Top 6 Reasons People Go Back to School
Maybe you’re considering finishing your GED® test. Maybe you’re considering finishing an associate’s degree. Maybe you’ve hit a dead end in employment and you need a graduate degree or a technical certification.
Whatever the goal, more and more people are heading back to college outside the normal 18–22 age range. Sometimes called nontraditional students, they are now the majority of attendees at institutions of higher learning. If you’re wondering whether you should go back to school, here are six top reasons why your peers have already gone back.
1. Career Advancement
Whether you’re unsatisfied with your job, your boss, your social status, or your pay grade, going back to school could help you get a leg up in the professional world. Career advancement is a driving force for getting a degree because no one wants to earn an entry-level salary (or wage) after 15 years on the job.
College grads make, on average, almost twice what high school grads make. That’s why many returning students have decided to invest both the time and the money in a degree that could help them jump the gap.
2. Job Security
Even if you like your current employment, it’s wise to consider doing what you can to keep the job. Those who are currently employed and those who’ve recently been let go from a position are both finding that a college degree sometimes makes the difference.
Unemployment rates for those who’ve never attended or finished college average as high as 5.2 percent, while the rates for those with a bachelor’s degree are 2.7 percent on average. An education could make you more valuable to an employer and increase the odds that they’ll keep you around. This is why so many are returning to their educations to hedge their bets against layoffs and other employment-based uncertainties.
3. A Change of Direction
Every now and then, life throws you a curveball that overturns the stability you’ve worked so hard to gain. The loss of a job, the death of a loved one, an empty nest, or even hitting a certain age are all reasons people have felt motivated to shake things up a bit. Sometimes lawyers become designers, welders become electricians, and janitors become writers.
Across the spectrum, people are deciding they aren’t quite doing what they want to be doing with their lives, so they head back to school to get the education necessary for a hard-right turn. Sure, you may be atypical applying for a job as a nurse with 10 years of plumbing experience, but employers will certainly respect the effort it took to get yourself qualified.
4. Setting an Example
Many who raise teenagers learn that it’s hard to encourage education in the next generation when you haven’t exactly been a shining example yourself. Finishing what you started in high school or college is a great way to prove to your loved ones how important education is. Your success will help motivate them to follow in your footsteps. The same goes for first-generation college graduates who want to inspire family members to likewise return to their studies.
5. Sense of Accomplishment
A degree, diploma, or certification can sometimes be worth it for no other reason than saying you did it. It’s satisfying to call yourself a graduate; it means you’ve accomplished something that not everyone else has. It’s a way to prove your worth to yourself and remind yourself of your value. You’re likely to receive a lot of support and congratulations for it as well, as those close to you share in the victory.
“Imposter syndrome” is a real problem. Many people today feel terrified that they’re faking their way through their jobs. They lack the confidence to move ahead in life with courage, and they doubt their every decision.
Confidence is primarily a matter of preparation. Completing an education program can go a long way toward preparing you to be more confident. You’re not the first to think you might need to brush up on a topic or hone your skills. You can certainly benefit from a decision to return to school, just as others have.
As you might have noticed, this list isn’t just about what others have done; it’s also about what you can do for yourself. Going back to school could be easier now than it’s ever been. You can study from the comfort of your own bedroom while still wearing pajamas. You can progress toward graduation on your timeframe, even with a demanding work schedule. There’s never been a better time to go back to school and get what you want out of life.