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The Best Age to Learn: Going Back to College at 30

A thoughtful online, student dad with an infant sitting on the couch, he completes his MVNU Online course work from home.There’s something about entering a new decade that makes most of us take stock of our lives, looking back over where we’ve been and looking ahead to what’s on the horizon. Maybe for you, that means considering the possibility of going back to school to broaden your knowledge or make a change in your career.

Ask anyone who’s made the decision to go back to school in their 30s, and you’re likely to hear that they’re glad they took the leap! Going back to school at 30 can be an enriching experience and a great way to invest in yourself, so you’re not looking ahead at the next years with a sense of dread but with excitement for what’s to come.


Why should you consider going back to college at 30?

There are a variety of reasons why it may make sense for you to go back to school at 30 or at any point in your adulthood.

A 2022 study found that, when it came to adults with some college experience, the most common reasons for returning to college were:

  • Achieving a personal goal
  • Finishing what they started
  • Getting a better job

Choose the best online degree program for you. Learn more: The Best Online Degree Programs for Working AdultsThese are all great reasons to consider reenrolling in college. Maybe you have another reason at the top of your list.

You may also be considering attending college for the first time. That’s great too! It’s never too late to try something new and earn a degree that will help you expand your personal and professional horizons.

If you’re self-conscious about going back to college at 30, consider the fact that adults over the age of 25 represent roughly 40 percent of enrollment in U.S. higher education! If you’re considering going back to school now, you’re in good company. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, one survey found that 43 percent of respondents under 40 considered going back to school. It’s an ideal time to go back to college if you want to enjoy classes with plenty of peers in your age category. (Hint: You’re most likely to learn alongside other mature adults if you opt for an online degree program.)


Why is 30 a great age to go back to college?

You may wish you had gotten that bachelor’s or master’s degree in your 20s, but the good news is, there’s a great case to be made for attending college a bit later in life.

Here are some reasons why 30 (or even older) is an excellent time to pursue your dream:


You know what you want to study.

When you’re fresh out of high school, it can be difficult to know what field of study and career is the best fit for you. Maybe you know this firsthand from earning a degree several years ago that isn’t doing much for you in your career. Would you choose that same major now? By the time they’re in their 30s, most people have a better idea of what they’re good at, what they’re passionate about, and what sort of lifestyle they’re after—all important considerations for choosing the right career path or vocation


You have more life experience.

Life experience can go a long way when it comes to succeeding in college. By 30, you’ve likely learned helpful strategies in areas such as time management and collaboration that will be tremendously helpful in college. If you’ve worked from home, then you’re even better equipped to successfully take on virtual learning. You may also have a family and a better sense of your priorities than you had as an 18- or 20-year-old, which can help you enjoy a healthy school-life balance.

Learn more in our on-demand webinar, “How to Prioritize Your Family & Go Back to School at the Same Time.”

How much could you earn with a new degree? See for yourself!


You’re in a better position financially.

Paying for college is a practical concern for most learners. Fortunately, there are ways of making college affordable, no matter what your current financial situation is. However, many adult learners appreciate the fact that they’ve had a chance to establish their finances a bit more, cutting down on the need for loans. Even if you don’t have extra money in the bank to spend on school, you may have a job you can continue to work at while earning your degree. Plus, no matter your current financial situation, getting a degree is a smart move in the long run since it can boost your earning potential.

You still have your whole life ahead of you.

It’s not just a cliche—it’s true! At 30, you’re still just a fraction of the way through your life, so there’s no reason to feel like you missed your chance to go to college. If you take the time now to invest in your future, it will pay off for years to come. Plus, there are lots of online degree programs you can complete in less time than a traditional program takes, so you may be able to start reaping the benefits of a new degree sooner than you think.


Make 30 the best decade yet by investing in yourself!

If, in a few years from now, you had a new degree listed on your resume, new friends, new knowledge, and newfound confidence, would you be glad you made that decision to go back to school? If the answer is yes, then now is the time to take the leap; your future self will thank you!

Going to college at 30 may mean you’re balancing a degree program with other responsibilities. If you’re interested in fitting school into your schedule while continuing to work, you can! Check out our e-book, How to "Recession Proof" Your Career with Upskilling and Reskilling

Recession-Proof Your Career by Upskilling and Reskilling: Get the E-Book and Infographic