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Published:August 25th, 2009 08:54 EST
How Old is Too Old to Return to School? Or, Is There Really an Age Limit?

How Old is Too Old to Return to School? Or, Is There Really an Age Limit?

By Ron G Anselm


One question I have always heard throughout the years is what is the age limit to go back to school? The question was not directed at me but always seemed to come up at work, social events, and in general. The education craze has been up and down in this country for the past decade. A great deal of people goes back to school when either they are laid off from their position, or when the economy is down.

     More and more organizations are making having a college degree or at least some college as part the organizations job requirements. And having a college degree makes you more of an asset to the organization. 

     At one time in my life, I thought that with all of my military experience I have would substitute for having a college degree. I was wrong. Although having that military experience is a huge benefit and asset to any employer and is what almost every employer is looking for when it comes to job experience, you also need that college degree.

     As I worked my past positions with my past organizations, I succeeded in my jobs I held but always felt that I was lacking more to not only make me more successful in those past positions but to make me more successful in life. A great deal of positions held by people today who do not have a college degree may not last long. Organizations are looking to fill future positions with future talent and that future talent will more than likely have to have a college degree.

      Even employees that have been with organizations a long time may stand a chance to be given an option to take an early out because they do not have a college degree. I have seen this happen in more than one instance.

     It does have to do with the job description and what is required for both the knowledge base of the position and the work experience to determine if you need a degree or not, but that may be for your current position not future positions.

     Someone who works in a warehouse and pulls orders all day will more than likely not be required to be a college graduate but a purchasing agent may have to have a degree. I know since I have been in management over twenty years that everyone of my past management positions have required a degree or some college. But of course most management jobs do require an applicant to have a degree or some college, especially if they are hired right off the street and not within the internal organization.

     You also have the benefit of making more money with a college degree. Statistics show that college graduates can make sufficiently more money over a lifetime than someone with just a high school diploma. Most employers will offer you a higher salary when you are hired with a college degree.

     I made the decision to go back to college in 2003 and graduated with a Bachelor`s Degree in Business management in 2007. It was a great decision on my part and has given me a sort of peace of mind to know that I am now qualified for any position, or at least most positions. People need to realize that once you get your college degree that you have sort of job security in case your current position ever is eliminated you will be qualified for other positions. Having a degree also puts you in a different job category when applying in the job market. You have the applicants and potential candidates that have a degree and the ones that do not have a degree.

     When I went back to college, there were adults varying of all ages. I even had one guy who was almost seventy-years old in one of my classes who was there to finish his degree. I also learned that keeping your mind active all of your life is a health benefit. It is called what is known as, Lifelong Learning and it is also fun to be able to learn about new and interesting subjects you never thought existed and meet new people.

     Going back to school as an adult and raising a family, having a full-time job and many other personal commitments takes persistence and drive with motivation but is also a self-satisfying accomplishment when you go through college and then graduate with that degree in hand. That was probably one of the greatest feelings I have ever felt. I felt like I accomplished a world of work when I graduated college.

     Depending on the degree you pursue when you go back to school will determine the types of classes and in what subjects those classes will be for your curriculum that make up your degree. Many of those classes you may have to take may be in subjects you are not particular interested in but you have to take that class you may not be interested in to qualify you for graduation and your degree.

     Take the embrace " attitude when taking classes in subjects you don`t care for because it makes it much easier to learn those subjects if you take this type of attitude than the I don`t want to learn this " attitude. My attitude is that I have a mind that is like a sponge, it wants to soak up knowledge and know about everything imaginable. I take an interest in every subject there is and an attitude to master those subjects. 

     College has taught me many things about business, psychology, accounting, and extensive other subjects that I have used and applied towards my current job. Also, I have learned how to open and run my own business which is a valuable skill to know.

     A lot of skills you learned back in grammar school, junior high and high school can be put towards a lot of the skills you need to learn in college. One example is math. A lot of those math formulas you learned when you still had braces can be used towards figuring out college math.

     I put a lot of those formulas I learned in grade school towards college algebra and trigonometry which gave me sort of an edge since I didn`t have to learn the college formulas from scratch. And we know in math there is more than one way to get the same answer for most math formulas.

     Another valuable business skill I learned in college was how to write speeches and give speeches in front of the class and then sometimes hundreds of people. I know how it feels to go in front of many people to give a speech and have found out it is not really that terrifying at all to do public speaking.

     When I looked last, public speaking was ahead of dying for most people in the category of the things most people do not want to do and are afraid of. Giving a speech in front of hundreds or more people is actually fun. You have to really rehearse the speech and know the speech like the back of your hand. It`s like anything, the more you have perfect practice, the better you become at it. The point is that you learn a lot in college that you can use in your current career and even your personal life and college will give you the degree and help you achieve better job security.

     I know college tuition is very expensive and does have a lot of parameters that determine the cost of your education. This will also depend on the school you choose to go to for the quality of your college education. Like anything else, before you make a big decision and commitment, do research on different colleges and the curriculums and programs they offer. You don`t necessary have to physically go to the campus to go to your classes, many colleges offer on-line college and flexibility in your work and personal schedule.

     When I went back to college, I physically went to my classes on campus for the first year and then finished my degree on-line, so since I relocated during that time frame in college I was able to stay with the same school and finish my degree without having to go to another school and start over on their program and curriculum.

     Going back to college may seem intimidating to some people, I know it did me at first. But once you start your classes, meet your fellow students, and see you grades start in the right direction, the fear of going back to school turns to enjoyment and your confidence turns to gold as you see yourself succeeding in a new venture and path you never went down before.

     To answer the question, how old is too old to return to school? Or, is there really an age Limit? No, there is no age limit to bettering yourself and exploring new opportunities and to take the lifelong learning approach. Going back to school at any age will not only keep your mind active all your life but will give you that lifelong sense of personal fulfillment. More and more people are working longer and having a college degree helps keep them work in their golden years and helps them achieve their personal and lifelong goals.