Are you wondering whether to return to school? Reading these benefits of being an older student could inspire you to apply to a college or university soon!
You’re never too old to pursue education
There are so many bright older adults out there who are struggling to reach their full potential, simply because they weren’t able to get an education in their younger days. Perhaps when they were growing up, it wasn’t the normal thing, or they started a family young and were unable to attend college.
No matter the reason, their inability to reach their zenith is not only a shame for them, but for the whole country that could benefit from their knowledge and experience. The good news is, no matter how old you are or your past, it is never too late to get an education.
If you feel you’re not living up to your full potential, consider getting an education in your ’40s, ’50s, ’60s, or any other decade! Here are some of the benefits of being an older student:
You have life experience as an older student
A lot of young adults drop out of college before getting a degree. Why?
They struggle with the life side of the experience. They aren’t used to standing on their own two feet, living away from home, and motivating themselves to do things rather than having their parents motivate them.
As an older woman, you have no doubt lived a life. You may well have kids of your own, and you’ll undoubtedly have had to stand on your own two feet. That means you are in a much better position to settle in and focus on getting an education as an older student now.
Given your experiences, you’ve also likely found what you like and what areas of work don’t satisfy you. Also, you might have a strong pull towards helping others and want to go into healthcare.
You have work experience
Something that often holds younger women back when graduating college and starting to look for their dream job is having little work experience. As an older woman, this scenario is likely to be different for you.
Whether you plan to do an online mba in healthcare management or get a degree in teaching from Yale, once you graduate, you’ll be able to use your experience as leverage to get your dream job. What’s not to love about that?
You have money
As well as being fantastic from an experience standpoint, the fact that you’ve been out into the working world will (hopefully) mean that you have some money behind you to support your studies and student lifestyle. While subsisting off of beans on toast and basic accommodation might seem like it’s all part of the glamor of student life, it’s actually a significant distraction away from your studies. Those classes and projects are, ultimately, your whole reason for being there. In fact, many female students of the past would argue that a lack of funds was the #1 hardest thing to deal with during their years of study.
By comparison, heading to college as a grown woman with cash in the bank means that you can actually afford decent student apartment rentals to ensure a private place to study, and decent food choices that actually do something for your brain functioning. While this might not exactly make you “one of the cool students living on the breadline,” it will most definitely ensure that you’re able to focus your replenished energies on studies that stick.
The internet is a thing now
One of the benefits of coming to education at a later stage in life is undoubtedly the availability of online degree programs and courses. They enable you to study on your own terms at a time convenient for you.
If the idea of attending classes on campus always puts you off, well now you don’t have to do that! Online platforms make learning at your own pace, where you want, when you want, easier than ever.
Being an older student can change your life
As an adult, you may have given up on many of your hopes and dreams over the years. If you resigned yourself to living a quiet life with a job that pays the bills, it’s important to know that there is so much more out there. That life probably doesn’t inspire you much, and you deserve more.
If you decide to get an education, it will open up your world. The academic journey will help you realize that you do have more wonderful options available. These are options that could change your life. So, why not seize the opportunity?
16 thoughts on “The Benefits of Being an Older Student”
I’m an older student, I studied online for a BA first and now I’m at a brick uni for my Masters. And I’m 55. It’s daunting and it took me a while to settle in but I’m loving it! Never too old, never too late,
I am 43 and just began my masters program following 18 months of an excelerated program to get my undergraduate. I feel more disciplined, prepared and excited for this time of my life.
I went back for an MBA at 40, when the average age of an MBA is 26-28. Doubts are always there, and specially depending on the personal context, in my case with a family.
But as you mention, the experience and life perspective can give an a different edge to look into new opportunities.
After finishing my MBA from HEC Paris, it was worth it, in terms of experience, leverage of new friends/network. Although landing a job was not an easy task! But it did changed our lives, moving from South America to Europe.
For those interested I’ve shared some of my MBA experiences in my blog. Looking forward to share thoughts.
I went back to school in my early forties and completed (finally!) my BA last year through an online program while working full-time. It is definitely possible if you are determined to make it work, and the rewards are infinite
I’m an older student, or maybe just a life-long learner. It’s wonderful to keep learning. Thank you. Great post!
Having a diverse student dynamic is so important.
It seems strange that the majority of scholarship
options are only available right after HS graduation,
and then those same opportunities vanish. Similarly
I knew so many people who went straight from BA to
MA (at 20/21 years old) Most of the people I know
say it was too fast. Rather than taking time off and
entering the workforce, or traveling. Having a reprieve
from studying allows one to get real world experience,
& see what areas they are lacking or would like to
focus in. The returning students during my degree had
much more focus & drive, having been in the work force.
It was very inspiring to see people who had successful
careers in various fields returning to higher education to
peruse their passions. So many 18 years olds are
undeclared or switch majors 1/2 way through & don’t
know whether they are coming or going. Education and
learning is a lifelong process, not everything can be
taught in a classroom context. Encouraging diversity
and more importantly providing scholarships and assistance
to wider demographics enriches the learning process for
I agree, Christy. I returned to study a couple of times when I was older and found the experience and motivation a great aid. Going to college straight from school, seemed more a continuation of school as opposed to a choice.
Meaningful and full of sense, liked your post.
Wonderful tips, Christy! But actually only for the USA and most of other countries. In Germany we are living in the past, since 15 years. There are only a few senior-study programs. ;-)
Have a great sunday! ;-) Michael
Totally agree with you on this one. This year I completed an Honours degree in Health and Social Care via The Open University. It took seven years, it was hard work, tears were shed and all nighters to write up assignments. I’m so proud of myself. I left school with nothing and now have two degrees and an accountancy qualification. Life experiences have been invaluable to my studies and I would highly recommend studying in later life to everyone if they have to opportunity to do so.
We are never too old to learn anything new☺ Inspiring post👏🙂
I went back to school in my 50’s. I was so afraid I would stand out like a sore thumb. But it was one of the best experiences. I loved it!
I worked for three years full time before I started my correspondence course at Uni, Christy. I needed to get the money together to pay for the first year of my course and I worked part time throughout my degree. I had a full scholarship for my second and third years and then I started working full time in my honours year. To qualify as a Chartered Accountant you have to do three years of articles and a board exam. I think my three years work experience really stood me good stead with sticking to my studying schedule. I also helped me when I started working.
Great Tips Christy!
Beautiful tips. I agree with your view points. Thanks for it.
As a professor, I can say that I’ve always loved teaching the few older students I’ve had in my classes. They are focused, eager to learn, and generous with the other, younger, students.