Working adults are returning to school in record numbers. With college enrollment up for students of all ages, the highest growth rate is within the 25 to 34-year-old range. The National Center for Educational Statistics reports that a number of students in the 25 – 34 age group has grown 52 percent from 1998 to 2012 and is projected to grow another 23 percent by 2023.
These students once classified as “non-traditional”, many with families and careers are emerging as the new face of today’s typical college student. Rich in life experience, they’re often juggling roles as caretakers, parents, spouses and full-time employees. They’re not afraid of hard work but have little time to spare. So when it comes earning their degree online, flexibility and convenience are paramount.
What’s fueling this surge in enrollment of working adults to online degree programs?
Increase Earning Ability
Logic states that the better educated you are, the easier it is to climb up the corporate ladder. And naturally, the higher you climb, the higher your salary. The need and desire for financial security is a fundamental reason that adults complete their college education. Whatever your motivation is: putting your kids through college, building a retirement nest egg, or simply fulfilling the desire for a better lifestyle, invest in yourself to achieve your dreams.
Gain A Competitive Edge
Dissatisfaction with a job or with the direction in which your career is headed can be a strong incentive for working adults to return to school. Many who earn their Associate’s, Bachelor’s or Master’s degree online find that it opens doors professionally, creating more opportunities for career advancement. Like Christina Owens, who after 13 years in the Financial Services industry, she suddenly found herself competing against others with the same experience PLUS a college degree. And she knew the time had come in her professional career to go back to school and finally earn her Bachelor’s Degree online.
Others return to school with plans for an entirely new profession in a new line of work. Whichever the case, a college degree cannot guarantee success and happiness, but it certainly is a step in the right direction.
Secure The Future
Is there such a thing as job security? Probably not, but it is possible to minimize the risk of unemployment. College-educated employees often best meet job expectations. This is particularly true of employees who have attended school as an adult. Why? In addition to the obvious knowledge gained (including keeping up with technology and other time-sensitive information), adult students have adopted a strong set of soft skills such as dependability, organization, and time management. As you work towards a degree and beyond, your education will keep you relevant. Should you find yourself in a job-hunting situation, be thankful for your improved resume and interviewing skills.
Set A Good Example
The role of parent, is a duty of love and dedication that deserves the very best version of you. What better way to demonstrate the importance of education to your children than by going back to school to earn a degree. With over 90% of US homes wired for the internet, working parents can attend class from home without sacrificing precious time with the family. Earning your degree as a working parent, sets an important example for your children and raises the bar for the entire family,
Or maybe your kids are grown, and begun building lives of their own. You’ve worked hard to provide every opportunity for them to succeed, including college. Now it’s time for you to seize the opportunity the opportunity for yourself.
Many adults find themselves completing their education once they have provided the same for their children. Lifelong learning has no expiration date. These parent are ready to finally “do something for me.” And earning their degree is the best way to make the most of this new phase of life.
Be The Hero of Your Own Story
Life is messy. The plans we had for the future when we were younger often get blown off course. One of the most meaningful ways to adjust your sails and get back on course is by returning to school and finally earning that your degree. Going back to school helps close the gap between who you are and who you want to be.
Although the rise in online education has offered major opportunities for adult students, it’s important to remember that not all online programs are created equal. If you’re interested in earning a real college degree that employers will respect, it’s important to choose an accredited online college. When researching online colleges, always look closely at their accreditation status and the organization providing the accreditation.