So for about the past year or so I’ve really considered going back to school. After high school I was unfortunately a very lazy kid so school didn’t interest me much. I went straight to work and began my (now defunct) career in the restaurant industry.

Now that I am in a Monday through Friday job with a set schedule and off on weekends, I have a little more time to be thinking about stuff.

I’m trying to weigh the pros and cons. There are a ton of things to consider and many of them are, in my opinion, big considerations. I’ll try to organize my concerns the best I can.

Schedule Concerns

With my schedule the way it is, I definitely have more time than I used to. However, having a wife and two little girls I need to take care of also is a deciding factor.

In my opinion, I don’t have the time to go to school full time. Not only will I have to take most classes at night, but I will be getting quite a bit of homework as well. This will eat into weekend time with my family to where I may not have much time with them at all. The last thing I want to do is put us in a situation where I am never around to see my wife and kids like what was happening while I was in the restaurant industry.

Length of Time Concerns

Since I probably won’t be able to go to school full time, it may take me 5 years or more rather than the standard 4 to get a bachelor’s degree. At my age, I’m not sure if that is worth it. I haven’t been in school for about 14 years, so to start again now, I would be well on my way to 40 by the time I am finished.

Financial Considerations

Depending on where I go and what type of program I get into, there are definite financial considerations to consider. Some colleges are very expensive.

How much college is and how much I can afford will also be a determining factor in how long it will take to finish college. If time is a factor that would prevent me from finishing a bachelors program unless it’s 5 years down the road, cost may push that to 6 or more years.

Is Going Back to School Really Needed?

Based off of my long term goals and what I want to do for the remainder of my life, I’m trying to decide if an actual college is going to be worth it. Obviously for some occupations, a college degree isn’t necessary but can be highly beneficial. For other occupations it is an absolute requirement.

An alternative to a bachelor’s degree program would be a certificate program. This would allow me to focus on the skills I need to acquire to align with my goals. I can take targeted courses either at a college or online instead of doing a bachelor’s degree program. This wouldn’t be as valuable on a resume, but would definitely benefit me in the time department.

Narrowing it down further, I could take courses on only what is needed at a website like lynda.com. Online learning sites like these make me wonder if going back to school is really needed.

What Would You Do?

So there are some of the thoughts that go through my head as I consider whether going back to college is  really going to be beneficials. Like everything, there is definitely both a “Pros” and a “Cons” column.

Another thing I’ve wondered in passing is what it will do for my current job and what I want to be doing online with this blog. I’m sure it will help me to focus and be more engaged with what I do both online and at my job. However, I am very conscious of the fact that I do not want to be doing too any things at once for fear of burnout and lack of focus.

What would you do in my situation?

Have any of you successfully gone back to school in your 30’s?

What were some of your concerns and how did you end up dealing with them?

I’d really enjoy hearing from you on this one with any tips or suggestions you may have. Please, comment below.

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