The Baby Boomer’s Guide to Going Back to College
Many Baby Boomers – members of that big population bulge of Americans who were born between 1946 and 1964 – are now making major transitions in their lives. And many of them are thinking about going to college...
- Bob B., age 59, enjoyed a long and successful career in the Army. He recently retired, and would now like to start a second career as a teacher. “I actually earned a business degree more than 30 years ago,” Bob says, “and now I want to complete the courses I need so that I can start teaching. It would mean a lot to me.”
- Jeanne F., age 49, just sent her youngest daughter off to college. Now, she would like to finish up her undergraduate degree and then go on to seminary and become a minister. “It’s my time now,” she says, “and I am going to make it happen.”
- Monica, age 64, wants to go back to college to earn a degree, just because she has always wanted to do so. “Years ago I put my education on hold to support my husband and raise a family,” she says, “and now I want to go back as a matter of pride and to learn as much as I can about Europe and art and music – everything I missed before. I want to soak up knowledge like a sponge!”
As Bob, Jeanne and Monica think about going back to college, they could be facing an issue that Monica describes when she says, “I don’t want to be `that old lady’ who finds herself in a classroom full of teenagers.”
If you are a Baby Boomer who shares that concern, we have a little advice for you. Don’t hesitate because of your age. First of all, there are plenty of adult students in the classrooms of many American colleges these days, and you will not look or feel out of place. Plus, you actually enjoy some significant advantages that aren’t shared by college students aged 18-22 . . .
- You have plenty of real-world life experience on your side. In other words, you possess the kind of maturity that few youngsters have. That translates into great learning skills. You already know how to juggle multiple priorities and tasks, how to confront stressful situations like exams, and how to listen effectively. Those abilities will help you re-enter the classroom confidently.
- You have had life experiences that can earn you college credits. The College Board offers two programs to help you do it – the Advanced Placement (AP) program and the College-Level Examination Program (CLEP).
- Online courses can help you get started right now, without going through a lengthy traditional college application process. If you are a Baby Boomer, online courses were not around back when you were going to college or starting your professional life. But they are available today, and they offer an ideal and cost-effective way to jump-start your college experience. They also help you explore college majors without making a tremendous commitment of money or time – whether you are interested in going back to college to major in mathematics, psychology, healthcare, or another subject.
So Mr. or Mrs. Boomer, what is holding you back? If you are thinking of going back to college, there has never been a better time.