No one ever said school stops at youth. Plenty of adults have gone back to school to get or complete their degrees. According to a study conducted by Champlain College, approximately 60 percent of adults have considered going back to school. But it’s not just the young and relatively young who want to go back to universities and colleges to receive their diplomas.
Older adults, people who are over the age of 65, are also expressing interest in returning to the halls of higher academia. If you live with or are an older adult, why should you consider going back to college?
Why Should Older Adults Get Advanced Degrees?
Thanks to advances in technology, it’s not easier than ever for older adults to earn a degree. Aside from exclusively online classes for bachelor’s degrees, you can now earn a doctorate through distance learning. But why should higher academia appeal to older adults?
Here are the top four reasons for older adults to go back to college.
- Keeps the Mind Active
Scientific studies have revealed that experience formal education settings help improve brain functions long after the fact. Going back to school, whether online or in person, can help keep older adults sharp and attentive. This is important especially given that people with advanced age are more susceptible to mental deterioration and senescence. But with lessons, homework and similar educational activities, you or an older adult you know can remain sharp as a tack for the foreseeable future.
- Improves Social Life
Aside from physical and mental ailments, older adults are also profoundly susceptible to loneliness and social isolation. This is aside from the restrictions imposed by the current pandemic upon those at high risk, such as older adults. Going back to school, even via online lessons, can help older adults reconnect with society in general. With plenty of glasses, group activities and similar endeavors, older adults can feel like they’re part of something else. They can make friends and form genuine connections to improve their social life.
- Opens Employment Opportunities
Older adults can face daunting financial problems which can largely stem from a lack of employment. Ageism is a rampant problem in the employment world but one that can be remedied by an advanced degree. Studies have shown that a bachelor’s degree or similar education credentials can help increase wages for people entering the employment pool. This can be instrumental in assuring an older adult’s financial security and their well-being.
Finally, older adults may choose to go back to college simply because they want to improve themselves. Perhaps your or someone you know wishes to learn more about art history or perhaps they’ve always wanted to have a degree that lets them teach crafts. Maybe they simply want to experience college. In any case, a return to academia is a laudable method for improving one’s self.
Major Hurdles for Older Adults and Education
Although older adults may be expressing more desire to enter higher academia, there are significant hurdles they continue to face. The primary hurdle is the financial inability to afford going to college in the first place. The government and other organizations occasionally sponsor the education of older adults, but majority of people are left out in the cold. Unless they have a large retirement fund or some other form of financial support, they must rely on other means to finance their studies.
There’s also the lack of opportunity in school that accept older adults. However, thanks to online classes and similar programs, universities are slowly becoming more accessible to the aging population.
Older adults should be welcomed to colleges and universities. The opportunities and benefits degrees and higher learning offer are too good to pass up. So the next time you look at a university class, don’t be surprised when you see a few older adults there.