How Does Society Feel About Adults Going Back To School?
The decision to go back to college later in life is often made with excitement, anticipation and a desire to improve oneself. However, one’s desire to pursue a higher education isn’t always met with the same feelings from family, friends and employers.
The good news? The success of non-traditional universities has demonstrated that for adults earning their degrees later in life, the positives far outweigh any perceived negatives (Stanistreet, 2010; Willmott, 2010).
Make time for school, maximize family time
Family members may harbor concern that quality time with their college-bound loved one will suffer. Of course, there’s no denying that going back to school can introduce changes that affect the family—from adjusting the household budget to accommodate tuition costs, to finding the right balance between family time and study time, to adjusting sleep habits.
However, many students often find that the demands of school can actually become a motivating factor to make time with family more special.
Throughout the process of going back to school, students are developing the wisdom to help them better balance work, family and school responsibilities because they’re forced to optimize their time (Bjerkaker, 2010).
Incentivize employees, encourage loyalty
Some employers may express doubts or concerns about the potential impact that going back to school can have on college-bound employees’ work quality, job focus or dedication.
But many companies put a positive spin on the situation. They recognize the benefit of employees going to college and learning new strategies and ideas to help strengthen the company.
Some have created partial or full tuition reimbursement programs for employees who maintain a minimum GPA in an area of study related to their work field. In fact, such incentives encourage workers to be more loyal to their employer for demonstrating interest in their educational needs and helping to pay for the degree (Willmott, 2010).
Return to school, gain new friends
Like family members, friends grow accustomed to spending time with each other. So anything that can potentially upset that social dynamic—including going back to school—can be met with skepticism or resentment by those who aren’t as supportive or understanding of the matriculating friend.
However, the upside of returning to school is that students will invariably meet new friends in their classes and learning teams who share similar priorities.
Change can be good
Change is imminent—and with any change comes positive and negative experiences. Early on the changes may appear negative, but adjusting to the new responsibilities and schedules over time can yield a positive outcome that can benefit everyone in the end.
Bjerkaker, S. (2010, January). Untitled. Adults Learning, 21(5), 29.
Stanistreet, P. (2010, January). Untitled. Adults Learning, 21(5), 2.
Willmott, R. (2010, February). Lifelong learning at the heart of all we do. Adults Learning, 21(6), 24-26.