Too Old to Go Back to School?

Optimal Mental Health and Well-Being

Too Old to Go Back to School?

When we think about the typical college student, we picture someone fresh out of high school in their late teens and early 20s. So prevalent is this image, that we are inclined to not see the vast number of college students who do not fit this demographic mold. Does this mean that it is too late to go to college for the first time if you are older than this typical college student? The good news is the answer is a resounding NO.

According to the Lumina Foundation, slightly more that 1/3 of undergraduate students are older than 25, with more than 25% raising children and almost 60% work while enrolled in college. The advent of online degree programs at traditional brick and mortar universities or online universities has opened up a whole new world of educational opportunities for pursuing a college degree later in life.

But I’m too old. This is a common excuse people make when confronted with the opportunity to pursue their educational dreams. Maybe you got a college degree when you were much younger, but want to pursue a new direction in your life now that your children have left home or maybe you always wanted to get a college degree when you were younger, but circumstances did allow for this to happen.

As you sit looking at college websites, wondering where all the years have gone by, dreaming of going back to school, you might find a part of yourself thinking “I wish I could, but I’m too old to go back to school”.

This erroneous belief plagues more people than you might think. According to Psychology Today, even people as young as 30 think they are too old to go back to school. Among their worries are not fitting in socially, learning too slowly, or somehow just not having what it takes to be successful in college. It seems that for many of us, the belief that we can’t succeed is common. Telling ourselves we are too old is just a convenient way to not face our fears and pursue our dreams.

Have you been thinking about going to college, but find yourself thinking you are too old? Check out this article on going back to school at 40 and beyond. One of the best ways to get beyond the limiting belief you are too old for college is to be exposed to people in many age ranges who successfully took the leap into the world of being an adult college student. If they can do it, why can’t you?

While it is easy to dream of better things we’d like in our lives as we get older, it is even easier to create stories we tell ourselves about why it isn’t possible. Not enough money. Not enough time. Too many other responsibilities. Fear of failure. Too old.

The good news is that you are never too old to go back to school. Not only are there more opportunities for adult learners to pursue college degrees today, societal norms are quickly changing as more and more adult learners take the plunge and go back to college for a second degree or maybe for their first degree.

If they succeeded in pursuing their educational dreams, then so can you.

Learn more

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