In case you hadn’t noticed, career colleges aren’t just for learning a vocational trade anymore. Nowadays, career colleges can help you obtain a Bachelor’s, Master’s, or even Doctorate Degree in just about any field of study, or they can even help you simply brush up on skills you might already have on your way to earning a certification or Associate’s Degree. So while some career schools might still specialize in vocational trades like auto body repair, masonry or hair styling, majority of today’s career colleges are designed to help working professionals meet their career objectives.
Prompted by an inviting and growing selection of career and online colleges, more adults are returning to school than ever before. Whether you’re seeking to advance your current career and education, break into a whole new field, or just enjoy studying something you’ve always wanted to, going back to school can be enjoyable and rewarding.
And yet, many potential students who could clearly benefit from enrollment at a career college are hesitant to do so. The reason? In too many cases, they are being held back by nothing other than their own fear.
The First Step is Admitting It
Let’s begin by getting everything out on table. Some reservations commonly heard from working adults who are considering a return to college include concerns that:
They won’t fit in It’s too expensive There isn’t enough time in day It will take forever to complete a degree Employers won’t view degree (or certification) as credible The coursework won’t be valuable or useful
In reality, just about any student who has attended a career college—whether online or on-campus—will tell you that there really isn’t anything to fear in a return to school. While they may have once had same fears as you do now, they learned very quickly that those fears were actually unwarranted.
By taking each fear one by one, we can begin to understand what these current students now know and how glad they are that they didn’t let their fears hold them back.
I’m Afraid I Won’t Fit In
It is common for a person in their thirties or forties to worry that they’ll stick out like a sore thumb in a classroom filled with “kids” from ages of 18 to 25. However, recent information from Census Bureau and U.S. Department of Education states that adult students are fastest growing educational demographic, revealing that 40% of college students are now 25 or older. Further information from National Center for Education Statistics points out that students age 35 and older rose from 823,00 in 1970 to nearly 3 million by 2001.
If you’re still worried about fitting in to classroom as an adult, a few facts that might help allay your concerns include:
With online learning, you’ll be working on a more individual basis and won’t have to worry about ‘standing out’ in a physical classroom; Many colleges, traditional or otherwise, have seen a spike in their ‘older’ students, and it’s likely you won’t be tiny minority that you expect; and Many older adults actually find it rejuvenating and refreshing to be in a classroom environment with a younger group that is eager to learn.
I’m Afraid It Will Be Too Expensive
Tuition…books…it all adds up. And many potential students get scared off by investment it requires to earn their degree. But key to overcoming this fear is to consider it as just that: an investment in your future. Think long term instead of short term. In almost every case, career advancement you will get after earning your degree will easily make up for upfront costs of attending school. Besides, many career colleges—especially those online—may be more affordable than you realize. Do your homework and weigh long-term benefits before deciding not to enroll in a school for this reason.
I’m Afraid It Will Take Up Too Much Time
For busy working adult, notion of taking on any additional endeavors can be downright stifling. It’s not always easy balancing work with personal life, and adding school on top of all your other responsibilities might seem virtually impossible.
And yet, it’s not. You’d be amazed at how much extra time you can squeeze into a day. Sure, there will be some sacrifices you’ll have to make, but if you just try watching a little less television, say, or letting your friends know that you won’t be able to make that barbecue next weekend, you’ll be amazed at how much time you can free up. Just remember to keep your eye on prize, and your sacrifices will all seem worthwhile.
One good option for students who might have a hard time committing to a schedule is to enroll in online courses that are “asynchronous.” The asynchronous learning model works a bit like email in that you can access coursework, instructor’s lessons and classmates comments at your convenience, then respond whenever you are able. There are no set classes for you to attend, no specific schedules that might conflict with rest of your day, and, because you’ll be taking classes online, no commute time for you to worry about.