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Last Updated on August 11, 2021

How to Make Going Back to School at 30 Possible

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How to Make Going Back to School at 30 Possible

All through your teens and twenties, you thought that once you arrived at the “big 30,” your life would all fall into place and you could just coast in your career. But now that the milestone has passed, you realize nothing is static about your career and you’ll need to scramble to stay ahead. Going back to school at 30 (or even 35 or 40) is a real possibility.

Today, you can never afford to stop learning. If you’re not moving forward in terms of amassing new skills, you’ll be left behind. Employers today seek continuous learning. More than ever before, today’s workers must anticipate what technological and societal disruptors could impact their jobs in the next few years, then proactively prepare for them. This usually comes down to further education, be it getting an MBA, taking additional seminars and classes, or obtaining new certifications.

To remain relevant in today’s workforce, you must get trained — and often retrained. But at least the effort will likely yield monetary rewards. Studies show that students with a college degree earned 57 percent more than those with only a high school degree. And those with a master’s degree or higher had 28 percent higher earnings than those with a bachelor’s degree.[1]

The message? Keep learning!

1. Position Yourself for Your Future-Ready Career

Your skills need to improve at the speed of technology — which is lightning fast. To position yourself for the future, you’ll likely need advanced technical training that allows you to stay on top of new changes.

When setting out to go back to school as a working adult, look for programs that will arm you with the practical skills you’ll need.

Ask professionals in the field of your dreams what specific training is required. One way to meet these professionals is through LinkedIn, or start attending industry events.

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Learn the industry’s standard requirements by reading job postings and noting the educational and technical qualifications. Make sure, too, that the industry is on an upward trajectory so that your effort will pay off. You don’t want to spend thousands of dollars, only to be told you’re now “overqualified.”

2. Learn the Lingo: Certificates, Certifications, and Degrees

But before you start those conversations, you may want to brush up on the lingo that defines today’s advanced education.

Figure out if you should pursue a certificate, a professional certification or a degree. A certificate is likely the easiest, lowest-cost option.

Certificates are generally awarded in non-degree granting programs. You take classes to bolster your knowledge on a particular subject. But make no mistake: adding this information to your resume will help you stand out. After all, you’re showing a commitment to lifelong learning!

By contrast, certifications qualify you to perform a particular job or task. Some technical and educational fields require professional certifications as a cost of entry.

Advanced degrees often require even more of a time commitment, but can help your earnings skyrocket. MBAs and MFAs are good examples.

An MBA (Masters of Business Administration) is often required if you plan on transferring to a financial field. An MFA (Masters of Fine Arts) allows writers to teach at accredited schools and colleges.

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If you can’t see yourself leaving your job for a few years to pursue these degrees, investigate Executive MBAs and other low-residency options. Maybe there’s a way to accumulate credits toward your degree while you hold down your job.

For those who want to supercharge your learning ability and pick up any skills faster, try the Learn Anything Fast Handbook offered by Lifehack. It will surely upgrade your learning skills right away. Find out more about the Handbook here.

3. Tell Yourself: It’s Never Too Late to Learn

While further training is one lure to send you back to school at 30 or beyond, you might also decide that it’s important to finish a degree that you started, but for various reasons put on hold.

This was the case with Shaquille O’Neal, or “Shaq” as he’s widely known. He embarked on his 19-year NBA career having completed only three years at Louisiana State University. But he later earned his Bachelor’s in general studies, and went on to earn an MBA and then a PhD in education.

Steven Spielberg was also compelled to finish a degree he hadn’t completed. He dropped out of California State University, Long Beach, just a few credits short of earning his degree. More than three decades later, he finished his requirements, which included submitting his film, “Schindler’s List,” to satisfy a film course requirement.

It’s possible that, by age 30, you’ve discovered the career direction you pursued in your 20s is to no longer a field in which you ultimately want to remain. This happened with Carly Fiorina, CEO of Hewlett Packard and U.S. presidential candidate in 2016.[2]

She enrolled in law school after earning a history and philosophy undergraduate degree from Stanford. But after one semester, she dropped out and found employment at a commercial property brokerage firm. Ultimately, she wanted to explore other areas of business and went back to earn an MBA. It landed her a job at AT&T, where she was promoted within two years to a management position. The company sponsored Fiorina in a fellowship program at the Sloan School of Management at MIT that set her on her trajectory to become CEO of HP.

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Going back to school at 30 — or once adult life catches up with you — can prove challenging, especially if you’re juggling multiple obligations. For example, Mandy Ginsberg, CEO of Match Group North America, the parent company of Tinder and other online dating services, enrolled in one of the most challenging academic environments in the world as a single mother. The chaos of earning an MBA from University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business and raising a child at the same time proved doable by mobilizing a support team around her.[3]

And therefore, it’s never too late to learn and change your life.

4. Find Your Balance

Whether you’re taking a few skill-based classes or aiming for a full degree, often the most difficult aspect of going back to school when you’re 30 and over is finding the time.

Not only do you have the demands of staying on top of course work, but you also may likely have to balance them with the demands of your day job — and perhaps even a spouse and kids.

If you plan to go back to school at 30 or beyond, make sure you know precisely what you want out of your degree.

Do your research before choosing a school or program. Look up the school’s program rankings and make note of the program’s graduation rate and what types of jobs its graduates land. Write yourself a goals chart, and tack it on a bulletin board above your home computer. Studies show that writing down your goals is the best way to achieve them.

And what about online options? Online programs may be your best choice in terms of convenience and targeted degree options. But they sometimes lack the cachet of the in-person study programs.

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Before deciding to go the online route, make sure the school is reputable, accredited, and that students are offered the support they need. Look for reviews to give you a glimpse of student reactions to various programs.

If you can afford to take time off from your current job and return to campus, you may find it easier to foster new connections among professors and classmates who will hopefully all become an integral part of your business network.

As you investigate how to straddle the simultaneous demands of work and school, determine whether you can cut back to part-time work and go to school full-time. If so, you’ll finish your degree more quickly.

But, if you need to maintain a full-time job, find out in advance the minimum course load for enrollment. While part-time enrollment can make work more manageable, it may not allow you to be eligible for financial aid.

The Bottom Line

Ideally, your education should open doors to a career that will allow you to pay back any resulting student debt. Still, it’s important that you do the math to know whether it will pay in the long run to go back to school. Compare the cost of tuition and other fees with the revenue you’ll likely earn.

It’s a good idea to tell your coworkers and boss that you’re going back to school. This will show them that you have the drive to better yourself. When they know what you’re undertaking, they may be more understanding as you juggle your added responsibilities. Your employer might also be able to help out with paying some of the cost if the company has a tuition-reimbursement program.

Going back to school at 30 will show current and future employers that your brain is still active and your outlook is still expansive. At 30 — and beyond — there’s no reason not to pursue schooling that will pay dividends in the future.

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More About Lifelong Learning

Featured photo credit: Thought Catalog via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] National Center for Education Statistics: What are the new back to school statistics for 2018?
[2] Encyclopaedia Britannica: Carly Fiorina
[3] Wikipedia: Mandy Ginsberg

More by this author

Vicky Oliver

Author of 6 best-selling books on job-hunting and job interview questions, business etiquette, frugalista style, advertising, and office politics.

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Last Updated on August 11, 2021

10 Best Self-Improvement Classes in 2021

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10 Best Self-Improvement Classes in 2021

Even during the midst of a pandemic, self-improvement is still a crucial aspect to our lives today. There are tonnes of articles that you could be reading from our site or from others. However, the articles aren’t able to provide the depth and the growth you need when compared to courses or programs.

So if you are looking to step up your own self-improvement and invest in yourself and the life you want to lead, here are some of the best self-improvement classes to consider.

But before getting to that, here is the criteria that we use to determine these courses. All of these qualities have been present in the best self-improvement classes we could find:

  • Little commitment – All these courses can be done in the comfort of your own home and at your own pace as well. Most of these courses recommend spending a few hours each week on their material.
  • Prestigious – These courses are done by recognizable institutes with good reputation on their education quality.
  • Leverage on skillset – Each of the courses focuses on one area of your life, however it also helps develop other areas of your life at the same time.

1. Lifehack Mastercourses & Free Classes

Lifehack isn’t just a blog but rather a hub with all kinds of resources at people’s disposal. You may already be familiar with our particular workbooks, but we also provide courses of our own.

Firstly, there’s a free course that will guide you to break your procrastination loop and start taking action to get what you want. Ending procrastination is essential to multiplying your time, energy, and the overall quality of your life. Here you can learn more about the free class:

Our second set of courses are the courses where we help you break free of your limitations to become the best version of yourself. These courses aren’t free, but each course goes into extensive detail on everything from motivation, overcoming challenges and staying focused to improving your overall learning capabilities, controlling your emotions and mindset:

2. The Science Of Well-Being

Yale University has been around for over 300 years at this point and one of the most popular classes in that time span is this one: The Science of Well-Being. After all this time, Yale is providing this course to everyone for free.

In this class, Yale Psychology Professor Laurie Santos introduced this class as “Psychology and the Good Life” in spring 2018. The class was designed to help students in navigating anxiety, depression, and stress in their lives. The class at the time was so popular that roughly a quarter of Yale undergraduates enrolled in it that spring.

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Going into more detail about this course, this 4-week course is designed to provide a step-by-step process for boosting happiness. The course heavily focuses on positive psychology – what misconceptions we have about happiness and what has been scientifically proven to make us happier.

Enrol in the course here.

3. Learning How To Learn

Another notable course to consider is the Learning How to Learn course. On the platform Coursera, it is one of the most popular and loved courses on the platform with nearly 2 million students enrolled since it’s been there. It’s taught by the distinguished professors Dr. Barbara Oakley and Dr. Terrence Sejnowski.

The premise of the course is what you’d expect, the goal of this course to teach you to learn more. It’ll ultimately lead to you training your brain to effectively process information and learn complicated subjects even. All of this is done through various tools and methods – from stories to goofy animations like surfing zombies, metabolic vampires and an “octopus of attention”.

Enrol in the course here.

4. Mindshift

Another course developed by Dr. Barabara Oakley is this course: Mindshift. If you’re planning to take the course Learning How To Learn, this one builds off of that popular course. Overall, it’s meant to help learners boost their career and life by shifting their mindset to a learning one.

Dr. Oakley firmly believes that any person can train themselves to learn at any stage in life. She believes that from personal experiences but also how this course is designed. Through this course, you learn how to be seeking out mentors to learn from, how to avoid common learning pitfalls, career ruts, and the general ruts in life.

By the end of this 4-week program, you’ll have access to new tools and strategies to face any career challenge and seek better methods to surmount new learning curves.

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Enrol in the course here.

5. De-Mystifying Mindfulness

Mindfulness is something that we’ve all been trying to obtain in recent years and people are noticing it. Whether we strive for this for therapy, lifestyle choice, or for other technology, many of us consider this a pastime we do in solitude at this point.

But despite the number of us practicing mindfulness, not many of us fully grasp it. De-Mystifying Mindfulness is a course designed to help people get up to speed with it through various methods. This course gathers information from various disciplines in science, social sciences and humanities to help unlock and understand mindfulness in its various forms.

This is a truly unique course as it’s rooted in experiential learning mixed with evidence base of what mindfulness can do to people. And a conceptual base of what mindfulness might actually be.

Enrol in the course here.

6. Achieving Personal And Professional Success Specialization

The best way to explain what Achieving Personal And Professional Success Specialization is. is that it’s four of the most popular courses taught by Wharton School, the University of Pennsylvania wrapped into one Specialization. Through these four courses, you’ll be able to maximize your potential and be more successful in both personal and professional life. You’ll learn various techniques and exercises that this school teaches.

Going into more detail the four courses consist of these four:

  • Success – learn about defining goals, understand how goals connect to long-term images of yourself.
  • Communication skills – tools to improve communication with others. You’ll also learn to take other people’s perspectives, where trust comes from, and build relationships.
  • Leading the Life you want – skills that allow you to lead in the four domains of life: work, home, community, and private.
  • Influence – how to develop it and become more effective in achieving organizational goals.

Enrol in the course here.

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7. Think Again

Reasoning is another important aspect of life. Think Again is all about teaching you how to reason and argue well with people without raising your voice and getting flustered. It’s four short courses that explore the logic behind arguments, how we construct arguments and deconstruct them, how to identify and evaluate arguments, and what makes a good argument.

Specifically, you’ll learn about the vital rules to be following in thinking about any topic at all and common and tempting mistakes that people fall into all the time when providing reasoning.

Enrol in the course here.

8. Neuroplasticity

Amongst the scientific and psychology circles, this has become quite the buzzword: Neuroplasticity. The concept promises to rewire our brain and improve everything from health and mental wellbeing to our quality of life. Gregory Caremans teaches the concept of Neuroplasticity and how you can take action and use this to your advantage in the course Neuroplasticity. Through it, you can develop mental flexibility, change habits, stop procrastination and even alter memories.

Gregory is a psychologist with a Master’s in communication and is specialized in Neurocognitive and Behavioral Approach. And even though he comes from a complex field, his course is instructed in such a way that you can easily use this information and apply it in your daily life.

Enrol in the course here.

9. Become A SuperLearner® 2

Similar to Learning How To Learn, this Udemy course Become A SuperLearner® 2 is all about learning faster and unlocking the vast potential of your mind. This course is different though in that it focuses more on improving your ability to learn new skills, provide advanced memory techniques, long-term retention and application of information.

Another way to think about this course is that it looks into cognitive and neurological factors that make learning easier and more successful with longer retention of information.

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Enrol in the course here.

10. Get Beyond Work-Life Balance

The final course on the list is Get Beyond Work-Life Balance. As this course suggests, this is all about getting skills that help you to achieve balance and have effectiveness in both aspects of your life. This applies to both people in leadership roles and for individuals.

The course focuses a lot on the importance of inclusive leadership in creating flexible and productive work environments. Beyond this, the course provides a lot of research and real-work examples from various situations to deliver information and strategies you can apply in your life.

Enrol in the course here.

Final Thoughts

There are all kinds of courses that you can use to further enhance your life – be it personal or professional. And the beauty of personal development courses is the fact they are designed to be applied in your life more readily. You can begin to see the impact and change when applying this information from courses to real life.

As such, we encourage you to try out these courses. They could very well change your life.

Featured photo credit: Annie Spratt via unsplash.com

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