When we think of higher education, we tend to think of school leavers who have finished compulsory education and are looking for the next place to go. They either have a set career path in their head and will pursue a degree that will help them land this role, or they’re not all too sure what they want to do and want a few more years to figure things out while also adding an achievement to their resume. But it’s so important for everyone to remember that while these kinds of students do tend to make up a large proportion of student bodies, higher education is open to anyone and anyone can pursue it at any time or stage of their life. The doors are open and you can walk right through them if you so wish! While anyone over the age of 21 is considered a mature student, mature students still make up a significant proportion of student bodies at higher education institutes. Many report being happier with their decision to study too, as they feel more focused on their course and educational journey than socializing and developing their character instead. So, if this is an area you’ve been looking into, here’s everything you need to know to make the right decision!
Reasons to Pursue to Higher Education
There are various reasons you might want to pursue higher education. But seeing as it’s pretty pricey, it’s always a good idea to make sure you’re applying for a degree for worthwhile reasons, rather than just for the sake of it. Here are a few common reasons people get back to studying!
Changing Your Career Path
Sometimes people who head into higher education already have a career path set out. They’re working full time, but they’re not in a role that they find enjoyable or rewarding. Heading back to education can give you the opportunity to change the path you’re taking. You can train and qualify in a completely new area, allowing yourself the chance to enter a completely different profession to the one you’re working on at the moment. Falling into a certain job role by circumstance or chance can leave you feeling trapped. You become dependent on the income to be able to pay your bills and repay any debts that you may owe. But heading to university or college can give you a chance at something new! Heading into a field that you actually want to work in can reduce your experience of stress, improve your mood, and improve your general quality of life on a day to day basis.
Improving Your Current Career Path
Another reason you might want to get an educational qualification is climbing the career ladder in the field you’re already in. You may love your job. But a degree could help you to secure a promotion and rise in the company. You’ll be able to maintain the environment you’re working in, but receive a pay rise and take on more responsibility. This is a great chance to keep your career moving in the right direction!
For the Love of the Subject
Of course, not everything has to revolve around money and career progression. There are many areas of academia that don’t necessarily lead to a secure and guaranteed job at the end. In fact, sometimes, studying for the sheer love of a subject can be extremely fulfilling and give you a good few years of enjoying doing something that you genuinely like, are interested in, and are invested in. If you absolutely adore a subject, you don’t necessarily have to justify studying it for financial gain in the end. Sometimes studying for the sake of studying is enough to justify doing your course.
Making Higher Education Work for You
Of course, higher education is time consuming. Many full time courses will take all of your time for three whole years of your life. Not everyone can commit to being on a university or college campus for this amount of time and dedicating such a large proportion of their life to studying. But the good news is that many institutions are offering more flexible learning options to make higher education more easily accessible. Here are a few ways you can make higher education work for you!
Of course, if you are able to take time off whatever else you’re doing and commit three years of your life to getting a degree, the fastest way to get there is a full time course. This will immerse you in the university environment and lifestyle and you’ll study every weekday to get where you want!
If you have commitments like work or familial responsibilities, full-time education might not be ideal for you. The good news is that there are plenty of part-time courses out there now. An RN to MSN online is a great example! When you study online, you can still access lectures and you have high-quality tuition from professors and lecturers, just as you would on campus. However, your hours can be more flexible. If you work set shifts, you don’t need to worry about getting to campus to attend your seminars and lectures. Instead, you can fit these in around your work at home.
If you want to attend courses on campus, but just can’t accommodate the hours and heavy workload into your current life, you can get the best of both worlds with part time courses. These, of course, take twice as long to complete. But you still get face to face tuition, with just half the workload at any given time.
Of course, higher education doesn’t necessarily come cheap. Tuition fees are high and you also have to factor in the fact that you will generally earn less while studying, as you can’t work and study full time all at once. This is why it’s important that you always look into funding opportunities that may be available to you. There are schemes that help with your tuition fees, but there are also schemes that can help with maintaining you and providing you with a good quality of life while you study. Look into scholarships, grants, and other opportunities to reach out for a helping hand and apply to any that you may be eligible for. Competition is often tight with these kinds of schemes, but it’s always worth trying for them!
Besides official funding, there are various ways to cut your costs when you’re studying. This can make the whole situation more accessible and viable.
Buy Textbooks Secondhand
Everyone knows that college textbooks and set texts can be extremely expensive. This tends to go for whatever course you might be taking and it’s likely that over the duration of your course, you’re going to have to invest in a few. Sure the university or college library might have a few copies of each set text you need. But multiple people will generally be trying to take these out at once and you may not be able to get your hands on a copy for when you need it. This is why you may find yourself needing to buy some of your set texts. But don’t worry too much. You can significantly reduce the cost of these books by opting for second-hand copies. Brand new books will come with a premium price tag, but it’s likely that the people who have studied the subject in the years above you have copies that they no longer want or need. Chances are they’re as good as new and have only been read once or twice. So, reach out to people in the year above and see if anyone’s looking to sell their copies. You might also want to take a look online. People at other colleges and schools may have listed their old copies for sale too!
Accommodation tends to be a major cost when studying. But this is a great time in your life to split the costs and share with other students. This, of course, may only be possible if you are single and don’t have kids. But if you are, then you can save a lot by splitting rent, bills, and other costs with other people who are also studying at the same institute as you. Housesharing can become pretty complicated territory, so it’s important that you lay down ground rules from the start. This will ensure that everyone in your houseshare is happy and that nobody rubs anyone else up the wrong way. Generally, as long as everyone’s adult, cleans up their own mess and respects everyone else they’re living with, everything should go smoothly!
As you can see, there’s a whole lot to take into consideration when it comes to heading back to education. But it can be a brilliant decision for anyone to make in their life. Hopefully, the above information has helped you to see the different options available to you, as well as offering tips and tricks that could help make the whole process more achievable and viable!