Close to 20 million students are expected to attend college this year, with 13 million attending a four-year institution and about 7 million attending a two-year school.
The American Council of Education reports that the number of post-traditional students, the ones who have decided to return to getting a higher education, has grown to 13 million.
So, how did these returning students know it was the right time for them to further their education? It’s possible they analyzed aspects of their own life to make that important decision. For instance, they may have talked with family and friends to see if attending college again would impact their lives in any way.
They may have also checked the advantages and disadvantages of attending school with their employer. Would gaining more education help their career? Or, they may have even set personal goals, a bucket list, where completing a higher education is one of them.
Whatever the reason, there are specific areas you can think about in your own life when trying to decide to return to college. Keep reading to learn if now is the right time for you.
It Makes Sense Financially
If you are waiting for the day when all your finances are in order, you have no bills, and emergency funds are not needed, well, you may be waiting for a long time. The perfect financial situation is likely a fallacy. Therefore; you must analyze your finances for education based on a return on your investment.
If education is your investment, and it is one of the best investments you can make, then you must check to see how your diploma will pay off after graduation. Most people get help paying for college through scholarships, grants and loans. Whatever you borrow, must be based on good decisions.
For example, you do not want to go $50,000 in debt to receive a diploma in a trade that will only pay just above minimum wage. It would take you forever to pay off that loan. Instead, borrow money and choose a career that will allow you to quickly pay off debt, so you can start enjoying the increase possible extra money in your career.
Look at your current financial situation, consider what you will make after graduation, and then decide how much funding you need.
You Have the Support You Need
Support does not always mean financial support. If you are thinking of returning to school, you will also need support from friends, family and employers to help you reach your goal of higher education. You may have children and finding someone to watch your children while you are at school is key to your success.
You may need your work hours to be flexible, so you can attend a class during the day. You are faced with many demands throughout your day. These demands, if not organized properly, will hinder your ability to return to school.
If You Need a Career Boost
Going back to school can do many great things for your career, even if you currently love your job. Higher education may sometimes give you that promotion you have been dreaming of at work. It may give you that extra education required for the next step up.
Going back to school may also increase your pay if you work for an employer who bases wages or salaries on educational level. Furthermore, higher education can help you change careers altogether.
If you are unhappy in your current job, think about going back to school to study a program in a field that is exciting and new. This is your chance to take control over your future employment and graduating with additional college credits may help you succeed.
If You Need Closure
Sometimes we just need to finish what we started. Did you start college earlier in life and need to quit for reasons out of your control? Or maybe you quit for personal reasons, life interruptions. Or maybe you didn’t finish college because you simply did not want to at the time.
None of these reasons for stopping college earlier in life are bad. And while some people never feel the need to return to college and finish their degree program, others feel the opposite. You may be feeling that finishing college was the one goal you wanted to accomplish but couldn’t.
Well, now you can. Returning to college may give you that sense of accomplishment and reward that you were able to complete something you had to put on hold previously.
If You Want to Learn More
Learning is fulfilling. The more knowledge you have, the more confident you may become. Education is the one thing that cannot be taken away from you. Once you learn it, you can use it to your advantage.
Many people return to college for no other reason than to continue their love of learning. They have a curiosity about the unknown, which may keep them inspired to further their education. Some see having more knowledge to communicate with a variety of types of people.
Additional knowledge can broaden your conversations among groups, help provide support for your opinions and can also just be fun for some people.
Going back to school can introduce you to other learners with similar interests. You get to meet professors who may offer insight into the industry. You get to improve your technological skills through the online and offline work assigned in your class.
Most importantly, the right time to go back to school is when you feel ready. When it is something you strongly desire, something you have been dreaming about, start making it a reality. You don’t have to be a full-time student to start realizing your goals.
Part-time studies at local colleges are a great way to slowly earn your diploma. Their schedules support flexibility in how, when and where you complete your coursework. Local colleges provide the optimal environment that meets the needs of the most students, whether they are starting for the first time or picking up where they left off.