Tuesday, Feb 22, 2022
Returning to college as an adult learner poses a unique set of challenges. Ease your mind by asking yourself these questions to guide your decision.
Deciding to venture to college as an adult learner is a big decision, but one that could greatly benefit your career and life moving forward. We’ve compiled a few questions adult students should ask themselves to help make the decision about continuing their education.
What are my goals?
Before getting started, what is your purpose for going back to school? Are you looking to advance in your current role? Increase your job security? Switch careers? Looking to discover something new or study a subject of interest? For personal achievement or to lead by example for your family? Taking the time out to determine your focus before getting started will ultimately make navigating your academic journey easier.
However, if you’re unsure of where to begin, even before you apply to Rider, you’ll have full access to a continuing education advisor who can discuss your current skills, areas of interest or career aspirations to help determine program options and ease uncertainty early on. Depending on your situation, an advisor can also work with you to develop a customized education plan based on your goals.
For those who have already completed some college coursework, instead of completely starting over, you can also work with an advisor to find out how your credits can be applied towards earning a Rider degree with a free, no-obligation transcript evaluation.
Will I have enough time?
The amount of time it takes to earn a college degree is a top concern for many. While it is important to weigh your options before committing, continuing education programs are designed for adult learners, with flexibility at the forefront.
The continuing education programs at Rider are structured to help busy adult learners balance their studies with their commitments. To fit varying schedules, we offer full-time, part-time, 100% online or hybrid (a mix of online and in-person) study options. Adult students can also benefit from evening or daytime courses depending on their schedule.
In addition, opportunities may be available to accelerate your degree. You may be eligible to earn credit for prior learning — and minimize your time in the classroom, by taking a college-level exam in a particular subject area. Our counselors will guide you through the process and recommend what test(s) fits best within your program of study.
Can I afford to go back to school?
Making the decision to invest in your college education can be intimidating. As an adult learner, the concerns are often greater due to increased life responsibilities. Though it is natural to be concerned about whether college costs can fit within your budget, there are several options available to help adult learners finance their education.
Scholarships and grants are not limited to traditional undergraduate students. You can take advantage of a variety of scholarships designated for continuing education students. Rider also offers several scholarships for veterans, military service members and their beneficiaries to help bridge the financial gap.
Continuing education students can also pursue their program of choice (full-time or part-time) at a per credit rate with the option to participate in a deferred payment plan. In some cases, students may also be eligible to receive tuition benefits through their employers.
Will I have support?
Returning to school as an adult can be challenging, but with the right support, it’s one you can tackle head-on. Building a solid support system of trusted family, friends and colleagues is important to your future success.
At Rider, we recognize the importance of non-traditional students having extra layers of support. Starting day one, our admission counselors are here to help with everything from credit evaluation to determining your academic timeline to registering for classes. Additionally, our financial aid advisors will guide you through applying for scholarships or grants and share information about additional financial resources you may be eligible for.
Once you’re a student, Rider provides adult learners with various resources including free tutoring and career and development services. You’ll also have access to our Student Navigation Office and be assigned to a dedicated coach who is available to offer guidance during your time at Rider both in-person and virtually.
Not to mention, once you’ve graduated, you won’t be alone. You’ll join a powerful and vast network of alumni who are always available to provide help or advice.
Why should I go back to school?
Deciding to go to college as an adult learner takes strategic research and planning. However, once you’ve developed a tangible pathway for your education, it just might be the best decision you’ve ever made.
Benefits of earning your degree could include taking your career, whether new or existing, to the next level, expanding your earning potential, improving employability and increasing your skills. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, workers with a bachelor’s degree had median weekly earnings of $1,305 in 2020, compared with $781 for those with a high school diploma.
The advantages of earning your degree also extend beyond your career. It can enhance your quality of life, happiness and build your overall knowledge. You may discover a new passion, develop an existing one or gain healthy habits that will improve your daily routine. The potential for personal growth is often the most rewarding part of your college experience.
Though we don’t know where your journey may lead, one thing is for certain: It is never too late to go back to school.
Rider’s continuing education programs
We understand that taking the first step to returning to school may be difficult. However, once you see what your education can help you do, it just might be the best decision you’ve ever made. Rider University offers flexible and affordable pathways that allow you to begin or complete your college degree, prepare for an advanced degree or grow your knowledge for personal enrichment.