Going Back to School At 30: Why & Why Not

A college degree shows employers that you’re motivated, improving upon your writing and research skills, and that you’re driven to learn on (and off) the job. In turn, those who complete their studies may see:

graphic describing getting started: tips on going back to college

Going Back to College in Your 30s: 10 Reasons It Will Be Easier Than You Think

There are plenty of reasons why you might be considering going back to school to finish your bachelor’s degree. Maybe something kept you from completing your degree (or enrolling in school in the first place). Maybe you’re looking to change careers. Maybe you’re vying for a promotion, or maybe you’re hoping to be more competitive in a cutthroat job market.

While our typical idea of a college student is an 18-year-old who’s fresh out of high school, lots of adults in and beyond their 30s are returning to school to earn their degree. And for good reason! Students with a college degree have a measurably higher median salary than those with a high school diploma. Are you looking to get your bachelor’s but worried that you missed the opportunity? Don’t worry! Here are 10 reasons why earning a degree in your 30s is not just possible, but also easier than you think.

4 Reasons Why Getting Your Degree at 30 is a Great Idea

graphic describing 4 reasons why getting your degree at 30 is a great idea

One of the benefits of going back to school in your 30s is the on-the-job experience you’ve amassed over the past 12+ years. You’re at an advantage compared to students who have nothing on their résumé. Why? You’ve had time to learn what you enjoy doing, what you don’t like, what you’re good at, and where your greatest areas for improvement are.

You may want more thorough, in-depth knowledge of a subject. Or maybe there’s a particular skill missing from your professional toolbox. Whether it’s detailed focus of a general field or a very specific skill set, not having this knowledge can hold you back from growing professionally.

Or maybe there’s something you’ve always wanted to learn (for the sake of learning). Many people choose to finish their studies for personal development alone. Always wanted to master a second language or learn more about financial planning? Go for it!

Speaking of on-the-job experience, another fabulous benefit of going back to school a bit later in life is your developed sense of direction. Oftentimes, students in their 20s are unsure about what they want to study. Or they receive a degree and later realize that working in that field is not what they thought it would be.

Good news! If you’re ready for a career change, you have an advantage over less mature college students due to your previous employment experiences. What you’ve learned on-the-job—your understanding of what you want (and don’t want)—means you’re more confident and focused on the goals ahead.

The Bottom Line

Ideally, your education should open doors to a career that will allow you to pay back any resulting student debt. Still, it’s important that you do the math to know whether it will pay in the long run to go back to school. Compare the cost of tuition and other fees with the revenue you’ll likely earn.

It’s a good idea to tell your coworkers and boss that you’re going back to school. This will show them that you have the drive to better yourself. When they know what you’re undertaking, they may be more understanding as you juggle your added responsibilities. Your employer might also be able to help out with paying some of the cost if the company has a tuition-reimbursement program.

Going back to school at 30 will show current and future employers that your brain is still active and your outlook is still expansive. At 30 — and beyond — there’s no reason not to pursue schooling that will pay dividends in the future.



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