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Why Are So Many People Going Back to School in Later Life?

In generations gone by, when you decided to leave school, that was it.

As soon as education stopped being compulsory, many people left instead of continuing to higher education. Any learning they did after that was independent or through work. There was little option to return to school once you’d stopped. Then, over time, gap years and taking time out became more popular. Students felt that this was their last chance to see the world or to take a break before real responsibility hit, and it seemed like the perfect time to do it, old enough to explore freely, but young enough to not be tied down.

The gap year, of course, saw some never return to school, despite their best intentions at the start. For others, it was the perfect start on a path to higher learning. Nowadays, things are changing even more. People aren’t just taking a year or two out. Many people are choosing to return to school much later in life. Heading back to study a degree or other qualification after a lengthy break. But, why? Why are all of these people heading back to school, and could you do the same?


The Growth of Online Study

Courses like an online engineering mba are much more widely available nowadays. Distance learning is exceptionally popular, and even the highest ranked schools offer some form of online education. To study some online courses, you don’t need any previous experience or qualifications, and it makes it possible to study around other commitments, such as jobs or children.

The growth of online study, as well as the availability of part time options, means that education is available to a much wider range of people, of all ages and stages of life.

The Possibility of Career Change

Once, we were expected to get on a path when we were 16 and stay on it for the rest of our lives. Career change options were limited, and even if a job made you unhappy, with no other experience or qualifications, you were stuck.

This is no longer the case. Most of us now have at least two careers before we retire, with some of us even taking on the challenge of an encore career long after. Going back to school can give people the opportunity to change careers in later life, finding something that makes them happy. Whether it's training to become a PMHNP or a criminal prosecutor, it’s never too late to change your career. 

To Keep Up

If you’ve worked in one job for a long time, you might have moved up through the ranks. But wherever you are on the career ladder, it would be foolish to think that you’d always know everything about your field. You might find that new graduates are entering the profession which much more up to date knowledge than your own. They might have more advanced skills and deeper levels of understanding. Going back to school can help you to keep up and stay on top of your field. It can mean that you are always great at your job and help you to advance your position within your company.