This post is also available in: French
Do you feel like you missed out on your studies? You’re probably not alone. There are plenty of excellent reasons why people have missed out on the university education they may have wanted to pursue. The cost of the course fees and the cost of living are often significant factors. For some people, it could be a lack of confidence in their academic performance, while for others, it could be family or health reasons. But just because you missed out before, that doesn’t mean that going back to university isn’t something you can never do.
In fact, you can go back now or in the near future. While you didn’t head there straight out of high school, or, if you did, you didn’t complete the degree program, the opportunity still exists to do so. There’s no age limit on being a student!
While life may have get more complicated as you age, sometimes you need to take the leap and head off and study if that’s what you want to do.
Why going back to university makes sense
You may find yourself asking why you should even go to university in the first place.
There are plenty of great reasons to study. The first and most obvious reason is that it will give you the knowledge and experience of a particular subject. This may be a necessary step to obtain a career in a specific field.
Studying at a higher academic level helps you develop critical thinking. Many employers trying to fill higher-level positions look for the type of soft skills that a university education can offer you. Even if your qualifications are not in a field that is relevant to their industry, your problem-solving skills are research abilities may be advantageous.
Achieving a higher-level qualification such as a bachelor’s or master’s degree will give you the self-confidence that you might need to push yourself forward in life. If this is something that you feel as though you’ve lacked so far, heading back to university may be a good way of developing this.
Find the right subject to study
If you’ve decided to go back and study, one of the significant decisions you’ll need to take is what course you want to study.
You may have a definite idea of the career path that you’d like to take. If you do, this might narrow your course options to just a small handful. If this is the case, explore each option and look at the progression routes for each type of course.
You may want to get a career in PR and ultimately take a public relations program; however, there might be different course options. With variations on subjects between institutions, it’s vital that you read through all of the brochures and explore the module options. Finding the course that matches your specific niche interest in a subject could make a big difference.
If one university offers a version of the course that appears to put more of weight towards a specific area of the subject or developing a particular set of skills, and these areas are of interest, this might be the course for you. To help you decide, read reviews of the course online.
Where possible, make sure these reviews are coming from independent sources. Try and find student forums and find out as much as you can from current and former students.
Going back to university: Which one?
Picking the right university for you is essential, and I discussed its importance recently.
You may have limitations on how far you can travel for your studies, or if you can relocate or not. Decide on whether you can go to a different town or city to study. If you can’t, then you will be looking at a smaller pool of universities.
Another option that might be open to you is to study online. Check out the options for the course that you’re interested in and see which institutions have a distance version.
Aside from the geographical issues, or whether you’re planning on enrolling in a taught course, or an online degree, you can also explore the quality of teaching in a university.
Read reviews of the academic staff and try and find out what the university has on offer in terms of resources. If possible, see what plans the specific department that you’d be studying under has with regards to future spending on your course, or in the subject matter.
Choosing a study method that suits your needs
Are you able to study full-time? Or, do you need to carry on working throughout your studies or manage childcare?
Find out what your options are in terms of part-time study. You may also want to discuss how much time will be spent in lectures or seminars compared to self-directed studies.
Many universities have flexible options for some of their qualifications.
Going back to university: Financial considerations
A major area that you need to think about is how you are going to fund your degree or certificate program. University courses can be pricey, so make sure you understand the extent of your course fees beforehand so you don’t get a shocking financial update in the future.
Finally, you will need to factor in the cost of living, and the need to buy study resources, such as coursebooks and stationary. You also might need to buy equipment, if you don’t already have it, such as a laptop to use for assignments.
You might be able to take out a loan to pay for your studies. However, you will need to figure out how you’ll pay it back, including any associated interest that accumulates over time.
If you’re looking to find work using your degree and are hoping to go into a field that has a high chance of moving into a well-paid role, then taking out a loan for your studies will seem like a sensible plan.
Remember to enjoy your studies
Once you’ve found a program that you want to complete at a school that makes sense for you, it’s time to take the next step and submit your application. You’re going back to school, baby!
Your time as a student will likely fly by. There are likely to be lots of opportunities that come your way while studying, and it’s important to remember to stay open to new experiences.
At times your course may be stressful, but remember to enjoy your studies and also the social aspects of school. This time of your life is an incredible one! Pursue your education passionately and enthusiastically, looking forward to the career possibilities that come after graduation.
Have you thought about going back to university? If you were to start a new career, what would it be?
This post is also available in: French