So, you want to go back to school. You are not alone! According to U.S. News, the number of adult college students is on the rise. In fact, for the 2019-2020 academic year, these schools reported the highest percentage (yet) of undergraduate students over age 25. At Goodwin University, almost 70 percent of our student body is over age 25, too. Going back to school is not uncommon, nor impossible, for adults today.
There are many reasons an adult may want to go back to school. Some people wish to finish what they started, such as a bachelor’s or master’s degree, before life got in the way. Maybe they enlisted in the military, chose to take a job, or took time to travel the world.
Some go back to school to advance their education and, eventually, level up in their career. Others may wish to change career paths altogether, and go back to school in order to qualify for their dream job. No matter what is driving your path, going back to school can be momentous for both your personal and professional life.
Understandably, it can also be a bit overwhelming. At this time in your life, you may have a steady job that pays the bills. You may family obligations that you need to tend to at home. Or, you may feel that you don’t have the time, or the financial means, to go back to school right now. In the same breath, you know a college education is what you need to move forward.
It is important to know that you have options. Whether it is time or expense that is your concern, there are flexible and affordable programs available to you. Many degree completion programs, online degrees, and career-focused colleges are specifically designed for adults that want to go back to school. There is also financial assistance available to students in need. You just need to do a little research and have a conversation with your prospective school.
Tips for Adults Saying, “I Want to Go Back to School”
- Determine what you want to go back to school for.
While this may seem obvious, getting started in your postsecondary journey must begin with these questions: What do you want to go back to school for? Why do you want to go back to school? Depending on your answers, you will be able to hone in on a school that offers you what you need.
For example, if you want to finish a degree that you started years ago, you will want to find a school that offers a degree completion program. You will want to ensure that any prior credits you’ve earned can be easily transferred to (and are accepted at) this new institution.
If you are carving a new path, you will simply want to ensure that the school offers your desired degree program. Do they have a program of study that aligns with your career goals? At Goodwin, you can find many career-focused degree programs, meaning they are designed to help students into the workforce and to prepare them with the necessary skills prior to entry.
- Gather any previous credits and transcripts you’ve earned.
Whether you are making a career change, advancing your existing education, or finishing a previous degree, keep in mind that your prior schooling counts. Before choosing and applying to a college, be sure to ask how they will handle your previous educational credits. Will they count towards your forthcoming degree? What does the credit transfer process look like, and what are the requirements? The ability to transfer prior credits can save you time and money while earning your new degree.
- Research prospective schools and talk to admissions.
Once you know what you want to do, you can start to research prospective schools. Think about what you want to get out of the school, and what you need the school to offer in order to make this work. It can help to make a list of questions, and bring those to the admissions team. For example:
- Do you offer part-time and full-time programs?
- Are any of your classes or degree programs offered online?
- Are classes offered during days, evenings, and weekends?
- What is the average age of your student body? Will there be other adults in my program?
- Will I need to take general education or liberal arts classes? Or, can I stick to classes that are core to my program and career goals?
These questions revolve around the flexibility, as well as the career focus, of your prospective program. You will want to ensure you are choosing a school that works with your schedule, not a program you have to work around. Additionally, asking about the types of classes you will take (general or career-focused) can help you understand how much time you will invest in learning skills for your career, versus fulfilling general ed requirements.
- Determine what it will cost to go back to school, and what it might cost if you don’t.
This is an important consideration to weigh as you think about your future. How much will it cost you to go back to school? Some schools, like Goodwin, have transparent tuition models – meaning you can know exactly how much you’ll pay for your degree prior to starting classes. Other schools and programs can give you an estimate of tuition costs, depending on how many credits you are transferring in, as well as whether you are choosing an online or on-campus degree program.
While the cost of college can seem like a lot, be sure to ask yourself, “What will it cost me if I don’t go back to school?” Will it cost you your dream job? Will it prevent you from advancing within your current career? Will it cost you your happiness, knowing you will need to stay put in your current role? If you answered yes to any of the above, ask yourself then if it’s worth it.
Fortunately, there is financial aid available to students going back for their degrees. The financial aid you qualify for will depend on your income eligibility, your financial need, as well as your school of choice. You may also qualify for scholarships 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. We also offer one of the lowest tuition costs for private colleges in the state, making it accessible to go back to school. You can learn how to apply for financial aid here, and see what you qualify for today.
- Develop a class schedule or degree format that works for you.
As noted above, it is important that your program offers a curriculum and course schedule that you can manage. After all, your success will depend on whether you can attend and keep up with classes. With that in mind, make sure the program you choose offers classes that fit in with your current work schedule, or that can be balanced with other obligations, like caretaking at home.
Some degree programs have online or hybrid course formats, meaning you can combine on-campus and online learning. This flexibility would allow you to complete courses from the comfort of your own home. Additionally, part-time degree options are also available. This will allow you to maintain your full-time job, while simultaneously earning your degree. For those who wish to finish their degree fast, there may be accelerated degree programs available to you.
At Goodwin, students have a range of on-campus, online, and hybrid course options. Many of our programs are offered part-time and full-time, depending on your needs. No matter what degree program you choose to go back to school for, there are flexible options available. Upon enrollment, you will meet with an admissions counselor to coordinate a class schedule that works for you.
Wanting to go back to school is the first step towards a major milestone. And as intimidating as it may be now, know that going back to school is not impossible. There are many options for dedicated, hard-working adults who are ready to advance their education or change career paths.
If you are ready to take that next step and live or work in Connecticut, Goodwin University may be the next best step for you. Goodwin is a career-focused university with programs geared towards adults with strong career goals in mind. Flexibility is at the core of our curriculums. Just ask our students:
- “Balance was key when attending a school for nursing and Goodwin made it possible. I was able to work full-time, attend clinicals, study, and care for my family.” – Eduardo, an AS Nursing graduate
- “Goodwin provided an unbelievable timeline. I could get into a great job in just months.” Kiley, a CNC Machining student
- “The hybrid program was an easy balance to work into my life; only traveling to campus once a week allowed me to feel connected, yet the work could be done on my schedule.” – Marie, a Management and Leadership graduate
- “I chose Goodwin because, as a full time working mom to a 6 year old daughter, I needed a college that works with my busy schedule.” Stephanie, a Respiratory Care student
- “Goodwin allows students to work while they are in school. The entire staff is also incredibly informative and supportive, especially in terms of enrolling into a program. They help out every step of the way.” – Danielle, a Vision Care student
Start your next degree, or finish what you’ve started, and get on the path to your dream career. Contact Goodwin University to learn more about going back to school, and how we can help ease that transition for you. Call 800-889-3282 or visit us online to learn more.
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.