Five Reasons to Go Back to School After Age 50

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Are You Thinking Of Going Back To School After 50?

When I went back to school after the age of 50, I had lots of concerns and questions. I had just gone through a grey divorce and wanted to build a career that would suit me for decades. Knowing that for most Gen X’ers retirement age has become a moving target, I knew that grad school would be a good investment.

Main Ideas From This Article:

  • You are not too old to go back to school after the age of 50
  • It will be challenging and you will need to be prepared for some frustration
  • No matter why you went back to school, you have a greater earing potential and you are committing to self development.

Going Back To School After The Age Of 50 Might Increase Your Income

Many research studies show that education can result in a higher potential for earnings. Typically, you can realize a 20% increase in professional income with a masters degree. Some studies show that people with a bachelors degree earn 84% more in income than folks with just a high school diploma. It’s reasonable to assume that continued education will provide more opportunities and a higher earning potential.

Going Back To College After 50 Is Self- Development

Going back to school after 50 often brings many benefits and opportunities. You may gain increased job security, professional skills and access to a variety of networks. You can also enjoy personal satisfaction in your accomplishments that come with more education. Finally, going back to school as an adult can help spark a new level of creativity in your life!

Going back to school after 50 can be vey rewarding!

Since I already had my undergraduate degree, I went back to college for a masters degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. Gratefully, I was able to complete my masters in a two years going to school full time. After graduating, I opened my own coaching and writing business.

Honestly, going back to school after the age of 50 has brought so much fulfillment into my life! If you are considering it, here are my best suggestions and advice to get a college degree after 50.

Going Back to College After 50: What Degrees Should You Pursue?

Recently the following degrees have seen an increase in demand and salary. Check out this quick list of degrees that can help you stay competitive in the job market if you are over 50:

  • Nurse Practitioner (NP) or Physician Assistant (PA)
  • Information technology such as web development or cybersecurity
  • Business Administration
  • Organizational Psychology -the study of human behavior in the workplace/organizations
  • Public Health-working to promote health and safety in local communities
  • Finance
  • Accounting

The Benefits of Going Back to School after 50

Maybe you are considering making changes in your life. It is possible that you have decided to level up for your career, or you might be considering a purposeful pivot in your lifestyle.

Going back to school after 50 can be an intimidating and overwhelming experience but it is also a wonderful opportunity to expand your knowledge, explore new career paths and make new relationships.

Expect to challenge yourself emotionally and intellectually as you adjust to returning your studies after a long break, and will likely have to work even harder than when you first started out in order to keep up with younger students. Additionally, you may find that online or evening classes are more convenient for someone with other responsibilities.

Are You Ready To Go Back To School After 50?

According to this article, only 8% of grad students are over the age of 50. It can seem daunting to return to school, but if you choose a degree that will increase your earning potential, it is worth all the effort. By the time we get to middle age, we have a much better idea of who we are, our natural skills and what we enjoy in life.

Thinking about going back to school might bring up some negative emotions around your life choices. It’s really important to remember that we all make choices with the best information we have at the time. If you have some regrets about actions or decisions you made when you were a younger person, it’s time to work on self forgiveness. I have had to choose to forgive myself for things that were part of my earlier life. If you need help with self forgiveness, this post has ideas to help you deal with regrets and move forward.

Trust me: going back to school will challenge and stretch you in so many beneficial ways! Returning to college after the age of 50 will force you to update your self-image. Putting yourself in the position of a beginner again is one of the best ways to develop self confidence and determination.

Going Back To College Sounds Like So Much Extra Work!

Granted, going back to school after the age of 50 can present some unique challenges like developing new study habits, reacclimating to a college setting and worrying about job security after graduating.

Other potential issues include dealing with student loan debts, balancing family and academic obligations, as well as staying motivated while learning alongside younger students.

Remember, your choice depends on your own personal goals and preferences! If you’re looking to increase your employability by learning new skills and earning a degree, then more education is a logical choice.

And if your goal is to pursue a subject for self-development and improvement, taking classes can be rewarding. Many college programs have an option to “audit” classes. Auditing classes does not result in a degree, but if you are returning to school for fun, it’s a great option!

Earning a Degree After Fifty: Is it Worth It?

Yes, it is! Going back to school after the age of 50 can improve your career and earning potential. Studies show that those who go back to school after 50 have higher wages, higher employment rates, and better job security than similar individuals without any additional education or training.

With the right educational qualifications, you can open yourself up to a wide range of opportunities with higher salary and job satisfaction. Additionally, continuing your education can improve your problem-solving skills, critical thinking abilities and global understanding.

Going Back To College As An Adult

My decision to get a masters in Marriage and Family Therapy was based on my personal interest in the filed of psychology. When I turned 50, I started to get curious about why I made certain choices and more importantly, how my thinking patterns were affecting my life.

I wanted to work with people that feeling some uncertainty and looking to make life changes. It was also important to me to choose a field that required me to continue to develop my professional knowledge with continued education.

And lastly, I wanted a job that would “age with me.” I thought about the ergonomics of office work and repetitive movements, and knew I wanted a career that could work with any potential physical aging issues I might experience down the road.

So what does it take to go back to school after 50?

And what can you expect if you do decide to go back?

Here is my top five list of things to know about going back to school after the age of 50!

Top 5 Things To Know About Going Back To School After 50

1. You will feel old! There is a very good chance you might be the oldest student in your cohort. Remember, in grad school programs, only 8% of the students are over 50 years old!

The biggest adjustments for me was the technology and clothing differences. I think it is safe to say that most students over the age of fifty feel a smidge out of touch with student life. We tend to dress up a bit more than then younger students, a holdover from our earlier school habits.

The over 50 students in my grad school often showed up with backpacks stuffed with books, pens and papers! The younger students were much more adept at paperless note taking and choosing to rent online text books.

You Are Not Too Old To Start A New College Degree

Don’t stress if you can’t navigate all the amazing apps or figure out how to get on the school internet! There are always patient helpful younger students who are eager to help. Most schools have a dedicated IT department, your tuition helps pay for people to help you- take advantage of this service! If you are struggling with any technology, do not be ashamed to ask for help.

I couldn’t get on the school internet for my first two days of grad school. I was so frustrated and embarrassed; I can still remember feeling like a loser!

After some investigation, I found out that my school had an outdated internet system that didn’t work well with my new Mac book.

The best lesson I learned was to never assume that it was my fault that something wasn’t working. Sometimes the problem is with the institution’s technology and not the student!

· 2. You can physically feel your brain stretching– HA! Not really, but there will be days that it all feels too hard, and besides, you are too old, and who really wants to be told what to do by a professor…blah blah blah.

Do not believe that lie that it was a mistake to go back to school over the age of 50. It was not a mistake, no matter how much self-doubt you are struggling with! Settle down and focus on relaxing, allow the feelings of fear to dissipate. Every instructor I have had in grad school is more than willing to help their students succeed.

Don’t Be Embarrassed To Ask For Help

If you are like me, asking for help can feel a bit embarrassing. If you go back to school after the age of 50, you have to practice lots of self-patience and grace. Self-judgment will only make you feel incapable and exhausted. Give yourself the same encouragement you would offer a friend who is headed back to school.

3. It’s expensive to level up- I used to operate with a mindset that focused on “lack.” Lack of resources, lack of money, projected shortages in retirement savings, my mind was always full of warnings about never having enough. Maybe you can relate to that mindset as well. For many of us, it came from our early childhoods. And we carried it on into our adulthood, never really taking the time to question if we wanted to live believing that there was ‘never enough” resources.

To be certain, we have all had challenging financial times, and most likely, there will be more to come in our lives. But when we stay focused on “lack” we might be missing other opportunities that can bring an increase into our lives. Expanding our education might result in more income, more joy in self development and more long-term household stability.

Focus On The New Adventure Of Going Back To College

I have chosen to adjust my beliefs. I now believe that investing in myself and my education will pay off. Of course, you need to find the most cost-effective school, and figure out how to hustle to keep your tuition payments manageable but investing in yourself is never a bad idea.

4. Let the process change you– I am asking you to see yourself as persistent and resilient. A person who does not give up, doesn’t stall, and does not stop. Going to grad school will create a new sense of purpose and momentum. Once you have experienced that feeling, it is yours to use any time you need it! Take the energy and mindset you will develop in grad school and apply it to the rest of your life.

5. If you want something- go get it! Remember, the brain will look for bias, our minds want to stay in the routine of what we know. Our brain is prone to take the sum of uncomfortable previous experiences, looking for evidence that we are making a mistake. Don’t be surprised if your brain is telling you that enrolling in grad school over 50 is a dangerous choice!

Here I am on graduation day!

Overcoming Challenges for Adults Returning to School After 50

As humans, we search for evidence to support the story we know. Because our brain wants to conserve energy, it will tell us stories to keep us safe. If we are “safe” we are not spending energy on solving new problems or trying to accept new thinking patterns.

I am grateful that my brain has one important goal, my safety. But, when we allow that sense of anxiety or doubt determine the direction of our lives, we are compromising. By the time we have arrived in midlife, we have emotional stories and mental structures that are built on past evidence of bad experiences.

One of the most difficult things to do is to turn off the danger machine echoing in your mind and step into a new, foreign space to pursue self-growth.

It’s Okay To Be Scared, But Don’t Let Fear Stop You!

Going back to school after the age of 50 is a bold choice! You owe to yourself to challenge the fears, and step into the unknown of self-growth. Choose to model adventure and resilience to your children, the young adults who are watching you to see how to embrace challenges.

We need your ideas and your voice, keep pushing yourself to develop your skills and abilities. Because if you are not showing up as your best self, then we are missing out on the unique YOU that we need in our world.

Navigating school requirements, financial loans and study time can be daunting. Keep in mind that there are numerous support teams available at your university to help you find your academic balance. Don’t fall victim to the idea that you are too old to start something new! The time will pass anyway, why not spend it on self-improvement?

And when you feel like you want to give up, keep going. You won’t regret it, I promise.

If you could use some help making decisions about returning to school, I would love to work with you. I am a coach, with a masters in Marriage and Family Therapy. Working together, we can explore the reasons you are seeking change, and create a solid path forward. Click here for more details, feel free to send me an email with any of your questions!

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Melane Ann is a writer, blogger, and life coach. In 2020, she turned her experience in midlife divorce and creating a new life for herself into midlifeismagical. With a master's in Marriage and Family Therapy, Melane focuses on helping women over 50 navigate their relationships and commit to healthy aging. She and her new husband share 7 children between them. Melane jokes that she has a black belt in blended families! In addition to her writing, Melane works virtually with her coaching clients from her home office.

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