It’s easy to focus on your fears when you’re considering going back to school after a years-long break, such as how you will balance the demands of school with your full-time job.
But, attaining a master’s degree or finishing your bachelor’s degree will offer many important financial, professional and personal benefits. It might be challenging, but it’s not impossible to make it work.
Here are four reasons why it’s not too late to go back to school:
1. College is more flexible than it used to be
There are a variety of course schedules, night classes or online degree programs that make it easier for busy students to fit education into their lives. With so many options, something is sure to fit into your daily schedule.
As an online student, you’ll still have resources available to you as you would on-campus, but you’ll be able to complete your work as your schedule allows. This way, you can keep your full-time job while taking on the responsibility of being a part-time student.
For full-time police officer Mike Tusken, online learning allowed him to maintain a 60-hour work week and still find time to spend with his family at home.
“Online learning allowed me to work on my schedule,” Tusken said. “I could work at nights, lunch breaks, write papers on vacations, you name it. I found a pace that worked for me and was able to prioritize my studies.”
2. Your credits may transfer
It isn’t too late to pick up where you left off. You might be able to apply the college credit you earned in the past towards your current degree. In some cases, you may even be able to earn course credit for your professional experience. This can be especially valuable if you’re returning to school after several years in the workforce.
Katrina Games wanted to advance her nursing career with a BSN but didn’t want to retake the courses she’d already taken earlier when she was earning her DPN.
“Herzing gave me credit for classes that I had taken elsewhere with no problem. They made it possible for me to start working toward my BSN right away by giving me credit for the experience I had gained as an LPN,” she said. “Everyone at the campus was helpful and I never felt like I didn't belong there. The staff went out of their way to help me succeed.”
3. Make a better future for yourself
Regardless of your age or educational experience, getting a college degree can increase your earning potential. A study by Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce found that college graduates make an average of $1 million more in their lifetime than individuals with only a high school diploma. By furthering your education, you’re investing in a better future for yourself and your family.
4. You don’t have to do it alone
Going back to school can be scary. After all, you’re making a big investment in your future, and you want to make sure it will be worth your time and money. Taking advantage of student services can help you find a way to make college work for you as you transition back to student life again.
Most universities offer a variety of financial assistance options, such as grants, loans, scholarships and student employment, which make it possible for students to earn a degree that will help them take the next step in their careers. Your professors and advisors can also be incredibly helpful in connecting you with career and academic resources that will allow you to be successful as you navigate your academic journey.
“I would tell other students that you shouldn’t let anyone stop you from pursuing your dream or goal in life," said Brandy Rollinson, who graduated from Herzing University in 2017. “Studying hard and doing well in school may take some time, but the end result is very rewarding.”
There is no better time than the present to finish what you started. Take the leap and change your life.