Returning to school after a professional experience: everything you need to know

Adults returning to school

Deciding to return to school after a professional experience can be daunting. You may ask yourself, “Can I do this?” or “What if I’m not successful?” But don’t worry – we’re here to help! This blog post will outline everything you need to know about returning to school after a few years out of the classroom. We’ll discuss how to finance your education, stay motivated throughout the process, and the many benefits and challenges of returning to school. Plus, we’ll provide tips on choosing the right program and school for you and decide if this is the right decision.

So whether you’re just starting to think about returning to school or ready to take the plunge, read on for everything you need to know about returning to school as an adult!

The benefits of going back to school later in life

Over the past few years, there has been a growing trend of adults going back to school later in life. While some may view this as a waste of time, there are several benefits to pursuing education later in life.

For one, adults who return to school often have a better sense of what they want to study. They are no longer exploring different majors and trying to figure out their future careers. Instead, they are focused on completing a specific program to help them achieve their goals.

In addition, adult students tend to be more motivated than their younger counterparts. This is because they usually have spent several years working and understand the value of getting a good education.

Furthermore, their life experience compared with traditional college students is a significant asset for their studies. For example, they may be able to relate the course material to real-world situations and network with professionals in their field.

Finally, going back to school helps to keep your mind sharp. As we age, we must engage our brains in stimulating activities to help ward off dementia and other age-related cognitive declines.

Overall, there are many benefits to going back to school later in life.

Adult education illustration

The challenges of going back to school later in life

One of the biggest challenges of going back to school when you have a significant professional experience may be balancing school with other responsibilities, such as work and family. Finding time to complete assignments and study for exams can be difficult. However, setting aside some time each week for schoolwork is vital.

Another challenge may be the material itself. If you have been out of school for a while, you may find that the material is more complicated than you remember. It is essential to ask for help when needed and take advantage of resources like tutoring and the library.

Finally, you may find that you are not as social as you used to be. It can be challenging to make friends when you are older, but there are many ways to get involved on campus and meet new people. While returning to school later in life can be challenging, it can also lead to personal and professional growth.

How to decide if going back to school is the right decision for you

There are many things to consider when determining if returning to school is your suitable decision.

One factor influencing your decision is your satisfaction with your current job. If you find yourself feeling unfulfilled or lacking in challenge, then pursuing further education could help you find a more rewarding career.

Another thing to consider is how much experience you already have in your field. For example, suppose you feel you have plateaued in your current role and are no longer learning new things. In that case, returning to school could help you gain the skills and knowledge necessary to advance in your career.

Finally, it is also essential to consider the financial investment of returning to school. Suppose you are confident that you can obtain funding for your education. In that case, going back to school can be a wise investment in your future.

Ultimately, only you can decide if returning to school is your suitable decision. Consider all the factors involved and choose the best decision for your situation.

How to choose the right program and school for you

As someone already has professional experience, returning to school can be a big decision. There are many factors to consider when choosing the right program and school.

First, consider your goals. What do you hope to accomplish by going back to school? Once you know what you want, you can start looking for programs to help you reach your goals. What is the curriculum? The faculty? What are the admission requirements? Do you want to attend a traditional brick-and-mortar school or an online program?

You may also want to read this: The SWOT analysis, a tool to help setting your personal goals

Next, consider your budget. How much can you afford to spend on tuition and other associated costs? Be sure to also factor in the time commitment required by each program. Also, don’t forget to speak with people in your network who have already returned to school. They can offer valuable insights and advice based on their own experiences.

Lastly, trust your gut: if a program doesn’t feel like the right fit, it probably isn’t. By taking the time to do your research, you’ll be sure to choose a program that’s a good match for your goals and interests.

The costs of going back to school and ways to finance your education

The cost of going back to school can be a significant barrier for many adults. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average cost of tuition and fees at a public four-year college is over $9,400 per year. For private colleges, the average price is nearly $37,600 per year. In addition to tuition, there are also costs for books, supplies, and room and board. These costs can add up quickly, making it difficult for many people to return to school.

Fortunately, there are several ways to finance your education. Federal financial aid programs like the Pell Grant can help cover the cost of tuition and fees. Scholarships and grants from private organizations can also provide financial assistance. In addition, many employers offer tuition reimbursement programs to help offset the cost of returning to school. Lastly, based on your location, several tax breaks may help offset the cost of returning to school. By researching and exploring your options, you can find a way to finance your education and achieve your goals.

Advice from people who have gone back to school later in life

Going back to school later in life can be a daunting task. You may feel like you’re too old or that you’ve already missed your chance. However, many people have returned to school later in life and had successful careers. Here are some pieces of advice from people who have been through it:

  1. Don’t be discouraged if you’re behind your peers. Everyone is at a different stage in life, and you’ll be able to catch up.
  2. Make use of the resources available to you. Many schools have support services specifically for older students.
  3. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Your friends and family will likely be happy to support you as you undertake this new challenge.
  4. Be prepared to work hard. Returning to school will require a significant investment of time and effort, but it will be worth it in the end.
  5. Keep your long-term goals in mind. It can be easy to get caught up in the day-to-day grind of classes and homework, but remember why you’re doing this in the first place. Keep your eyes on the prize, and you’ll find the way much easier.


Returning to school later in life can be a great decision, but it’s essential to do your research and ensure that the program you choose is the right fit for you, whether it is a vocational or a college education. We hope our tips have helped paint a clearer picture of what to consider when making this choice. Are you ready to take the next step? Let us know in the comments below!

Featured photo by Kenny Eliason on Unsplash