In recent years, United States universities have experienced a large influx of enrollees over the age of 25, a group referred to as non-traditional students. After America’s relatively recent economic trouble, nearly all citizens feel as though higher learning is an important tool for financial success. Many non-traditional students include first-time students, and more than half of the student body over the age of 25 consists of stay at home moms attending online classes.
Learning Paths for Non-Traditional Students
At a minimum, higher learning hopefuls must possess a General Equivalency Diploma (GED) to enter college. To acquire a GED, individuals must pass a standardized test that measures competency in high school academics and the likelihood of success in college. After passing the GED exam, learners can enter any community college, institutions that often serve as launching pads to four-year colleges. Community colleges typically cost less compared to other learning venues, and students advance with a certificate or associate’s degree or by transferring to a four-year college.
Public universities offer four-year learning programs that culminate in a bachelor’s degree, post baccalaureate certificate, master’s degree or doctoral degree. Private universities offer four-year degrees as well but have more stringent entrance requirements. Other private institutions, also called career or technical schools, offer learning programs of varying duration. Since these are for-profit organizations, tuition is typically higher at these kind of learning venues.
If you’re interested in entering an MBA program, you’re going to need to take the GMAT exam, regardless of whether you attend a public or private institution. Results from the GMAT exam will be reviewed by the institutions that you apply to, helping them better understand who you are as an academic and your areas of specialization.
Other, atypical learning tracks include on-the-job training through apprenticeships, the job corps, the military, the Reserve Officer Training Corp (ROTC) and volunteer opportunities. Ultimately, these learning tracks can culminate in two- to four-year degrees as well.
A Different Approach Toward Learning
In today’s society, students have the option to further their education from the comfort of their own homes. The growing complexity of life has resulted in an increased demand for online training. In fact, over 60-percent of institutions have provided virtual learning avenues for more than a decade with around 35-percent offering hybrid courses, a blend of online and in class training. Around 60-percent of the online student body consists of stay-at-home moms over the age of 25. Online classes allow individuals to learn at a pace and time that works with their busy schedules, and tuition costs less compared to traditional classroom courses.
Going Back to School: What About the Bottom Line?
Many individuals pursue higher learning to improve their income potential or enter fields that have a growing need of workers. A great example of this is nursing where by 2022 there’s expected to be a projected need of 500,000 RNs. Going back to school can be a great way to enter into similar growing professions and increase income and professional growth.
The numbers bear out that education is an effective tool for increasing long-term income. Learners who attended college without completing a degree earn 14-percent more than workers who enter the workforce solely with a high school degree. College students who earn their associate’s degrees earn 24-percent more than high school graduates. Individuals earning bachelor’s degrees earn 60-percent more than high school graduates, and master’s degree recipients earn 90-percent more than high school graduates who do not pursue higher learning.
Higher learning is about more than money. Quality of life is an important factor. For stay-at-home moms, online classes can mean more quality time with their families. By learning from home, moms can also improve the lives of their children. After graduation, working mothers with four-year degrees report spending 51-percent more time with their kids or overseeing their activities compared to high school graduates. Around 41-percent of graduating mothers who opt not to work spend more time with their kids compared to high school graduates.
Degree hopefuls who pursue online learning sometimes have the luxury to train at their own pace. This can mean graduating in less time compared to traditional, in class learning venues. More importantly, an online degree can mean more than a bigger income - it can result in a better quality of life.
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