More and more adults are going back to college to finish their bachelor’s degrees. Online or on campus, here’s what you need to know.

Going back to school?Thinking of going back to school? You’re in good company.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, roughly 4 million adults ages 35 and older are enrolled in a degree-granting institution. Even more impressive? Enrollment of students over age 25 increased by a whopping 42% between 2000 and 2010.

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With the growing popularity of online bachelor’s degree programs, more and more adults are going back to college—or going for the first time. From boosting your career (and your paycheck) to entering a new field, the reasons are as varied as adult college students themselves.

With age and maturity on your side, going back to college as an adult is a worthy endeavor for many reasons. But it’s also a big one, requiring significant time and financial commitments. We’ve compiled a list of things to consider for adults thinking about going back to school, from pinpointing your goals to the value of online bachelor’s degree programs.

Going back to school: Things to consider

This is a big decision—it’s also an exciting one. As you weigh your options, here are some things to consider.

  • Goals
    As you research on-campus and online bachelor’s degree programs, it’s important to have well-established goals in order to choose the right program and get the most out of your education. Is there a certain specialization you’re interested in? A particular field you’d like to enter? A razor-sharp focus on your goals is essential.
  • Time commitment
    Between family and work commitments, college for working adults can be a balancing act. No matter what you major in, bachelor’s degrees, online or on campus, require a significant investment of time in academic work. Before you even start researching programs, establish how much time you have to devote to your studies so you can map out your requirements accordingly.
  • Cost
    Financial aid isn’t just for recent high school graduates. Adult college students can apply for financial aid at their chosen institution the same way younger students do. They can also apply for grants. Some employers pay a portion of the costs associated with higher education. Be sure to explore all your options when it comes to financial assistance. You’ll be surprised how much financial assistance is available.
  • Online or on campus
    Many adults returning to college find the flexibility of online bachelor’s degree programs ideal for their busy schedules. Work and family commitments can often make it difficult to attend class at a brick-and-mortar institution, as well as keep up with the traditional academic timeline that comes with it. An online university allows you to participate in classes on a weekly basis, whenever it’s convenient for you.
  • Support services
    From writing and math to navigating financial aid and transferring credits, adult college students have the same concerns as recent high school graduates. On campus or online, today’s higher education institutions are equipped with the support services you need to achieve your goals, including writing and tutoring centers, financial aid counselors, and much more.

The advantages of going back to school as an adult

Going back to college can seem like an intimidating prospect, especially when you’ve been out of the academic arena for some time. While it may not always be top of mind, going back to school as an adult has many advantages.

  • Maturity
    With age comes maturity. Adults going back to college are focused on what they want to get out of their education. Whether you attend an online university or a brick-and-mortar institution, you understand the value of a higher education and see how it will positively impact your career. You’re motivated and ready to learn.
  • Determination
    With age also comes the determination you need to take on more challenges to achieve your goals. Balancing life, work, and family while you’re going back to school is no small feat—but it’s a challenge you’re up for as an adult going back to college.
  • Focus
    From choosing a major to selecting the on-campus or online bachelor’s degree program that best suits their needs, adult college students know what they want. Adults returning to college often have the focus they need to finish school faster than their younger counterparts.

Ready to get your bachelor’s degree? Walden’s online bachelor’s degree programs offer an engaging online learning model designed to fit your busy schedule, which means you can participate in classes on a weekly basis, whenever it’s convenient for you.

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