Taking the time to get your education is never a bad decision. Even if you're a bit older than current college students, you will still fit in with the growing trend of mid-lifers going back to school. Here's what you need to know about returning to college during middle age.
Meet the admissions requirements. If you plan to go back to college or university later in life, you will have to go through the same application process as those years younger than you. The competition will be the same. Your application needs to be submitted on time with proper documentation, and you need to meet all of the admission requirements before you're accepted. It will take months after you apply before you hear back from colleges about your acceptance. But if you receive a large envelope in the mail, you can be pretty sure that you've been accepted. Start packing your backpack because you're going back to school in your middle age!
Get to know your classmates. Even though you may have a few years over your classmates, you don't need to segregate yourself from the crowd. You'll likely find that there is a large middle-aged crowd at your college that is already accepted by the masses. You'll have to be working among these people for the duration of your education, doing projects and studying together. So you might as well dive in and get to know the younger crowd. Participate in ice breakers, go to introductory classes, and do all that you can to immerse yourself among the younger generation. Don't let your age deter you from partaking in college life.
Make sure you make time for your family life. When you return to college during middle age, you will probably be leaving a spouse and children at home. You'll be faced with a complicated juggling act while you're in school. Your family member's lives will continue as normal, except you'll be driving to school every day instead of work. When you come home at night, make sure you take time to enjoy and appreciate your family. Let them know they are still your priority. And it's also important to sit down with your family and discuss how things may be a bit different while you're back in college. You'll need more quiet time alone, you'll be studying instead of playing with them all the time, and you might even have to stay at school extra long some days. If you can bring your family to an understanding of what support you need from them while you're at college, you'll have a much easier time finding success at college when you're middle-aged.
Remember how to study. It's probably been years since you've had to study for anything. But college isn't going to grant you a ‘get out of your exam free' card. You will be required to study just as hard as all of your classmates, whether you're 18, 38 or 68 years old. Take some time to relearn some helpful study techniques. Put time into making quality notes during each of your college classes, and make the effort to be a good student. Hard work, dedication and a little sacrifice will pay off in the end when you graduate from college with a degree when you're middle aged.