With the job market changing at a whirlwind speed, many people are considering going back to school and changing their careers. But what if you’re 50?
Is going to graduate school at 50 worth it? Yes, it is. Whether you want to reinvent yourself with a new career or invest some time to improve your knowledge at your current job, it’s always worth it to learn. There are many new programs available and benefits for older students, so it’s a good idea to take advantage of those.
But before you sign up for graduate school, there’s a lot to consider. From what you want to learn to what requirements you have to fulfill, it’s good to take everything into account. Read on to learn more about going to graduate school at 50 and why it’s worth it.
What Are The Requirements To Get Into Graduate School?
Before you decide which school you want to go to, you should consider what the requirements might be. Every program will be different, but this is easily checked by doing some research. So, if you already have some ideas on what you want to study, round up the options, and list their requirements.
Some programs won’t need you to do much while some will. But, in general, most schools will require:
- A filled-out application form
- A personal statement from you
- Test scores from standardized tests
- Letters of recommendation
You’ll need a bachelor’s degree as well and possibly a minimum GPA. Other requirements will vary from school to school. You may need to volunteer, take some extra classes, etc.
A big part of any application is your Graduate Record Exam (GRE), which might be even more important than other elements since you’ve spent some time away from school. They show your potential for learning further.
Pros and Cons of Going To Graduate School at 50
You might also want to know what are the pros and cons of going back to school at 50. While it’s never too late to learn and invest in yourself, you may find that some of the pros or cons outweigh the rest, and this might affect your decision.
Here are some pros:
- College will improve your skills. If you want to improve yourself, graduate school may be the best place to do so. You’ll get better at what you do or at what you’re passionate about. The knowledge you’ll receive will be updated for modern times, and this will help you advance in your career.
- It will be easier for you to find a job. With a fresh graduate’s degree, you’ll have much higher chances of finding a good job, especially if you haven’t had one in a while. If you already have a job, you can expect a higher position.
- You can explore your true passions. College students often choose a career path that isn’t really something they are passionate about, especially out of fear of unemployment. However, being mature gives you a chance to explore what you truly love to do — and understand what it is that you really like.
- The schedule might be more flexible than you think. As a mature student, you have more opportunities to adapt the schedule to your needs. Most schools understand the challenges that come with being an adult at graduate school, and they will be open to accommodate your needs.
Here are some cons:
- Graduate school may be expensive. Depending on the program you choose, graduate school can mean more expenses for you. The costs of education are higher now than ever, and this involves tuition as well as other expenses. However, you may be able to get some help like a scholarship.
- Learning takes time. If you thought that learning was difficult at 20, you might be surprised to find that it’s even more difficult at 50. Not because your abilities are worse, but because you have more obligations than before. Maybe you have kids, a full-time job, or other obligations that can prevent you from finding the time. Of course, strong will and some time-management can help.
- You’ll need to put in a lot of effort. This point is quite similar to the previous one, but it’s true both for younger and older students. Because of your other obligations, keeping up with school stuff may prove difficult.
On the other hand, you may find that, while learning is harder, you appreciate it more. Younger people see it as just another thing to tick off their list, but you will see it as a privilege, and you’ll embrace its value.
You’ll also be able to implement your vast knowledge in everyday things or from your job into what you learn, which will help you learn faster.
What To Consider Before Getting Into A Graduate School?
Before you take the plunge and find yourself signing up for graduate school, there are some things you should consider.
- Not all degrees are useful. Some degrees simply have no practical value. For example, while the history of art is fun and beautiful, don’t expect job offers to come flooding your way. Consider what degrees will help you get a good job while also incorporating your passions. You have to be practical — education is not cheap, and a wrong degree won’t return the value you paid.
- Consider health degrees. Healthcare is timeless, despite technological advancements, which is why it might be a good option. Check what area of healthcare might be in demand in your region, and if it’s something you’d like to do, apply. You don’t have to be a surgeon — you can be a nurse, a healthcare administrator, writer, etc.
- Check with the government if they’ll pay for your education. There might be a chance that they will, depending on your circumstances. For example, if you got fired, you could get this type of help. Check the conditions with your local authorities. You can also check for resources that can help you enroll in a good school.
- Look for flexibility. Some colleges are more flexible than others. Look for those that will let you learn in your own time and allow you to build your own schedule. You may even be able to finish graduate school within two years, skip some classes based on experience, etc.
- Consider whether you really need a graduate degree. While graduate degrees are useful, your knowledge can be boosted by online courses, self-education, etc. If you already have experience in the field, you might simply need a few classes instead of an entire four-year program. Weigh your options.
What Are Some of The Best Career Options At 50?
If you’re not sure what you want to study, but you definitely want to go to graduate school, you may benefit from knowing which career options match well with your age and modern job market needs.
Here are some of the best careers for you:
- Marketing experts are now in high-demand, especially digital marketing jobs. Whether you want to specialize in social media, analytics, copywriting, or any other area of marketing, you’ll be able to find a good job. This can include SEO and PR too.
- Programming (development) is a career option that’s not showing signs of slowing down, especially with all the tech advancements. So, if you’re interested in this area, you can choose from different fields — front-end, back-end, UX, app development, etc.
- Other career options, like real estate, finance, technical writing, management, graphic design, etc.
Going to graduate school at 50 is definitely worth it — it’s never too late to improve yourself. However, choose your program wisely, research the career options it offers, and whether it’s in demand. Be prepared to put in the time and effort necessary. It might help if you learn some new study techniques or record your notes in audio, so you can listen to them as you go about your day. Good luck!
- BUMC: Top 30 fastest-growing jobs by 2020
- Go Grad: Graduate School Admissions Guides
- Fin Aid: Financial Aid for Older and Nontraditional Students
- ETS: The GRE Tests
- NPR: The Most (And Least) Lucrative College Majors, In 1 Graph
- AARP: going to grad school after age 50
- Maryville University: Going Back to School at 50: Little Known Benefits of a College Education