Going Back to College After Retirement

The first time you went to school, it was to get a job. Now, you're retired, which means you can prioritize your passions and plunge headfirst into your interests. You might want to earn a degree with the intention of finding work; some seniors have to work while others find it beneficial to their mental health. What if you never went to college in the first place? As a 60-something prospective student, it's normal to feel a little out of your depth. However, more and more adults are returning to the classroom, even online. The flexibility of modern degrees makes it possible for learners anywhere in the world to expand their horizons and open the doorways to greater opportunity.

What to Know Before You Enroll

There are two options available for senior college students today. The first is to attend classes on campus, where you will probably be in the minority age-wise. The second is to go to an online college, where remote learners of all ages are far more common. You may also find it more comfortable and practical to attend school remotely. This gives you more flexibility in your schedule as well, so you aren't forced to wake up for morning classes or hang around a campus waiting for an evening lecture.

You should also consider the cost of earning a degree. Education expenses have drastically increased over the last 20 years. Now, graduates with six-figures of debt are the norm. You may have enough money to pay for some tuition out-of-pocket, but that isn't entirely necessary. To preserve your budget, you can look into borrowing a student loan from a private lender. By taking advantage of Earnest student loans, it can help learners of all ages and backgrounds take education into their own hands. Payment arrangements are able to match your budget and preferences, so it's easy to plan ahead without worrying about the cost of a degree and your financial health.

Choosing a Program

You can either study something you're familiar with or make your brain more flexible and branch out into unchartered territory. As a retired adult, you are probably seeking new experiences. After all, being in your 60s is a chance to embrace new things you may have put off during your working years. Bachelor degrees or master's degrees are both viable options; if you already hold an undergraduate, your master's might present an exciting and enriching challenge in your preferred discipline. For those who are first-time students or want to start from the foundation, undergraduate programs are available by the dozens.

Think about what you truly love and start from there. If you are passionate about animals, perhaps a degree in zoology would be perfect for you. The beauty of going to school in retirement is that you are not limited to choosing the most profitable courses of study. Career opportunities aside, what is something you've always wanted to learn about? Whether it's history, literature, philosophy or even a modern technology niche, there is a program out there that's perfect for you.

Making the Time

You will need to commit between 15 to 25 hours a week for studying and homework. Although this is less than a typical work week, the way you apply yourself in college feels entirely different from the expectations of a career. Now, you'll need to create room in your schedule to hit the books and write papers. You'll also have to learn about different publication styles, develop research skills and familiarize yourself with the modern student's toolbox. The good news is that there are far more resources available today than there were in the past. Even in entirely online programs, students have access to walkthroughs, tech support, tutors, libraries and more.


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