For many people, college was long thought of as a privilege offered only to those who could afford the time and the tuition. In these cases, learning would take a back seat to work or family, and the concept of earning a degree would feel forever out of reach.
That’s changed, fortunately, as online learning has created new opportunities for students anywhere in the world. Recently, Ashford University polled its students on Facebook, asking them to explain their reasons for going back to school. From more than 150 responses, familiar trends began to appear, and the reasons became as diverse as Ashford’s student body.
1) Getting Ahead
Learning new skills and putting oneself in position for career advancement ranked among the most common reasons given for returning to school.
As student Carol Harrington put it, school is necessary to keep up with technology or “we will be lost in the shuffle of being uneducated and jobless.”
Another student, Samantha Leonard, replied, “I am going to school because I am not satisfied with settling for the average – struggle daily and do what is expected – life that I was stuck in for many years.”
2) Personal Achievement
Many respondents said school was a gift they wanted to give themselves, citing the desire to become a better, more educated person as their reason for enrolling in college.
“I think for me it was mostly about challenging myself and just furthering my education,” said Tari Jacobson, a teacher and Ashford student. “Sure, it’s nice to make more money, but for me it was never about money.”
3) Making Up For Lost Time
The path from high school to college isn’t always a straight line, and many times students who are on that route are detoured by work or family commitments. Making the decision to return to school as an adult can be a life-changing experience.
“I have been procrastinating for many years,” said Narda Elizabeth Patino. “I think that now is the time for me.”
“I am going to school to finish what I started,” replied Lisa Foster. “Leaving things undone is the worst kind of regret.”
Many adult learners who said they’d been putting off school for too long added that their children would benefit from their success in more ways than one.
4) For Your Children
“I need to set an example to my 23-year-old son, so he too can pursue an education,” said student Narda Patino.
Students who became parents before they became graduates often mentioned their children as reasons to return to school.
“I want to set an example for my 16-year-old son,” student Rogina Gray-Bryant replied. “I hope to inspire him to do great things and do them no matter what obstacles he faces.”
Another student, Amanda Rousseau, wrote, “I decided to return to school to have a chance at creating a better life for my family and to prove to my son that anything is possible with hard work and the right attitude.”
5) To Be First In Your Family
Being the first in your family to earn a degree means you’ll set the standard for future generations, and it doesn’t matter what age you finish school.
Christina Bean, a student who is also a grandmother, said being the first in her family to earn her degree would change her life and theirs as well. And she wasn’t afraid to go for it even after she “failed” at high school.
“I’m going to school to show my grandson that working hard is worth it,” she said.
6) To Fulfill A Promise
Generations of parents who never had access to school have instilled upon their children the importance of going to college and earning a degree.
Student Melissa Midkiff shared her story of a loved one who passed away in hospice, and the promise she made to go to school and work toward improving the conditions for patients and families dealing facing similar struggles.
She now wants to become a patient advocate, saying, “I would love to help other families receive better care in the future.”
7) Because You’re Never Too Old
While an adult learner may feel out of place in a traditional college, online learning breaks down those barriers, creating opportunities for students of all ages. Many respondents admitted they felt “too old” to return to school at first, but their attitude quickly changed when they realized how much an education meant to their lives.
“I have a friend [say] ‘you’re not too old to start on your degree,’” said Knox JuAnita Durely Hill. “So, here I am today earning my BA in Early Education.”
Venicia Kane replied, “I went back to prove even ‘old mom’ – age 46 – could finish my first BA. I am now 52 and have my MBA.”
While many of the students gave similar reasons for returning to school, one overarching theme became apparent in the responses: the future. No one could predict how things were going to turn out with family or their career, but all of the students were confident they’d made the right decision to go back to school, no matter what may happen.
You can read the complete thread of responses on Ashford University’s Facebook page.
Written by Jason R. Latham, Content Manager for Bridgepoint Education
Going Back to School as an Adult Essay
1808 Words8 Pages
I do not believe the universe only knocks once, I believe it starts as a whisper and goes round and round till you get it. It is usually the quiet or the unexpected moments you hear it best, though still sometimes you might need several of those moments and a few reminders after that. It was in my most recent semester at school where I heard how imbalanced I truly was, and if I made it my mission to live my life in balance, to relax more and trust more, I will be more. I went back to school with the simple goal of getting my degree and moving ahead in my career. School, education and obtaining my degree were always important to me, since my profession requires a bachelor degree to qualify for national certification, it was a better…show more content…
I do not believe the universe only knocks once, I believe it starts as a whisper and goes round and round till you get it. It is usually the quiet or the unexpected moments you hear it best, though still sometimes you might need several of those moments and a few reminders after that. It was in my most recent semester at school where I heard how imbalanced I truly was, and if I made it my mission to live my life in balance, to relax more and trust more, I will be more. I went back to school with the simple goal of getting my degree and moving ahead in my career. School, education and obtaining my degree were always important to me, since my profession requires a bachelor degree to qualify for national certification, it was a better excuses than any to finally go to college and get the degree I had always wanted. As an adult student I put a lot of pressure on myself to do everything to the best of my ability, to keep the bar high and to go above and beyond what I even expected of myself; many times over extending my self and doing too much. This recent semester I had to take a class called the “Adult Learner.” My prejudgement of this class had me determine it was going to be easy, I am an adult and a learner, done. Upon entering this class I had two choice; I could either go through the motions, or use it as an opportunity to stress less and learn more. Since it is not like me to just go through the motions, it became, what I thought, was going to be a lesson in