For various reasons, a lot of mature aged people want to go back to study.
For some, it’s about improving their career prospects and the possibility of income rise.
Others it’s about learning and wanting to change career direction. Or a combination of all the above.
I am not going to lie, going back to study is a big one. There are some disadvantages to going back to study as a mature-aged student.
However, nothing is insurmountable and these disadvantages can be overcome.
So what are the disadvantages of studying as a mature-aged student? After some careful consideration, here some disadvantages
1. Studying at College is expensive
2. Studying consumes your free time
3 Studying is mentally draining
4 Studying can distract you at work
5 Mature Aged students look old
1. Studying at college is expensive
Finances are a challenge for all students, regardless of age. One of the main reasons for mature-aged students dropping out of college and not completing their course is due to financial hardship.
To start off with Tuition fees are not cheap. Sadly, each year cost of tuition fees goes up, more than the cost of inflation. Sometimes twice or three times as much.
Depending on the university and course, fees can range between $10k to $20k per annum.
At the end of the course, you not only receive a certificate of completion, but also a lump sum fee accumulated over the years of studying. This is unless you have paid your fees upfront.
The cheaper alternative is Community Colleges, whose tuition fees are around $2.5k per annum.
Most colleges offer financial grants and scholarships, and if you are the right person for their offers, you can get them without having to pay any extra fees.
Going back to study full-time than part-time will have more of an impact on your life.
Studying full time will mean that you are unable to work full time, meaning you will forfeit your full-time regular paycheck.
Studying full-time with no regular income to support you, you will need to rely on your savings for at least 3 years.
Obtaining a part-time or casual job can help supplement your income or bridge the gap in your expenses.
Therefore, studying full time will require adjusting to working full time. This obviously puts on hold your career and removes or at least restricts your income.
So if you are looking to swap from full-time work to full-time study you will need to factor this into your living expenses and budget.
2. Studying consumes your free time
Let’s face it, studying will place additional pressure on your time. This especially the case if you working full time during the day, then studying at night.
Weekends, where you hang out with friends and family, will be impacted. It doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t see them ever but on a much-reduced basis.
It also means no late-night party and clubbing into the early mornings.
If you have a partner or kids this means having to plan separate time away to focus on study.
To overcome this challenge, speak to your friends and family. Let them know your intent to study and the impact it will have on your spare time.
This will get them on board, providing you encouragement, boosting your confidence. They may even offer you support to get through your course.
3. Studying is mentally draining
Not only is there pressure studying places on your time, but late nights studying, cramming for exams is mentally draining.
Studying can be all-consuming when all you think about is studying.
All this pressure can lead to anxiety. This can impact your home life and relationship with your partner, friends, family, and even relationships at work.
To overcome this you need to map out a study routine. Highlight when you are planning on studying. Discuss this with your partner and even family or friends if necessary.
If you start to feel overwhelmed or stressed, best to take action early than let these emotions escalate.
Go for a walk, do some exercise, and perform some meditation/mindfulness exercises.
Play with the dog or kids, whatever you can to relieve the stress. However, don’t let this become an excuse not to study or let it distract you from doing so.
4. Studying can distract you at work
Trying to find the balance between working full time and studying part-time can be a challenge. They both compete for your attention and time.
They can both become conflicting. Just because you are studying part-time doesn’t mean you can stop performing at work. So trying to find the balance is important
It is also important to let your work and manager know that you’re studying.
Get them on board to support you in your studies. If they are on board they are more likely to support you with your endeavors to study.
By being open with your work, they might provide you with additional study time off. They might even subsidize your tuition fees. Some organizations pay subject fees in full if successfully passed.
Going back to study full time and stopping work effectively puts on hold your work career.
So if you do leave work, you effectively missing out on any promotions and bonuses.
On the other side of the coin, once you have complete your studies you should be in a better position to snare a better job or that promotion and pay rise that you have been seeking.
5. Mature Aged students look old
Looking old in a sea of young students is one of the biggest fears for Mature Aged students.
Attending lectures and you’re the only one with grey hairs and wrinkles can be a concern.
Trying to build a connection with students many years younger can feel like a problem, making you feel uncomfortable.
But let’s be honest, no one really cares that you are a mature-aged student. The only person conscious of age and feeling uncomfortable is you, the mature-aged student.
So don’t be worried about standing out.
Going back to college as a mature-aged student can be a big shock and take some adjustment.
Both financially and socially
Financially it is likely you will need to make some adjustments or some financial planning before going back to college
Socially, studying will occupy your time. Reducing the time normally spent with family and friends.
Again, this can be overcome by communicating your plans with family and friends – seeking their support.