should I go back to college

Is Going Back to College Worth It?

Going back to college as an adult learner is more common than ever. In fact, Forbes cites that the majority of people seeking bachelor’s degrees are now adult learners—individuals who don’t fall within the typical 18–22-year-old range.

Whether returning to school with a desire to begin a new career, finally gain that promotion, or snag a more lucrative salary, colleges and universities often admit students from their mid-20s to early 60s to earn their first, second, or terminal degrees. Conversely, students can enjoy an increase in adult degree programs offering discounted tuition costs, flexible class schedules, and accelerated learning options.

But, the big question still looms—is going back to college worth it? The simple answer is absolutely. Completing a college degree plays a vital role in employability and has become a basic requirement for many professional career tracks. In fact, 9 in 10 new positions now require applicants to have a bachelor’s degree.

In today’s post, we’ll cover five reasons why going back to college as an adult learner is undeniably worth it.

1. Increased Job and Salary Opportunities

Having an advanced degree greatly widens the scope of an individual’s job—and therefore salary—opportunities. College graduates have increased job prospects because schooling offers an opportunity to acquire specialized skills, knowledge, and expertise in a concentrated period.

Going back to college to complete a bachelor’s or master’s degree also provides graduates access to higher salaries. CNN Business states that the average college graduate makes $1,227 a week compared to $678 for high school graduates—that’s nearly double. Plus, 82.6 percent of college graduates are likely to have jobs compared to only 67.8 percent of high school graduates. Simply put, earning a degree puts the odds in your favor.

Though getting your college degree can be a significant financial investment, keep in mind the worthwhile and long-term earning potential it offers. Instead of looking at only the next two to three years, consider where you will be in the next five to seven, or even ten to fifteen years upon earning your college degree.

2. Personal Investment

Whether going back to college to finish a degree you began years back or obtaining a higher degree for the first time—both broaden your horizons. Furthermore, completing a degree is a huge personal accomplishment and offers deep satisfaction for many people.

In fact, furthering your education helps graduates discover new passions, fosters independence and offers connections with a new and diverse group of people. Increasing knowledge, skill sets, and experiences make you a well-rounded individual and a stronger candidate for future employers.

Additionally, upon graduation, many graduates find they are happier, healthier, and less stressed after completing a college degree. They are more optimistic about their future and forgiving toward their past. Plus, graduates are often more motivated to pursue their passions and goals, leading to higher earning potential.

3. Staying Competitive in Your Industry

Staying competitive in your industry and company is top of mind for many employees, especially in today’s tough economic times. Many companies choose to bring on newer, younger talent with up-to-date skills instead of investing in upskilling and retraining current employees. This can be frustrating for the current employees who feel they’ve paid their dues but don’t have the schooling or degree to prove it.

Hence why many older adults find themselves going back to college in order to build on existing knowledge or develop additional expertise to stay competitive in their industry.

College helps candidates familiarize themselves with the latest advances within their field. It can also potentially equip you with specific skills and knowledge that provide an advantage over your peers.

4. The Second-Chapter Career

Another common situation these days? Adults find themselves decades into a career only to realize they want to spend the last of their working years doing something completely different. Some individuals retire only to discover they want to find a new job. Or some, unfortunately, find themselves out of work because their duties have been outsourced or discontinued by new technologies, protocols, and procedures.

Thus, many adult learners looking to pursue a second-chapter career in a new field understand that a degree is often the best way to quickly develop new and necessary skills. Plus, a college degree helps you get hired at a higher level and quickly rise to the top of your new career.

5. Networking

If you’re worried about having community when going back to college as a non-traditional student or a working adult, think again. The population of adult learners past the age of 25 returning to school continues to increase—meaning adult learners are in good company with a wide variety of diverse individuals. This provides unparalleled opportunities to expand your horizons and get to know different types of people you’ll work with in the future.

College is a great place to meet new people and provides students with the opportunity to build connections with people from around the world. Social ties and your network reach are invaluable in today’s society. Plus, who knows? The people you meet in college may be tomorrow’s CEOs and leaders.

Ultimately, the decision to go back to college will come down to your unique, personal situation. Completing or furthering your education is a major career and life accomplishment that can re-energize one’s career. Because of this, many adults find it well worth the time, effort, and money it costs to finally get that degree.

Don’t be afraid to take the time you need to do the necessary research and evaluate options available to fit your life and career needs. At the University of Bridgeport, we are dedicated to serving students of all ages. We prepare our students for a successful future in their dream careers.

With more than 80 undergraduate programs, start exploring some options for a fulfilling and rewarding future. The University of Bridgeport also offers extensive graduate degree programs and flexible hybrid and entirely online programs for students to pursue worthwhile degrees on their schedule.

Contact us today and we’ll show you why going back to college is worth your time and energy.