Are you thinking about going back to school as an adult? Not sure whether it is the right decision for you? Before you take the leap, there are several questions you’ll need to answer first.
According to this study, earning a bachelor’s degree or a graduate degree leads to the highest earnings, the lowest unemployment rates, and the widest range of career opportunities.
Thus, if you’ve been wanting to go back to school and continue your education, you should really consider taking that thought into action.
But, how do you know if going back to school is right for you?
In this post, we are going to talk about the questions you need to ask yourself before making the decision of going back to school as an adult and non-traditional student/student mom, and dad.
Continuing your study has plenty of benefits. It can boost your career and income, expand your network, open doors to many new opportunities, gain new knowledge and skills, and so on.
For me, going back to school improved my life in so many ways beyond my imagination. After I gave birth to my baby, I resigned from my job and became a stay-at-home mom for about four years.
Then I decided that I want to fulfill my lifelong dream of studying abroad. It took me one whole year to prepare myself for continuing my education abroad. Now I live in my dream country (Italy) and went from being a stay-at-home mom to working for industry giants and having my own business.
If continuing your education has been something you’ve wanted to do, then go for it. Even if you want to study abroad. It’s completely doable, I’m living proof, and pretty sure there are plenty of moms and dads out there who did the same thing.
BUT, it doesn’t mean that you need to just dive in headfirst and enroll.
Prepare yourself well. Most likely, it’s been a while since the last time you were in the classroom and studying. Also, perhaps you are a parent now.
Going back to school as an adult, a mature and non-traditional student /student mom and dad is going to give you plenty of challenges.
Juggling responsibilities such as work, family, and study at the same time will require strong will, grit, laser-sharp focus, and stellar time management skills.
Therefore, in order to be sure that going back to school later in life as an adult/ mature student, and as a non-traditional student mom and dad is the right move for you, and your family, you need to ask yourself these questions first and answer them truthfully before making any decision.
1. Why Do I Want to Continue My Study
You need to look deep inside yourself to answer the question. People have different reasons for why they want to go back to school.
Figure out your “Why” and keep that in mind. Going back to college as an adult and mature student, a non-traditional student mom and dad is extremely difficult.
Knowing your true reason why you even bother to put yourself in that situation is key. It will lift your spirit up when you are down.
It will give you the strength to carry on and keep moving forward when the going gets tough, and it will serve as a constant reminder of your commitment and dedication to finishing what you’ve started and achieving your goals.
Knowing the answer to “why do I want to continue my study” will also point you in the right direction toward the next chapter of your life.
Do you want to continue your study because you are stuck doing a job you hate and want to change career direction? Or because for some reason you had to drop out from school before and now you want to finish them and get your degree?
Or perhaps you are itching to go back to work after having your baby and become a stay-at-home mom, and you want to get some new knowledge and skills to prepare yourself before you dive right back in to join the workforce? Other reasons maybe?
Dig deep into yourself, find your why, and whatever your reasons are, hold on to it, and use it as guidance to decide if going back to school is the right move for you, and how to proceed on the next steps.
If you still have doubts or need help deciding whether or not you should continue your education, check out my free guide here…
2. What Program is the Right One for Me
Once you found out your “why”, you need to start considering what program is the right one for you. Again, it depends on your back-to-school goals.
If you dropped out before, surely you want to go back and pick up where you left off. If you want to boost your career, perhaps a higher degree such as a Graduate / Master’s degree will be suitable for you.
What program to take? Should it be aligned with your Bachelor’s program or a new one entirely? Where are you going to enroll?
Should you pursue your dream of studying abroad? Is it doable since now you are an adult with plenty of responsibilities such as work and family?
Or maybe you want to change your career direction, pursuing a certification course to become certified in a certain field will be the perfect step for you.
Perhaps you want to start a business, then a course or program that will make you a licensed professional upon graduation is the one for you.
Think about it carefully, weigh in all the pros and cons, then decide what’s best for you and your future.
3. When is the Right Time for Me
When it comes to going back to school as a mature student, and student mom and dad, timing is everything. It can make the difference between success and failure.
Even though there’s no such thing as perfect timing, you still need to consider this factor extra carefully. When is the right time for you to go back to school?
Don’t just take the leap and enroll. Take your time to reflect on everything, such as the points mentioned above.
Do your homework by thoroughly researching anything you need to know regarding your back-to-school preparation (if you don’t have clear ideas on what to look for in your research phase, you could use this workbook as your guidance), especially if you want to study abroad (things I wish I knew before abroad?)
Visit the school’s website and educational fairs, join campus tours (article about choosing university virtually), join live webinars and campus virtual tours, etc.
Write them in this workbook to document your findings, so that you can study them again later and make a comparison.
You’ll get an idea of the colleges, their programs, curriculums, and so on. After you know what is expected from you as a student, you can determine whether or not you are ready yet, and if you are not yet ready, you’ll be able to calculate when you’ll be.
If you are a mom or dad, it can be a little bit more complicated. Is it a perfect time for you to divide your focus and attention between your family and your studies?
Can you enroll it immediately or in the near future, or do you have to wait until your child(ren) gets older and won’t need you as much as they do now?
When it comes to finding the perfect timing, consider all the things that are going on in your life right now, and whether or not you could add the responsibilities of being a student into the equation.
In the end, only you and you alone could decide when is the perfect time for you to return to school and pursue your education.
4. How am I Going to Finance My Study
Whatever you choose to pursue, either a higher degree or certification, it will not be going to be cheap. You need to be financially prepared.
After all that research, by now you have a rough idea of how much you have to pay to continue your study, perhaps you have already spent some money. All that webinars and campus virtual tours at least cost you some internet and Wi-fi service fees.
Calculate everything to the smallest detail. Use this worksheet to document your expenses, as well as predict possible future expenses, and input the tuition fees information of your dream colleges that you’ve collected.
Study them carefully. How much money do you need to finance your study from start until finish, from the little expenses all the way to the biggest ones? Is it affordable for you? Do you have the money to fund your study?
Prepare yourself well financially. This is going to determine whether or not you could continue your dream of going back to school and where you could pursue it (e.g, in a more affordable school instead of your dream school), whether you still need to work during your studies to help pays the bills or able to just focus on your studies, and so on.
5. What are the Benefits for My Future
When you decide on going back to school as an adult /mature student, a non-traditional, and a student mom or dad, you should always have your end goals in mind.
Without a doubt, people want to have a higher degree to get a better career, either by changing career directions into something more lucrative or following their passion, or having more chances to get the highly coveted promotion since now they have the new skills and knowledge, or get their dream job which now made possible by their new and shiny degree and so on.
Therefore, don’t forget to calculate your expenses. Will all this be worth it in the end, as in you will get a good return on your investment (ROI) in paying a large sum of money for your tuition fees because after you finish your study, you’ll get a higher income, either from promotion or new career path?
And what about the intangible aspects? What are the benefits of going back to school you expect to have for your future? Better communication and organizational skills? an improved leadership skill? A stellar time management skill?
Ask yourself what you really want to gain from this experience, and how it will improve your life in the long run. When the future benefits outweigh the detriments, then you’ll know that this life-changing decision of going back to school as an adult is the right move for you.
6. How Will It Impact My Family’s Life
Think about how’s your decision to return to education as a non-traditional student, as a student mom and dad will impact your family’s life.
Don’t do it if it will impact their lives in negative ways, such as using your family’s savings to pay for the tuition fees instead of the funding you’ve been saved all these years for the sole purpose of continuing your education someday, or returning to education without establishing a good support system to help you take care of your family and so on.
The examples mentioned above are examples from a financial and personal point of view. Take some time to think about it. What negative impact could possibly happen to your family regarding your decision to return to education as a parent and work on the solutions to avoid them?
On the other hand, think also about the positive impacts your decision could give your family. For example, I decided to pursue my dream of studying abroad, even though I was already an adult, a mom, and a wife.
I brought my family with me and we moved halfway across the globe from Jakarta, Indonesia to Milan, Italy. Although we experienced plenty of difficulties, in the end, it was all worth it.
My husband and I had the opportunity to work at an international level and give our daughter the experience to grow up as a third-culture kid, will all the advantages that come with it such as fluency in languages other than English and Indonesian (her mother tongue).
The impact of your decision to go back to school might be completely different for you and your family. Whatever it is, make sure that it will bring the best outcome for you and your family.
Use this printable workbook to record your Back to School Research. Don’t make all that Campus Visits, Virtual Tours, Webinars, and Q&A with the school’s admission personnel go to waste !! Write down the information you have collected in this workbook.
Study them later carefully to help you weigh in the pros and cons of each university and decide the best place for you to continue your study.
7. What’s the Effect on My Personal Growth
You’ve done your research and calculated everything, weighing in all the pros and cons, the risks and benefits of your plan to go back to school as an adult /mature student, a non-traditional student mom and dad, and how it will affect your family’s life, in both positive and negative way.
But in the end, you are the one who’s going to go through everything. And all those sacrifices will not be worth it if it doesn’t make you grow as a person, to be a better you.
Going back to pursuing your education means you invest in yourself. Remember, money comes and goes, but you are not.
Every investment in yourself is permanent and whatever that is, whether reading a book, buying a course or something as big as going back to school as an adult, you’re going to add value to your life.
Keep in mind that you need to invest in yourself before investing in something that can earn money. Thus, even though in the end you want to go back to school to make your life better, you must be able to work on yourself first to improve your value, your discipline, and other aspects of your personal growth.
We are so excited about the idea to earn money and live the life we want, and going back to school is one of the vehicles we can use to reach them, but this dream can’t be real if your mindset isn’t ready.
So, although having tangible goals such as having a better career and better paycheck is important, in the end, you need to invest in yourself first before investing in something that could earn you money such as going back to school.
Over to You…
Does it make sense to go back to college in your 30’s, 40’s, or even 50’s? well yeah of course. I did it, and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life. It brings so many benefits, both for me and my family, and it opens doors to opportunities beyond my imagination.
But if you’ve been wanting to return to education, you need to plan everything and prepare yourself to make sure all goes smoothly and to get the desirable results.
Therefore, before you make any decision regarding your back-to-school journey, you need to ask yourself why you want to continue your study in the first place, what program will be the right one for you and when it’s the right time for you to continue your study.
Then comes the big question of how are you going to finance your study and what are the benefits of your decision to go back to school for your future.
Finally, you’ll also need to consider how it’ll impact your family’s life and the effect on your personal growth. Once you have a definite answer to those questions, you’ll be able to make the best decision that will improve your life and the life of your loved ones.
What do you think? Do you have something to add or comment on? Write them down below. Pin this post for later and share them on social media, especially if you know someone who’s been wanting to continue their education but still has some doubts. Who knows it will be useful for them…thanks so much and till next time!!!
- 8 Things You Absolutely Need to Have Before Going Back to School as Adult Students
- 9 Crucial Mistakes to Avoid If You Want to Be a Successful Adult Learner
- How to Create a Productive Study Space for Adult Learners/ Student Moms
- 7 Convenient Ways to Finance Your Study Abroad as Adult Students
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