Going Back to School as a Mature Student

For many retirees and even pre-retirees, hitting the books again is both rewarding and enriching

By Katrina Caruso


With the New Year ahead, you may be reflecting on what you’d like to achieve in 2021—once the COVID pandemic lets us all get back to something like normal. Perhaps you’ve always wanted to go back to school to get that Master’s degree or learn something new.

The first factor to consider is money. There will be the costs of tuition, books, and course materials, so you need to think about where those expenses will fit in your budget.

Next is the question of the type of courses you want. Do you want to study at a college or university or at a trade school? Are you planning to work towards a diploma or a degree? Are you hoping to gain a competitive edge in your field or to change careers? Do you have a passion and a desire to explore it further? Many schools offer programs for continuing education, or you can simply apply as an independent student, which can allow you to learn without committing to a degree.

In addition to the experience of being in school and learning, the positive aspects of returning to school include tuition tax credits. Some employers may even offer to pay for or help you to take on additional courses while continuing to work full time or on a reduced workload.

You’ll also be attending school with a level of maturity and perspective that your younger colleagues will appreciate. Your years in the real world have given you learning experiences that will benefit you in terms of managing your time, stress, and responsibilities.

The prospect may seem intimidating, but it’s feasible if you’re ready for the challenge.

Photo: iStock/vm.