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Factors to consider if you're thinking about returning to study as an adult

If you’re an adult who is thinking about returning to study, whether it’s a short course, certificate, diploma or degree, know that you’re not alone. Here in the UK, more and more adults are returning to study, whether to advance their careers, help them to get a better job, or even to change careers altogether.

However, because adulthood can come with a range of commitments such as families and jobs that take up time, energy and money, there are several factors that you will need to take into account before enrolling. Here, in no particular order, are three key considerations:

  1. Budget

This is a major factor for many, and for good reason. Returning to study costs money. Luckily, there is a range of payment options out there including loans, scholarships and spreading payments over the duration of your programme.

  1. Timing

Studying is a big commitment that may require a good chunk of your time, so be prepared to make sacrifices. The good news is many courses these days are tailored to adult learners in terms of scheduling, so even if you have a full time job and a family to think about, you will be able to find something that’s for you. 

  1. Motivation

Understanding why you want to return to study is important, as your motivation is what will keep you going when things get challenging. Focussing on your goals will go a long way towards helping you to complete your course.

Here are some of the common reasons why adults return to study:

  1. Self-improvement

You want to increase your knowledge, which in turn will also improve your confidence and self-esteem. This can make you not only a better employee in the workplace, but a more confident person as well.

  1. Personal advancement

This is perhaps the most common reason why adults return to study. It might be a course that could help them to get a promotion in their workplace, or it might be a course that will keep them ahead of their competitors. If you’re not currently working, a course might provide you with a stepping stone to getting back into the workforce, or it might allow you to switch careers.

  1. Cognitive interest

Many adults choose to return to study because they’ve become bored with their current routine, whether at work or even in their personal lives. Learning is a great “escape” that may mentally stimulate and challenge you, and it can also inject fresh motivation and interest. For those who have always wanted to pursue a particular hobby or pick up a certain skill, returning to study as an adult is a great way to spend your free time.

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