8 Reasons Why An Online Degree Program Is Great For Older Students

Published on: September 12, 2022

Everyone knows the saying "you are never too old to learn," but it is also true that mastering something new can be difficult as you get older. This fear that it might be too late to try something new can hold many people back from completing their studies. However, the wide availability of online degree programs has opened up new avenues for older students who want to further their education. These degree programs address many concerns older students may have about studying and provide plenty of additional benefits. If you are an older student intimidated by the thought of attending college or university, here are a few reasons why an online degree program is perfect for you.

Affordability

In many cases, adult learners enroll in degree programs because they want to enhance their career prospects and earn more money. This means that their budget is already tight and opting for a traditional educational institution might be impossible. These financial barriers are not quite as imposing as online degrees, which are typically much more affordable and don't come with the same amount of "hidden" costs as traditional degrees. These hidden costs, which can include housing or meal plans, commuting, and even textbooks, can quickly add up and drain your finances. Online degrees eliminate virtually all of these additional costs, which is a boon to older students whose finances might already be stretched thin due to other obligations.

Flexibility

Completing your education as an older student often means having to balance things such as family and work in the process. While some sacrifices will still have to be made to fit everything into a tight schedule, online degree programs tend to offer a lot more flexibility. This allows older students to learn as they earn without having to give up their full-time jobs. So often, with traditional on-campus programs, students have to fit their life around their studies, while it is much easier to do the opposite with online programs.

Motivation

Motivation is something that a lot of younger students tend to struggle with while studying. Often, this can be due to the fact that younger students are not yet sure what their goals are and how to accomplish them. Older students who already have some life experience tend to have clearly defined goals too. Knowing your goals and what it will take to achieve them is also very motivating. Since staying motivated is a significant factor in online education, it is a great match for older students. 

Accessibility

Older students who have been away from the hustle and bustle of a typical college setting might find the experience very stressful. The large crowds can be overwhelming, and the stimulus overload could cause anxiety. Many older students might also feel like they don't fit in with the younger crowd, which can hamper their ability to concentrate and focus. Some older students also find it hard to interact with a younger class or ask questions because of how they think they might be perceived. Studying online removes this barrier and allows older students to cover the materials at their own pace in a manner that they are most comfortable with. In many cases, there also tend to be more avenues for one-on-one interaction with online instructors.

Location

Unlike campus-based degrees, it is possible to complete an online degree virtually anywhere with access to an internet connection. This means that there is no need to relocate to be near a campus, which is something that is very difficult to do as an adult learner. Older learners with jobs that involve a lot of traveling can also complete their studies on the go, which is much more convenient than being tied to a specific campus. In addition, it means that there's a wider variety of great schools to choose from since your location does not limit your options. Many online schools also offer a greater selection of courses and degree options than their campus-based counterparts.

Support

Returning to your studies as an older student often means receiving more support from friends and families. Even employers tend to be very supportive of employees studying online. In the past, studying as an older student meant quitting your job or cutting back on work hours, but thanks to online degree programs, this is no longer a concern. In general, older students tend to have built a larger support network, which can help them stay focused and motivated in their studies.

Positivity

Earning a degree as an older student with children not only has a positive impact on your own life but the lives of your family too. Studies have found that the children of parents who have earned degrees are far more likely to go on and do the same compared to young people whose parents did not earn a degree (https://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2018421). 

Confidence

Not everyone has had the opportunity to further their studies in their youth, and this can lead to them feeling inadequate compared to their peers who have done so. Earning a degree online is not only a very rewarding experience but can also provide older students with a huge confidence boost. This is invaluable for adults without degrees who suffer from imposter syndrome in the workplace. 

Conclusion

Continuing your education as an older student has never been easier or more convenient, thanks to all the available online learning options. Of course, as with everything, the first step can be the most daunting, but older students also tend to be more motivated and capable of self-directed learning, which makes online studies a perfect match.

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