According to a new survey, over 82 percent of degree holders today feel that college was a great financial investment. However, the majority of these graduates also have some regrets. Specifically, over 60 percent of college graduates surveyed claim that they would change majors if they could go back and do it over again. Their key motivators? They now want to pursue their passions professionally, or desire better job opportunities and benefits.
Going back to school for a career change is not uncommon, although not everyone takes the leap. Changing careers can be very stressful, often because of the learning curve involved. In many cases, it requires going back to school to learn the skills (or to earn the degree) needed to qualify for the desired position.
Perhaps that is why you are here. You wish to pursue your passions and interests, and your current job or education does not align with your career goals. Or, perhaps you want to advance your degree to qualify for more (or better) career opportunities, and move into a higher earning bracket than your current job can offer. As a result, you are considering going back to school.
While it can be intimidating, going back to school for a career change is not impossible. In fact, there are many colleges and universities that aim to streamline the process for adults looking to switch careers. Online learning, degree completion programs, and career-focused classes – combined with financial assistance and transfer options – give prospective students the support they need when returning to school again.
To ease your transition into a new college and career path, we’ve outlined the top things you should know as an adult going back to school.
- Going back to school as an adult has many benefits.
There are obvious benefits of going back to school – you will acquire new skills, receive career-focused training, gain networking opportunities within your field of study, increase your earning potential. The list goes on. However, going back to school for a career change, as an adult, has its own unique benefits.
The first one is that you know what you want. As an adult with career experience, you have a good grasp of what interests you, what motivates you, and where you want to go in your professional life. You also know what you do not want in a career, as your current role is no longer fulfilling. As a result, you will be able to choose a degree program that is highly focused on, and that will qualify you to pursue, your desired career path.
Unlike many college students who enroll right after high school, you have specific career goals and will do what it takes to get there fast—likely without the distractions you might have faced years ago, as a young freshman in college for the first time. That is a secondary benefit: you are serious about graduating, and you will therefore use your time wisely while back in school.
Additionally, with your prior work experience, you have certain, honed skillsets that are unique to adult learners: project management, time management, communication, and networking are just some of the many examples. These will carry through to your college courses and can help you find success inside and outside the classroom.
- There are flexible options available for college students today.
Many schools today support adult learners by providing flexible course offerings and degree formats. For example, there is a vast array of online degree programs available for adults needing the flexibility to complete classes from home. Some degree programs are also offered in part-time formats, for those who need to maintain a career while going to school. And, for those who wish to finish their degree as fast as possible, there are several accelerated degree options out there for you.
At Goodwin University, students can choose to take many of their classes on-campus, online, or in a hybrid (online/on-campus) format. Many of our programs are also offered part-time and full-time, depending on your individual needs and your obligations outside school. Every student at Goodwin has the unique ability to create a schedule that works for them – not a schedule they have to work around. No matter which career-focused program you choose, there are flexible options available.
- There are financial aid opportunities for students going back to school.
One of the key motivators of going back to school is to increase one’s earning potential. Simply put, you may desire a higher salary than your current job can offer, and you can find that in an advanced position with a college degree in hand. Of course, going back to school is also an investment on its own. There are costs of tuition, course materials, and potentially campus fees that you’ll need to prepare for.
It can be comforting to know that there are still financial aid opportunities available to you, no matter your age or how many times you have been back to school. Every student can apply for financial aid, and may qualify for different types of assistance or amounts. The financial aid you qualify for will primarily depend on your income eligibility, your financial need, as well as your school of choice. You may also qualify for scholarships, grants, or a work-study program. At Goodwin, 98% of undergraduate students received financial aid in the form of grants or scholarships in the Fall of 2020.
Some schools, like Goodwin, also utilize transparent tuition models, meaning you can know exactly how much you’ll pay for your degree prior to starting classes. This can also be helpful to know, as you weigh your future salary potential against the costs of college. We also offer one of the lowest tuition costs for private colleges in the state, making it accessible to go back to school for a career change.
- Your previous education may count towards your degree.
Perhaps you are one of the million Americans who, with some college experience but no degree in hand, have decided to return to school. If you have prior college credits under your belt, and they were earned at an accredited, degree-granting, collegiate institution, they may transfer into your next program. This can, in turn, save you both time and money on your education—and help you get into your next career faster than starting fresh.
In most cases, college credits do not expire. Unless it is in a subject where there are constantly new developments (such as health or science), it is likely that you will be credited for your previous time in college. Generally speaking, though, you will need to have passed the prior course with a ‘C’ or better.
At Goodwin University, over half of our students have transferred in from another school. However, transfer credits are not limited to prior college education. Students may also receive Experiential Credit (EC) for courses taken in non-collegiate settings, such as a professional development/career training program, prior jobs and volunteer work, and even from personal experiences. You may also gain credits for being in the military.
To learn about which of your experiences may count towards a degree at Goodwin, you may contact an Admissions representative to get the process started. An Academic Advisor can then do a preliminary review of your transcripts to see what should transfer into Goodwin, before you make a decision to enroll. Typically, this preliminary review can be completed in less than one business day.
Going back to school for a career change is one of the most impactful decisions you can make for your personal and professional life. By doing so, you can find more gratification and fulfillment in life and in your career. This can, in turn, translate to a greater sense of happiness and self, and affect those around you. Making a career change can be scary, but as you can see above, it is entirely possible. It is up to you to take that first step.
Goodwin University is a top choice for transfer students, as well as adults going back to school, with most of our student body (almost 70%) being over age 25. Our career-focused programs, flexible scheduling options, and easy application process make going back to school a little more accessible. To learn more about starting a degree – online or on-campus – at Goodwin, contact us here today.
Goodwin University is a nonprofit institution of higher education and is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), formerly known as the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). Goodwin University was founded in 1999, with the goal of serving a diverse student population with career-focused degree programs that lead to strong employment outcomes.