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‘Am I too old to go back to school?’ And other questions from adult learners

Jerry Kight, shown here with Benny Beaver, is proof that it’s never too late to go back to school. Kight completed his Oregon State liberal studies degree online at age 74.

4 answers that explain why it’s never too late to pursue an education when you learn online

By Carly Johansen

Starting something new is always daunting, but returning to something you put down a long time ago can often be just as intimidating.

But did you know that the average Oregon State University Ecampus student is over the age of 30? Plus, most of Oregon State’s online learners start with “some college education,” meaning that they are coming back to a degree program that had to be set aside for financial, professional or personal reasons.

“I didn’t like the feeling of unfinished business that I had never completed my degree,” said Rebecca Ramsey, an OSU Ecampus graduate who earned a liberal studies degree online while in her late 60s. “So for me, the completion was very important. I’m ready to step into a new phase of my life right now.”

Sound familiar?

So, before you talk yourself out of going back to school because you feel too old to dust off your “learning cap,” let’s answer a few more questions you might have about going to school online with Oregon State Ecampus.

Is it too late to go back to school at my age?

In short, the answer is a resounding “NO.”

As universities like Oregon State devote more resources to online education and innovation helps improve online course quality, the number of students who don’t go straight from high school to college is also on the rise. Pair that with the concept of “lifelong learning,” and you’ll start to see why online classrooms are full of students from a broad cross section of generations, socio-economic classes, experience levels and ambitions.

You might be taking on a new role at work, have a desire to try a new career or are committed to completing that long-awaited degree, but no matter what drives you forward, going back to school serves as a solution for these and many other common life questions.

What types of programs are best for adult learners?

Online education is extremely well-suited to adult learners. Thanks to the flexibility and asynchronous learning style, learning online means that you can work toward your goals without upending your career, finding childcare or sacrificing the quality of your education.

At Oregon State, we deliver nearly 100 high-quality degree and certificate programs online, and all of them are developed by the same OSU faculty who teach online.

And with new types of programs always being developed, your opportunities may be more than you realize. Oregon State now offers online course sequences called microcredentials that serve adult learners in an entirely new way. They’re laser-focused and stackable, meaning you can take three or four classes online, gain a specific skill set and earn a digital badge in the process.

This gives you something to showcase in professional settings, job interviews and on LinkedIn — furthering your professional development on a credible, verifiable platform.

What better way to try out a program than by earning a badge before jumping in with both feet?

What can I expect when going back to school as an adult?

While education has changed and significantly improved over the years, some things are sure to be the same no matter when you were last in school.

You’ll still have access to instructors who are experts in their field. You’ll still learn alongside classmates, only now you’ll find yourself interacting online with someone across the globe or with decades of industry experience.

And at Oregon State Ecampus, you’ll receive more support than ever with access to one-on-one success coaching, communication and support, free 24/7 tutoring, success coaches, academic advisors, career resources and more. That means you’re set up for success with a support network from the day you inquire through graduation and beyond.

That’s not to say there won’t be challenges though. You’ll juggle classes and work or family or just life, but if you’re ready for it, you’ll know it’s worth it. And we’ll be here to remind you of what comes after the degree. It’s the future you’re searching for — that next career step or the ability to say “I did this for me.” Because future you will thank you for this exact moment. We’re sure of it.

Is it expensive to finish my degree online?

College isn’t cheap. It’s an unfortunate reality. But at Oregon State, we’re leading the charge to make learning more affordable and accessible for everyone, including adult learners with some college experience but no degree.

Oregon State’s applied humanities online bachelor’s program is specifically designed to help you complete your degree in a flexible manner. The program reduces the number of classes you need to take on the way to graduation by allowing you to satisfy core requirements while also fulfilling major requirements.

Not only that, but the applied humanities completion scholarship means you’ll pay zero tuition for the program’s last 12 online credits. The upper-division major elective courses also feature low-cost and no-cost textbooks and course materials.

Have more questions about learning online with Oregon State?

Contact our enrollment services specialists (yes, real people) for guidance.

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