There are many reasons people choose to re-enter the education system later in life. Whether they missed out on going to college after high school and now want to boost their career with a degree, or they are looking to fast-track their existing career trajectory with a master’s degree, education can benefit people at all different stages of life.
Although more than 430,000 students are older than 25, many mature students find the prospect of returning to education to be intimidating. That’s why we’ve put together this handy list of the top seven benefits of being a mature student.
It might be easier to get accepted
Remember when getting into college seemed like the most stressful task your high school self would ever face? The pressure to choose a college and degree and then get accepted was overwhelming. As a mature student with more life and work experience behind you, getting into your chosen college program is far easier.
First, a mature student’s approach to college is far more purposeful. Your search for an institution will be based on the program and modules that best suit your interests and career aspirations. Furthermore, you will also be able to use your life and work experience to bolster your application, demonstrating the hard work you have already put into a certain industry or subject area. You may also find that some colleges are more lenient and flexible with entry requirements for mature students.
You’re choosing a subject you care about
The college experience is positively different for mature students, largely because they are more passionate about their studies. Unlike the daunting process of choosing a major as a young student, a mature student has already spent some time finding their path and deciding what they are passionate about. Not only does this make the work much easier and more enjoyable, but it also makes you more likely to achieve a better result.
You’re boosting your career
As a mature student who has spent time in the working world and has had more time to decide their career path, you are probably choosing to enter into education to help you get exactly where you want to be. For example, you might have opted to pursue an online master’s of computer science to adapt to the modern technological world or an MBA to attain a higher position and salary in business.
Many young students see their college degree as an intermediary life phase that will help them locate a career path, whereas you will be applying your pre-existing industry knowledge and skills to help take your career to the next level. This will also provide you with greater purpose in your degree, leading to higher-scoring assignments and a more enjoyable experience.
Your work experience will help you
If you are considering studying for a degree as a mature student, you likely already have several years of work experience under your belt. This will not only help reinforce your application – just think of all the skills and case studies you can talk about in your interview – but it will also add insightful layers to your projects and assignments as you relate them to your working-world encounters.
If you are studying for a degree that is closely related to your line of work, you will probably find that the subjects of your lectures and seminars correlate with situations you have come across in your career. This will benefit both your studies and your job, especially if you are studying an online degree alongside part-time or full-time work.
It will broaden your network
Any career-savvy professional knows that networking is often the key to success, and think of all the new connections you will make when studying for a degree! Both traditional and online degrees offer students the chance to chat with their professors and fellow students. Then, students can use networking sites such as LinkedIn to solidify these connections and leverage them to get their foot in the door for career-boosting opportunities. Higher education attracts people from all walks of life, so you never know who you might meet!
Your employer will appreciate it
Opting to go back into education for a degree shows that you are willing to take risks, have a thirst for self-improvement, and have ambition, all of which are qualities that your employer will admire. If you are looking to strengthen your resume with further qualifications while still holding down a job, you are demonstrating that you are committed to improving yourself as a worker. This may put you in good stead for a promotion or pay rise.
Furthermore, if you are taking time off of work to pursue a degree on a full-time basis, future employers will undoubtedly view this decision as a brave, mature and prudent thing to do. Returning to education can mean taking a financial hit, spending less time with family, or even relocating, which shows future employers exactly how dedicated you are to achieving your goals.
You’ll make new friends
Academic institutions are full of students pursuing different degrees, which means that you will probably get to meet different types of people that you wouldn’t have encountered previously in your career. If you are studying at a brick-and-mortar college, there will be a plethora of societies and clubs designed to attract people with certain interests, and just because you are a mature student doesn’t mean you can’t participate! You may even find that some clubs and societies are especially targeted to older students.
There’s really nothing to be nervous about when embarking on a degree as a mature student. Being a mature student has lots of benefits that make the educational process useful and fun. Whether you are making the most of the social and networking aspects or you’re looking for the knowledge and skills you need to take the next step in your career, you can expect your experience as a mature student to be nothing but enriching.