Returning to school as an adult

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From Special Reports

Education opens many doors. Sometimes life throws a person a curveball and education gets put on the back burner.

Even if school plans have been derailed for several years, one can explore how to return to school as an adult.

Adult students are often described as nontraditional students, while traditional students are those who enroll in a college or university or go on to trade school immediately after graduating from high school. Nontraditional students are those who return to get their degrees as adult learners. According to a 2013 National Study of Prospective Adult Students by the higher education marketing group STAMATS, students over the age of 25 are the fastest-growing segment in higher education.

For those people resolving to return to school this year, these tips can help them confront any uncertainty they may have about cracking the books after a long layoff.

• Recognize you’re never too old. If you have the time and the means to attend school, you can likely find a program that can benefit you regardless of how old you may be.

• Remember that education can help you get out of a rut. No matter your age or experience, it’s easy to get stuck in a rut. Going back to school can help a person get out of that rut and on a path to something new. A return to school can help professionals earn more money, update their skills or learn a new trade.

• Ask for the support of friends and family. Students’ success often depends on a strong support network. Be sure to discuss plans to return to school with a spouse, family members or others who can lend a helping hand. Schooling will take time out of a schedule and certain responsibilities you handled may have to be taken on by family members.

• Explore accessibility. Now more than ever schools are adapting to the changing times by offering an abundance of classes online. Remote learning became a necessity in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, but it may be an increasingly popular method of conducting classes in the future. For adult learners who worry about juggling time inside of the actual classroom with work and home responsibilities, virtual programs can be the perfect fit.

Goals for the new year may include returning to school. Whether a person is completing a diploma program, finishing a degree or learning new skills, there’s no wrong time to continue your education.

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