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A Tough Question: Is College Worth Your Time Later In Life?

Going to university later in life? Consider these points.

A lot of us may feel that we missed out on a great education early in life and that it might be too late to start now. But, whatever your reasons for not embarking on a few years in college, it’s still worth asking the question, especially if you want to get into education later in life, if university is really worth your time? If your children have flown the nest, and you are trying to find another purpose in life, education may be able to fill that gap. But also a lot of people are now prone to changing careers halfway through their life. In this respect an education can be a great springboard to get you on the career ladder. So let’s examine if college is the key to a great start in professional life.

The Case For Getting An Education

Depending on your skill sets, acquiring a degree is a great start to get you acquainted with the industry you have aspirations towards. If you have been harboring dreams about a whole new career path, but have limited knowledge on it, the right degree will give you that essential background you need.

A lot of degrees nowadays are also completed online such as on, which is fantastic if you want to complete a degree in your own time. And that way you don’t need to get the experience of college life if you don’t want to.

Ultimately, getting an excellent education is something a lot of people feel they missed out on, so in this respect it’s something many people feel they have to do. Thankfully, due to the Internet, you can achieve that diploma from home, meaning that it doesn’t have to impact on your life the way a standard degree program would.

The Case Against Getting An Education

The big drawback for many people, and stops so many people thinking about getting a degree, is the cost. A lot of students all over the world now find they are struggling financially during university, and continue to struggle long after they have finished their degree.

There are resources you can make the most of to help with debt such as, which gives plenty of information on the realities of being saddled with student debt. The other question a lot of people ask themselves now is, if they want to target a specific career ladder, do they really need a degree to start that journey?

Many people gain an entry-level position and work their way up the ladder without acquiring a degree. If you are classed as “mature,” you can use this to your advantage as you have life experience over your 21-year-old counterparts. But with an entry-level job comes the equivalent pay, which is likely to be low, so beware of this.

A Few Last Words on College

College can be worth your time, but you need to assess where you are in your life, and if you aren’t able to support yourself then you need to decide whether the end product will be worth the struggle in the meantime. This is something that can be hard to figure out, but if you look at the amount of people with a qualification yet still struggle to get into their chosen career, it could be a slap in the face after all that effort. But, on the other side of the coin, a lot of people have described going back to continue their education as the best thing we have ever done as it’s set them on a fantastic trajectory!

15 thoughts on “A Tough Question: Is College Worth Your Time Later In Life?”

  1. In the end, it’s all a matter of what you want to do in life. It’s all about goal setting. College may not be necessary. But for some professions, it’s a must. I’m a medical student. And i don’t think there’s any other way a person can become a doctor without going through college first. :)

    I’m starting a blog! It’s about tips and strategies to motivate yourself in your student life.

  2. If it is a passion then one should follow it. All the while keeping in mind burnout is real and a healthy mental state is needed for an educational endeavor. With balance and passion, we should all go for what we want in life.

  3. I got married and had my first child during my first attempt at a college degree, and willingly left school because my other obligations had to take first priority. A part of me was saddened that I was unable to continue, but financially and time-wise it was a long time before I could realistically afford to do something about it. Finally, a few years ago, I began taking online courses to finish, and when I finally graduated I felt a sense of accomplishment that I had been missing for twenty years-like I had finally succeeded. So yes, for me it was worthwhile to go back, because doing so let me close a chapter in my life that felt unfinished and gave me the incentive to choose a new career path for myself.

  4. I am just coming to the end of a degree and I have to say it has been worth the last 3 years of my time and will be worth the next 8 months until I finish. I am 37 and undertaking this degree has literally changed my life! I am currently in the process of applying for a PhD which had never been a possibility before but is now within my reach.

  5. I have just completed a BSc (Hons) in Health and Social Care with the Open University. It took seven years hard slog but I have learnt so much and I am so happy I achieved the degree. I don’t work in the Health sector, I’ve always worked in Accounting. I’ve met and become friends with some amazing, inspirational people. The study has broadened my horizons and definitely enriched life. Cost could be an issue; I was working full time and studied at night or weekends and I studied one module at a time which spread the cost but also meant it took longer. I got there in the end!

  6. I’m all for it. Two of my sons and I have gotten further education. Only one son’s current work is directly related. Another son is still finding his pace. My two post graduate degrees haven’t brought in a lot of money but have enriched my life. I wouldn’t be the same person without them. We three had supportive spouses.

  7. Education as you have said has its importance, and it becomes more purposeful if one can make the effort to realize their innate nature, enlightenment. Am talking about maximum self fulfilment that arises when one has true self knowledge.

    He who knows himself first, gets to know the world.

  8. Great points. I guess if you look at the difference between ‘taking an entry level’ versus ‘attending school’ you could see the true cost. For example, if you took an entry job for $35,000 versus a university education of say $22,000 (out of state) then you would be $57,000 ahead by taking that entry level job. By the time you get your four-year degree that difference would be over $200,000.

  9. One thing that is astounding is that the cost of attending college has skyrocketed over the last 30+ years. I went to a private college in the late 1960s. The total cost per year (tuition and food and housing and everything else) was about $3500. At that college today I bet the total is $60,000 or more.

  10. Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, MCC, SCAC

    If you are thinking of college only as a means to a higher paying job, you might be better off in trade school or jumping right into the workforce after High School, working hard and never looking back.

    If you want to become an educated person with well-developed, wide-ranging thinking skills, college is one of the best things you can do for yourself – and in a much more collapsed time-frame than most self-educated folks take to do it. And if you can possibly swing it, go live vs. internet (at least once you get your basics out of the way, if you are starting from the beginning).

    It is not a myth that an on-site college education is broadening – from lessons and discussions in the classroom, from your required reading, and from the conversations you will have with fellow students like and unlike yourself that will be difficult to experience in any other environment. You can make some of your best friends in a college setting, and many people do.

    I dropped in and out of college for many years – alternating with period of work – and I wouldn’t trade the experience of my college years for anything. I also worked for several years before I went to on to grad school – and I may still go back for a Ph.D. If I could swing it financially, I would go NOW.

    MOST of what I do now is self-taught – but I learned how to learn in college. There is no better place for it.
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie)
    ADD/EFD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder
    “It takes a village to educate a world!”

  11. I was laid off and despite or because of 25 years experience, I could not find anything. I couldn’t even get an interview. A friend of mine suggested on going to school and getting a degree. I was 42 and did not do well in high school. I dropped out when I was 15, after failing 10th grade. I got my GED right away but went into office work. I prayed and everything opened wide open. I was able to get a grant and financial aid. I was scared, but then got several certificates in healing arts and it was hard, but very worth it to me.

    1. Well done! I admire your determination and hope that returning to education has opened up a whole new world of interest, enjoyment and social interaction for you!

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