Head Back to College, Are You Crazy?

Regardless of your age, it’s a safe bet to say that you are not ready for that rocking chair, whether it be physical or metaphorical. Whether you’re still working or have already retired, it’s becoming common practice to take advantage of local college classes.

Educational pursuits of some Boomers center around taking courses for a new career, or even to finish up a degree started once upon a time. However, the vast majority are taking classes for fun and personal enrichment. Often times, these enrichment classes can cost little or close to nothing.

Degree and Certificate Programs

When walking along campus at night, you will find a lot of teens and mid-twenties but surprisingly there also seems to be a large number of older adults who have gone back to school to become dental hygienists, x-ray technicians, medical assistants or to pursue similar careers.

There has also been an increase in Baby Boomers who decided to go back to school to get advanced degrees in their current field to keep up with new educational demands of the times or even to get the necessary training to start a brand new career. Some examples are those who enrolled in programs to become chefs, computer technicians, and tax consultants, often as second career choices.

If you have not retired yet, and you are looking to start a new career or you are hoping to advance in your current job, going back to college is a smart first step towards reaching your goals.

You can expect to pay tuition for these types of classes and will have additional expenses for books and materials. However, if this is to improve your skills for your current job, your employer may help cover some of these costs. If you are going back to school in order to change career, you should be eligible for a student loan through Sallie Mae that will help you cover all or most of the costs.

Enrichment Programs for Fun and Enlightenment

A large number of Baby Boomers are also signing up for free or low-cost Emeritus programs through the colleges in their communities. Many community colleges and private universities, as well as online universities, offer local senior citizens the opportunity to participate in a wide variety of educational experiences. These classes are offered free or for a very low fee. The choices available may include sitting in on lectures, auditing classes, or participating in programs that have been specifically designed for senior citizens.

For example, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Arizona State University offers university-quality, non-credit courses for students 50+ years old. There are no tests, no grades, and no educational requirements for these classes. Better yet, it’s only $20 per semester fee and only $10 in the summer! The classes range from history to art, Philosophy to travel, current events and more. In addition to these classes, you receive many member benefits like discounted admission to museums, venues, centers for the arts, ballet performances and more across the state. You can certainly find something that will appeal to your unique interests that’s also kind to your pocketbook.

Advantages of Going Back to College

Whether you are going back to school in order to improve your job opportunities or to enhance your health and enjoyment of life, remember that you are never too old to become a student. People have been known to continue to take college classes well into their 90's.

Those of you who choose to take a free or low-cost community course will discover that these programs are a great way to meet new people with common interests, stay physically fit, and keep your mind functioning at its best.

In addition, it is healthy for everyone to pursue their own interests after they retire. Taking a few classes will prevent you from becoming too bored, too much of a recluse, or from driving your family crazy with expectations of entertaining you. It’s never too late to grow your mind.