If you have been reading the articles that we posted here on Senior Outlook Today, you know that being a retiree does not mean you stop being productive. There are so many things you can do in your retirement days, including traveling more and starting your own business venture.
In recent years, more seniors are returning to school and pursuing higher degrees. This trend is picking up traction, as there are more students aged 55+ today than there were five years ago. Some universities even have programs for seniors.
The real driving force behind this new trend, however, is the online degree. Top names like Baylor University are opening up their online programs to more students across the country, giving everyone – from professionals to seniors – a chance to go back to school.
There is no shortage of programs and degrees to choose from either. Before you start looking into different courses and degrees you can pursue, here is everything you need to know about going back to school as a retiree.
Why should you return to school?
Taking a course in a field that you like on its own is satisfying. It is a way to achieve more in life; a way that is now more accessible than ever. You no longer have to jump through hoops to enroll in programs from top universities and pursue degrees such as a nursing masters degree online.
Pursuing a higher degree is a great way to keep the mind sharp. You will be learning new skills and studying course materials as you pursue the degree of your dreams. You’ll start reading more and putting your experience to good use.
On top of that, going back to school is a great way to expand your personal and professional network. Even when you choose to study online, you can meet fellow online students – many of them younger than you – and widen your horizon in the process.
You can even return to a career – or start a new one – after completing the course. A graduate or postgraduate degree can help you secure a teaching position. The degree is valuable in today’s market, so you can return to work as an expert in your field once you complete the course.
What are the challenges?
Going back to school as a retiree has its challenges. Don’t think for a second that you will be treated differently just because you are a senior. Online programs from top universities follow the same strict standards as their offline counterparts, so you still need to perform well as a student to graduate.
For younger online students, time management is often a big hurdle. Since you are in your retirement, finding one or two hours every day for studying should not be a problem. You also have the freedom to study from anywhere as long as you are connected to the internet.
Even better, you can choose to pursue a degree while realizing other retirement dreams. I know a lot of retirees who are spending their time traveling more while still working towards earning a master’s degree from halfway across the world.
The programs themselves have enrollment requirements that you need to meet. If you want to pursue the aforementioned nursing master’s degree online, for example, you need to be a nurse practitioner who meets the course’s specific enrollment requirements.
Is it difficult to get started?
No; not at all. You’ll be surprised by how easy it is to find a good online course to enroll in. As mentioned before, more universities are opening their online programs to students from all parts of the country, so you have more courses to choose from right now.
Online courses are substantially more affordable than the equivalent offline programs, so tuition isn’t something you need to worry about either. Besides, there are grants, scholarships, and programs designed to help seniors return to school.
A good example is when you are interested in teaching after acquiring your master’s degree. Using the right scholarship, you can go back to school, earn a master’s degree, and start sharing your lifelong experience with younger students.
You also need to prepare yourself for the course, but this too is an easy task to complete. As long as you can allocate some time – and know how to stick to the schedule – you will have no trouble taking the course and pursuing the degree of your dream. It is never too late to study. The number of graduates who are in their retirement is already close to 10%, so you know there are plenty of opportunities for you to seize.