More than ever, adults are finding a need to pursue their bachelor’s or master’s degrees. However, adult learners often have full-time jobs, families to raise and schedules that often aren’t flexible with the constraints of a traditional college schedule. Those who are thinking about going back to school should carefully consider their options before making that leap.
Why go back to college?
There are several reasons non-traditional students pursue higher education. Sometimes, it’s because earning a degree has been a personal goal, or they are looking for a promotion or career change. Educational and skills requirements in many fields can prevent individuals without a degree from moving up. Holding a degree helps adults stand out to potential employers.
What should I study?
Before committing to go back to school, students must recognize what they’ll need to study to achieve their desired career path. If unsure, reach out to potential employers to see what they value in a degree program or skillset. The selected degree should be in demand and relevant to employers and the chosen field. Western Governors University (WGU) – a fully online, nonprofit university serving more than 5,200 students and graduates throughout Minnesota and with more than 140,000 students enrolled nationwide – offers students more than 80 degree programs in the high demand fields of IT, business, k-12 teacher education and health professions, including nursing. The university equips students with the skills they need advance their careers.
What schools are best for adult students?
Traditional programs, where students take a set number of courses on campus each semester, may not always be a great fit for adult learners. Online programs exist, serving adults who need the flexibility to go to school on their own schedule. Many universities, like WGU, use a competency-based approach to learning, allowing students to leverage previous education, training and work experience to earn their degrees quickly. Students do not follow traditional semesters, instead completing their programs by studying and taking tests on schedules that fit their lives and advancing once they demonstrate they’ve mastered the subject matter. These programs are also a benefit to those who may feel out-of-place surrounded by younger students in a traditional class.
What will my degree cost?
Adult learners may be concerned about pursuing higher education because of the cost of tuition. Students should see if the tuition costs make sense before committing. Affordable options – like WGU – exist to make higher education more accessible. The university offers a flat-rate tuition of approximately $3,800 per six-month term, and students can complete as many courses as they are able to during that time without any added fees. Financial aid is available, and the university also offers scholarships.
For adults considering going back to school, an online degree program can help them meet their goals without interrupting their lives. Non-traditional students should carefully consider what is needed in a degree program before choosing one, so they can find success as they learn. To learn more, visit wgu.edu.