New trend is for going back to school at any age

With some industries struggling during this economic climate, many people are looking at returning to school. Whether they return because they wish a career change or simply feel more education will provide better job prospects, many older adults are taking this route.

Forget what you think about going to school—it’s very different when you go back as a mature student. For one thing, the prerequisites are different for mature students. “Mature students” are defined as having been out of school for at least one year. You may simply need to write a general entrance exam or show that you have completed specific courses. Even if school was a challenge to you previously, this may no longer be the case—you have lived, learned, worked, and applied various skills. Your motivation is very different. Your priorities are clearer. You know the value of an education and you know what it takes to succeed in the work world.

For some adults, being laid off has given them the “freedom” to dream and distance themselves from a job they really did not enjoy. Many adults have worked in jobs because of availability, not personal interest or best fit.

A number of adults considering a return to school to school admitted they probably could have done better in school if they had applied themselves but their focus simply wasn’t on academics. Years ago older students might have been the exception but today this group has a strong presence in most institutions.

Institutions, too, are catering to older students and distance learning is very popular. With established homes and families, “going back to school” is often best done via the internet. “Webinars” (on line seminars) are popular and some institutions offer a tutor on line or ask that a small portion of the training take place at the institution—sometimes just an occasional weekend.

School means less family time and maybe some guilt, but focusing on the ultimate benefits to the family can help. Thinking about “realizing that lost dream” and doing something about it can be empowering and energizing. There is certainly a lot to think about and we can help. Our publication, The Adult Back to School Planner can help. Pick one up at our office or call us and we’ll mail you a copy. Or go on line to and click on publications.

We are Alberta Employment and Immigration and are located on Main Street in Stettler. Call us at 403-740-4320.