Did you bypass the college experience altogether after high school? Maybe you dropped or out, or maybe you got your degree but now you want to pursue a different career. Whatever the reason, going back to school in your late 20s or your 30s can be a very different experience from doing so right out of high school. However, you shouldn’t feel like you’ve missed out. There are a lot of advantages to attending college later in life.

You’re Not Afraid To Ask For Help

If you’ve just headed off to college at 18 and it’s your first time away from home, it can be tough to seek help when you need it. If you feel like it’s imperative to show that you are strong and independent, it can be hard to admit that you’re struggling. In your late 20s or your 30s, you know that there’s nothing wrong with seeking help sometimes and that in fact, it can actually be a sign of strength. And the great thing about being on a college campus with that attitude is that there are so many resources available to help you, including your advisor, the career counseling office and the campus health system. By paying attention to your mental health, it is as important as taking care of yourself physically, and you can review a guide on doing so. If your campus offers telehealth services, this can be an easy way for you to access help from the comfort of your home.

You’re Focused

When you go to college right out of high school, there’s so much to distract you. On top of that, you probably aren’t entirely sure what you want to study. This is very different when you wait a few years or more than a decade. You’ve been independent for a long time. You aren’t in the process of finding your identity as an adult while also trying to figure out what kind of career you want to have. At 18, many people go to college simply because it is what comes next, but they aren’t sure why they are there. You are going with a specific plan in mind, and this means you are in a good position to get the most out of your classes.

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You Have Life Experience

There’s really no substitute for life experience, and most likely, you will find that your professors appreciate this. Things look different when you’ve been supporting yourself for a while and have a job and possibly even a family. You can bring that life experience into the classroom, and you may be surprised at where it is relevant. Of course, if you have a background in bookkeeping, that will be helpful in an accounting class, but if you’ve been working retail for the past five years, you’ve probably learned a lot about human nature that you can bring to a psychology or philosophy course. People are often intimidated when they go back to school after years of being out of the classroom, but most likely, you are better poised to deal with the material than most of your classmates.