don’t have much experience. You can now earn a degree in your true area of interest you will attend college with that feeling that you actually want to be there and more likely to focus on your studies than a frat party because the distractions of your youth are now behind you. You will not only walk away with a degree but with a new you, new purpose you will feel self-worth and accomplished. 

It’s never too late to pursue a degree maybe college wansn’t right for you at that time, you probably began working perhaps you began raising a family or were in another situation. Now you’re older and like many other older adults are longing to return and finish what they once started. Maybe you need closure? Maybe is time to start a new career because education is very important and now a days is crucial in the job market it makes a huge difference in life and supporting a family. Of course going back will not be easy and it can be discouraging to see young faces in your classroom it will take time to adjust with the new teaching styles and learning methods. Having to balance work and family can be difficult as a parent or spouse we need to figure it out how to attend those responsibilities with our children and house work but all that will help you handle the hardships of college education. Going back will be challenging unlike a young adult who has less demands on their time but you won’t regret it you will also meet others like you earning degrees later in life and making new relationships more connections. You will broaden your knowledge you will be eager to learn knowing that there’s no time or money to waste but getting things done. 

It’s never too late to learn, many have discovered their passion, their life long dreams later in life many have furthered their education and have reinvented their careers. If many have done it with obstacles in life you can too! Leave the fear and give yourself an opportunity even more give your family and your children that opportunity  If you’ve been thinking or hesitating to go back to school because you feel is too late or too you’re too old stop and go for it! You can do it! It might take time to get there and is ok if you take it slow but you will get there and is something you will never regret let your mind explore, experience new things, learn and be more open minded find your new career! I myself am going through these struggles having two young children and being pregnant but I’m happy to be back in school I found a new purpose now that I’m a mother and a wife. I understand it will take time and some days it can be so exhausting and stressful but I’m determined and really want to achieve my associate’s degree in child development because I want to be a preschool teacher. All this inspiration came from having my children, my goal is to be a better mother and I’ve been learning many great things which has opened up my mind and has motivated me to keep on learning and become a better person. 

“So I think we can agree, and we need to start feeling that hunger again, you know what I mean?  (Applause.) We need to once again fight to educate ourselves and our children like our lives depend on it, because they do. “ (Michelle Obama)

Book: Berger, Kathleen. The Developing Person Through Childhood and Adolescence. New York. Worth Publishers. 2018. Pp. 290-291

Gopaul, Felicia. “Why To Pursue A College Degree Later in Life”. College Funding Resource. Feb 9, 2012.

Obama, Michelle. “Remarks by the First Lady at Bowie State University Commencement Ceremony.” The White House Office of the First Lady. 

Uw Flexible Option Team. “Financial Security and Beyond: The 3 Biggest Benefits of Going Back to College”. Nov 18, 2014. Kaselj, Rick. “Going Back to School Later In Life”. Exercises For Injuries. Oct. 5, 2017.