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5 Reasons for Going Back to School as an Adult


It’s never too late to learn new things. Therefore, it’s not too late to go back to school. Going back to school as an adult can be an enriching experience that helps you gain knowledge and build credentials. Moreover, it can help you reach several career and personal development goals, ultimately opening new career paths and opportunities for growth.

This blog post will explore the many reasons for going back to school as an adult and why now may be a great time for you. 

5 Reasons For Going Back to School as an Adult

Being enrolled as a college student isn’t just for fresh high school graduates. In fact, adult learners comprise a sizable segment of college students at the undergraduate and graduate levels. According to the most recent data provided by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), adults over 25 made up 41 percent of all part-time U.S. undergraduates and 15 percent of all full-time undergraduates in fall 2019. On the graduate level, students over 25 were the majority in full-time and part-time programs.

There may be many reasons you’re considering going back to school, from personal to strictly career-related. Perhaps you want to improve your chances of a promotion or gain new knowledge in a different field. Maybe the pandemic has led you to evaluate your options. If so, you’re not alone. According to a Student Loan Hero survey, 43 percent of adults below 40 have considered going back to school amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

If you’ve been thinking of going back to school to complete your undergraduate or graduate studies, here are some of the reasons you may be considering:

Choose the best online degree program for you. Learn more: The Best Online Degree Programs for Working Adults

To gain the knowledge required for a career change.

If you’re considering a change of industry or job function, going back to school can expose you to potential new career paths. A college degree program introduces you to new best practices and provides exposure to tools and technologies you’re likely to encounter in your chosen career path. For example, if you’re a nurse interested in shifting into hospital administration, pursuing an MBA in Health Care Administration (MBA-HCA) can equip you with the knowledge and skills you need to transition into your new career path.

To position yourself for a new role or a promotion.

Going back to school as an adult can provide you with credentials that are attractive to your current employer (or a new one). Returning to school signals your interest in expanding your existing knowledge and helps prospective employers see your commitment and passion for your field.

To improve your earning potential.

Put simply, the more education you have, the higher your earning potential. According to the Bureau for Labor Statistics (BLS), median weekly earnings rise with every level of education attained. Whether you need to better support your family or have other financial goals, going back to school can help you earn a degree that can translate into higher earnings over time.

To pursue upskilling or reskilling opportunities.

In almost every field, you must keep your knowledge current to perform your job successfully. Completing a new degree program keeps your job skills sharp by delivering the latest knowledge and best practices in your field. Moreover, returning to school as an adult can provide opportunities to improve soft skills such as problem-solving and teamwork, helping you perform at a higher level at work.

To achieve personal growth.

Going back to school can provide less tangible results that are still highly valuable. Being in a new learning environment may be just the experience you need to view your career and life through a new lens. For example, going back to school can help you explore your vocation and life’s calling, resulting in greater satisfaction and personal growth. 

If you’re a working parent, you may return to school to help your children see that it’s possible to attend school at any age. Although attending school while parenting and working is challenging, it can help you lead by example and show your family that balancing college work and adult life is achievable.

Advantages of Going Back to School as an Adult

Deciding whether to go back to school is no small decision, requiring your time, effort, and resources. But when you return to school as an adult, you can experience some unique benefits. For example, consider the following:

  • Real-world applicability: Earning a degree can complement your existing education and experience. In fact, many of the new concepts you learn in class may be directly applicable to your everyday work.

  • Better sense of self: As an adult learner, you have the benefit of maturity and life experience to help you succeed as a student. You’ve learned how you work and learn best, helping you absorb new material and make the most of each class.

  • Alignment with life and career goals: When you go back to school as an adult, you have an opportunity to think critically about how your new degree will benefit your life and career. Your choice to go back to school likely aligns with your work and life goals, keeping you focused.

Thanks to technological advancements, adult learning at the college level is possible no matter where you’re located. When you pursue an online degree program, you can continue working and managing other life responsibilities as you study.

Whether you select an online undergraduate or graduate degree in business, healthcare, social work, or another area, you can take advantage of educational programs with flexible schedules designed for working adults. And given that there are limited scholarships for adult learners, you can also benefit from the affordable and predictable tuition that an online program provides. Lastly, an online degree program gives you ample opportunities to interact with a community of other adult learners.

Pursue the Best Online Degree For You

When you’re juggling work and other life responsibilities, it’s natural to wonder how it’s possible to go back to school as an adult. But the decision may become clearer when you consider why you want to go back and the benefits you stand to gain. 

Going back to school as an adult not only opens up new career options and boosts your earning potential, but also helps you pursue the vocation you’ve always dreamed of when considering your future. And when you pursue an online degree at Mount Vernon Nazarene University, you can learn without putting the rest of your life on hold.

If you’ve been considering going back to school, but weren’t sure where to start, check out our free e-book, The Best Online Degree Programs For Working Adults.