Going Back to School at 35

Last updated on November 15, 2017

Are you wondering if starting school at age 35 is the right choice for you? You may think you are too old, too busy, or too far removed from what you learned in school decades ago to go to school now.

Do you ever get the feeling that you’re standing still in life and are not making any real progress? You work hard, pay your bills, and take care of your family. However, although it seems as if you’re always running around, it feels like you’re not moving forward.

Well, you are not alone. Many adults in their mid-30s feel unhappy about the way their lives are going. Some think getting more education would be a way to better their lives.

Can I Do It?

You know that more education could lead to more career choices and income. You may be worried about going to school at your age because you think you’ll be the grandma/grandpa in the classroom. You don’t think you’ll be able to juggle your current responsibilities and school.

Besides, you forgot what you learned in high school before you even got out of high school nearly 20 years ago. All of these worries might be real, but lots of people ages 35 and older go back to higher education.

Many of these people complete their chosen program, and gain new skills that will help them live a better life.

Advantages

  • Earn more money
  • Get a promotion or new career
  • Make yourself more competitive in the job market
  • Become more purpose-driven
  • Be a better you
  • Be a role model for others

Disadvantages

  • Balancing work, home, and school
  • Paying education costs
  • Not being able to relate to your classmates

Researching and Planning

Without the help of high school guidance counselors, teachers, or parents, you’ll be responsible for doing good research and planning on your own.

It seems like there are too many colleges or universities to count. There are a lot of programs to choose from. You will have to be careful when picking a school, because some are not good enough. You do not want to enroll in a college that is academically weak and a waste of money. So, a lot of deep research is needed.

  1. Before you begin any research, you must first decide what your goals are and what you hope to gain. Make sure that the field you choose will offer you a level of advancement.
  2. You will also have to think about other things like your family, work, and lifestyle. The school you choose should meet all of the needs you have pointed out as closely as possible.
  3. In order to figure out if a school will meet your needs, you will have to do an online search to see what the college says about itself and what others say about them. You should also speak with as many people as possible about this school.
  4. Check the school’s status, age, accreditation, and cost of on-campus and online programs. Get to know the application process and any requirements the school may have. Spend time at the school sitting in classes and speaking to staff members.

What to Expect

Many colleges offer flexible schedules that allow students to complete the program in a way that is best for them. This is good for adult students. Students can choose from full-time, part-time, evening, weekends, on-campus, online, and accelerated programs. The option(s) you choose will greatly affect how school changes your daily life.

  • Classrooms have a lot more technology than they may have had the last time you went to school. Teachers use electronic devices to teach, and many students use laptops or tablets to take notes.
  • You may be concerned about being way older than everyone in the class. However, you may end up being surprised by the fact that there are several students even older than you in your classes. There has been a rise in older adults returning to college in recent years.
  • You may also find that your teacher, classmates, and classroom discussions will benefit from your knowledge and experience.
  • You will have the chance to be a role model for the younger students. Any social discomfort that may happen due to an age gap will go away as time goes on and students get to know each other better.

Tips for Academic Success

1) Time Management.

One of the most important things you will need to be good at in order to keep the balance between work, family, and school is time management. Learning will take up a lot of your time no matter if you complete the program online or in a standard classroom setting.

Use calendars, to-do list apps (or hand written) as well as family and friends to keep you on track. Make every minute count and use your time wisely by multi-tasking. For example, read your textbook while you are on your way to school or work. You can listen to lectures when you are in your car, or stand in line at the grocery store.

2) Networking.

Having a solid plan and clear goals will help you stay motivated even when the going gets tough. Build a support network with other students by going to study groups etc.

Do not just focus on trying to remember what you study. Instead, apply your school work to your life experiences and what you already know. Do not feel weird about asking teachers for extra help even if they are younger than you.

Tapping into your team of teachers and classmates could also help you get job leads when you are almost done with the program.

3) Health.

While focusing so much on your mind, do not forget about your body. Be sure to take care of your body by exercising, eating healthy, and getting a good amount of sleep.

Conclusion

Going to school at the age of 35 is a big plus. You have a better sense of yourself and what you want out of life than you did when you were 18 years old.

Do not worry about being able to keep up with your younger classmates. You are the one with the head start in life. you’ll be able to apply your life experience to your studies in a way that will help you and those around you.

Yes, your work, family, and all of your daily responsibilities make going back to school seem like a tall order. But if you remain focused with a solid plan and clear goals, you’ll be able to accomplish anything you set out to do.