People often don’t talk about their unfinished degrees, but leaving college is more common than you might realize. According to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, 40 million Americans are college “stop-outs” who have left school without completing a degree. If you’re part of this group, you’ve probably considered returning to college. But re-enrolling can come with a few challenges, like paying tuition and balancing homework with family obligations. So, is going back to school worth it?
Going back to college may give you the credentials and knowledge you need to develop professionally. Re-enrolling also provides personal benefits like helping you feel more confident. If you’re still on the fence, we review the top things you need to consider to figure out if returning to school is right for you.
5 Reasons Why Going Back To School as an Adult IS Worth It
People return to school for many reasons, but is it worth going back to college? Here are five benefits of completing your education.
1. Changing or Advancing Your Career
A recent survey by Monster.com discovered that a staggering 96% of workers plan to search for a new job in 2023. If you’re ready to make a change, completing a college degree can help you transition to a better career.
Many people return to college to explore an area related to their passions. For example, science lovers could get a biology degree to help them land a dream job as a laboratory technician or science educator.
A college education also allows you to learn new skills that can open a new career path or help you get promoted at your current job. You could strengthen your critical analysis and mathematical skills with a business or finance degree or learn about the latest software while studying computer science.
2. Increasing Your Income Potential
Are you spending more time checking your bank account and worrying about your budget? According to a 2023 poll by NORC at the University of Chicago, 50% of Americans who earn $50,000 or less report that their finances are a significant source of stress.
The potential to earn a higher salary is one of the biggest advantages of going back to school as an adult. The National Center for Education Statistics breaks down median salaries by education level:
- High school diploma: $32,500
- Associate degree: $45,000
- Bachelor’s degree: $61,600
As this data demonstrates, college graduates enjoy a higher average salary and more financial security.
3. Achieving Personal, Educational, and Career Goals
Returning to college can help you accomplish your personal goals. Maybe you want to inspire your children or friends to work hard academically, or perhaps you’ve always fantasized about seeing yourself in a graduation cap and gown. A college degree can make these dreams a reality.
Going back to school also gives you credibility and skills, which can help you achieve your career goals. You could qualify for new career options that require a degree or gain valuable professional experience that leads to career advancement.
4. Setting Yourself Apart From Others in the Job Market
According to Cengage Group’s 2022 Graduate Employability Report, 62% of employers require a degree for entry-level jobs. Earning an undergraduate degree improves your resume and helps you make a strong impression on potential employers who prioritize education.
5. Challenging Yourself To Continue Learning
Finally, going back to school lets you challenge yourself in the best way. It’s easy to get caught up in a boring daily routine as an adult and start to forget what you learned at school. College classes allow you to exercise your brain and get outside your comfort zone.
Important Things To Consider When Deciding Whether To Go Back to School
Returning to college is a huge decision. Here are a few things to consider if you’re thinking about going back to finish what you started.
The cost of college has soared in the last few years, leading many to wonder, is getting a degree worth it? In 2023, the Education Data Initiative estimates that the average in-state student will pay $9,678 for tuition at a four-year public college and $3,501 for a two-year college.
Fortunately, many adult college students qualify for financial assistance. For instance, the Complete 2 Compete (C2C) Grant offers a renewable $1,000 grant each semester for adult students who return to college in Mississippi. You could also be eligible for assistance from the government or school-specific scholarships. These resources can make college more affordable.
Balancing Your Responsibilities
College is a huge time commitment. You may need to commute across town to class, do homework every night, and spend hours studying. Balancing these academic responsibilities with family and work obligations can quickly become overwhelming.
If you’re concerned about balancing school with the rest of your life, look for a college that offers flexible courses. You might be able to take most of your classes online or complete your work asynchronously so that you can fit your schoolwork into your schedule more easily.
Available Support Services
According to the Lumina Foundation’s Persevering To Completion study, 53% of returning college students reported that campus academic support services were very helpful for their success. Choosing a college with a broad range of resources can help you overcome challenges. For example, many schools have free resume workshops and tutoring services. These resources can help you get the most out of your degree.
Before diving back into college, it’s important to assess whether you need a degree for career growth. According to Cengage, 35% of college graduates believe employers care more about certifications and training credentials than degrees. These options are often less expensive and time-consuming than a degree, but they might not offer the same benefits, like a salary boost.
What Careers Are Worth Going Back to School for in Mississippi?
What are the best degrees worth going back to school for? According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, here are ten of the most lucrative degree programs and their median wages for mid-career professionals:
- Chemical Engineering: $120,000
- Computer Engineering: $114,000
- Aerospace Engineering: $112,000
- Computer Science: $105,000
- Economics: $100,000
- Construction Services: $100,000
- Pharmacy: $100,000
- Finance: $100,000
- Business Analytics: $99,000
- International Affairs: $86,000
However, earning potential isn’t the only sign of a degree worth getting. Choosing a major that aligns with your interests and strengths is also essential.
C2C Helps Mississippi Adult Students Go Back to School and Earn Their Degree
Deciding to complete your degree can be exciting but scary. You probably have a lot of questions, like: Can I really afford to finish my education? How can I graduate as quickly as possible? Are there any resources available for older students like me?
C2C is here to help with all these concerns and more. We provide Mississippi student aid for returning adults ready to finish their degrees. You’ll meet with a C2C Coach to map out the quickest path to graduation and share resources. Plus, you could receive a $1,000 grant each semester to help pay for tuition and fees at any Mississippi community college or public university. The best part? All our services are free, and you never have to repay your grant.
Fill out our simple survey to see if you qualify for C2C.