Things to Consider When Going Back to School in Your 30s

Going back to school may feel daunting. You might feel as if you are too old. But the truth is with 34% of young adults living with their parents (pre-pandemic numbers), now might be the best time to brush up on your education.

There are so many myths surrounding a return to college when you are already 30. Here are some of the things you should know about going back to school in your 30s.

It’s Not Weird

Perhaps the biggest obstacle for many adults is feeling like that weird person on campus who never left. But the truth is 35% of the entire college population consists of adults who are older than the traditional leaving age.

These consist of working parents, veterans, and perpetual students. You do not need to worry about being an outcast or hanging out with a bunch of frat boys.

What is Your Purpose?

Many agree that it is better to enter tertiary education at an age where you have a better idea of where you want to go in life. At this age, you must have a plan because college is a big investment of time and money.

Will going back to school help your career? Are you looking to change your career? Did you go straight into the workforce after high school?

These are all valid questions you need to ask yourself.

Can You Strike the Balance?

Most adult students cannot dedicate themselves to full-time study. They usually have to juggle work and familial responsibilities simultaneously.

Before enrolling, consider whether you will be able to strike the balance. Although colleges like Fresno, Baltimore, and Berkley do cater to adults through online courses, this is far from the reality for every college.

Does Digital Learning Suit You?

Due to the aforementioned need to juggle multiple responsibilities, prospective students in their 30s must think about whether digital learning suits them. For many adult students, this is the only way they can go to college in the first place.

Digital learning means no lockers for college, no student parties, and no (or very little) in-person learning. If you are interested in the full college experience, or you need in-person learning, it may be difficult for you to make college work in your 30s.

Can You Afford It?

Everyone knows US colleges are expensive. However, adults can still qualify for financial aid via the Federal government.

It is also possible to win a scholarship. Although some of your grades may have been attained too long ago, a semester or two of good grades could win you a scholarship for the following academic year.


Enrolling in college in your 30s is possible, and, if anything, is becoming more common. Think about the purpose of going back to college and whether it is a worthwhile investment.

The chances are you cannot dedicate yourself to your studies full-time, so you need to think about whether you can manage your family, study, and work all at the same time.

James Farner

James Farner is an author who has been writing professionally for eight years. For four of those years, he has been traveling full-time. So far he has visited 63 countries on five continents.

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