A college education may be considered an unquestioned requirement now, but there was a time when it wasn’t something every high school student thought was necessary. Whether you skipped college back when you graduated or you went, but not for what you wanted to, your pre- and postretirement years are a great time to go back to school and get the degree you really want. There are three major factors that make after 50 a perfect time to head to college:
- You’re more likely to be able to afford tuition. You won’t have to live in a dorm and scramble for cash to pay the bills; you can just take a few classes each semester and pay for them out of your own pocket.
- There’s no pressure. After 50, you’ve already established one or more sustaining careers. While you can use your new degree to establish yet another, you don’t have the pressure of having to.
- Your priorities and life experience make learning easier. Eighteen-year-olds going to college are distracted by freedom, adulthood, parties and so many other things. A person over 50 can go to school and learn for the sake of learning, without having to worry about any coming-of-age overhead.
There are some things that you should be aware of if you decide to finish school after age 50, such as:
- You may initially feel out of place. Usually, that feeling doesn’t last too long, but it can be distracting the first few weeks. To avoid it, you can always look into online classes. Evening classes are also a good choice since many adult students attend those after work.
- It’s important that you avoid loans. Taking out student loans right before retirement is a bad idea. Take only as many classes as you can afford and don’t forget to take advantage of tax credits for students.
- Find out if any of your local schools are part of the Plus 50 initiative. This is a program that helps people over 50 get degrees in high-demand fields. Best of all, the program is focused on fields that are known for hiring older workers.