Friday, October 27, 2017

Back to School ... as an Adult

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Many of us don’t have clue what we want out of life when we’re young. Some people forgo higher education altogether, whilst others may study the wrong subjects because it seemed like a good idea at the time. Either way, it can be frustrating looking back and wishing you had chosen a different path.

Fortunately, it’s never too late to go back and study. There are now courses open to all ages. The only obstacle may be that you’ve now got commitments and funds to consider. Here’s how you can negotiate going back to school as an adult and get the education you’ve always wanted.

Have a clear goal

On top of deciding which course you want to take, you should have a valid reason as to why you want to take it. Will it set you up with a specific career? Is it simply a personal challenge? Either one is a valid reason, just make sure you know which one you’re doing it for. If you’re looking to follow a specific a career, you may want to consider a specific course related to that career - now, is not the time to choose something general that will open up your options. If it’s a personal challenge, feel free to take on any course you want. It could be something you already have a keen interest in, or something that’s always troubled you that you want to conquer such a Maths A level or an English GCSE.

Work out how to fund your studies

You’ll need to fund your studies and still be able to fund everyday life. You could save up money through work, or as most people do – take out a loan. In many countries, mature students are still allowed to take out a student loan like everyone else. For pre-graduate qualifications, there may be grants. You may even be able to start a fundraising campaign on a site like Kickstarter. There are even pay-as-you-go methods when it comes to college and university fees – if you’re working alongside studying, you may be able to more easily pay off your fees than in huge tri-annual payments.

Consider online courses

Online courses allow you to work from any location, meaning you don’t have to visit a campus or college and attend lectures and seminars. This can work well for many people with commitments such as a job or a family as it offers the flexibility to study when and where you want. It also gives you a huge selection of courses to choose from around the world opening up your options when finding the best course for you.

You can do all kinds of courses online these days. You can even get a nursing BSN to MSN online. If you do choose one of these online methods, be careful to not take on too much at once. Doing a full time job and a degree at the same time is possible, but not easy. You may be better off taking on less work or waiting until kids are in school.

Consider low-cost programs

Some universities and colleges around the world are now bringing in low-cost programmes for older students that can make getting an education more feasible. These may only be available at select institutions, so your options may be more limited.

There are also sponsored courses, which some companies may offer. These may be offered to new applicants as an incentive to join the company afterwards or they may be a reward for older employees to help boost their skillset. These will likely only be short courses and small qualifications, but could still be valuable. That said, you should only really do this if you really want to work for the company offering this course.

Another option could be an accelerated course, which may be completed in a shorter period of time. These are sometimes cheaper because they are shorter, but may involve having to cram in information at a faster rate than a standard course. If you think you can handle such a course, this could be a good option, allowing you get the qualification you need fast. However, if you’re not a fast learner, you may find such a course too difficult. You may be able to ask the people taking the course on their recommendations.

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