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“It’s Too Late to Go Now”—and 4 Other Excuses You’re Making to Keep from Applying to College

CollegeStudentsFor many people, going from high school to college is a simple transition: these students effortlessly convert from senior to freshman, with a summer break in between. But for those of you who didn’t pursue higher education directly out of high school, the decision to return to school can seem a bit bumpier; it can also involve a lot more excuses.

Unfortunately, these excuses can come back to bite you. Not going to college—no matter the reason—can hit you in one of the places where it hurts the most: your pocketbook.

The Dollar Value of a College Education

Perhaps one of the most common excuses for not going to college is the financial aspect. You may say you flat out can’t afford it. However, in truth, many people can’t afford not to go. This is because bachelor’s degree holders earn significantly more, on average, than those with just a high school diploma.

Per the Huffington Post, a 2011 study found that people with a bachelor’s degree made 84 percent more over their lifetime than high school graduates. This is a trend that seems to be moving upward: in 1999, people with a bachelor’s degree made only 75 percent more than high school graduates. Other sources confirm this. According to Forbes, a 2012 study by the Pew Research Center found that college graduates earn an average of $650,000 more in their lifetime than their peers who only graduated high school. Certain degrees—such as engineering or computer science—earn much, much more.

Scholarships, employee reimbursement programs, and loans are always available (especially if the loans are federal loans) for those who believe they can’t afford college tuition. While it’s very reasonable to take financial considerations into account when deciding whether or not to go back to college, it would be unwise to not consider the vast array of financial aid options at your disposal.

Other Excuses for Not Going to College

In addition to the money aspect, there are a handful of other college-avoiding excuses quite commonly used. These include:

“I’m too old”

You might be too old to live in a dorm room or attend nightly keg parties, but when it comes to learning you are never too old. Colleges are filled with people who are all ages, sometimes even those of retirement age: as reported by the Huffington Post, a Connecticut university recently awarded a bachelor’s degree to a 63 year old woman. After being laid off at the age of 59, she decided to go back to school and reinvent her life: she obtained a degree in 2011.

While you may worry your age will make you an outsider, recent studies show that the majority of students enrolled in universities can be classified as “non-traditional” students. According to a study published in the Association of American Colleges and Universities, over 38 percent of new enrolling students for the class of 2007 were over the age of 25 (a number that is expected to remain stable or increase by 2018). Meanwhile, over 4 million people enrolled in a degree program are over the age of 35. In addition, Education Department data published in the Wall Street Journal shows that nearly two-thirds of students enrolled in college in 2013 can be classified as “non-traditional” (based on categories like age, employment, dependent status, etc.).

“It’s too late”

The term “better late than never” is perhaps most fitting when it comes to education. No matter how long it has been since high school, the benefits—salary hikes, career advancement, job opportunities—will still exist. Deciding to go back to school can also have a positive influence on your image: employers look favorably upon people who show such great levels of dedication.

“I don’t have the time”

In the 1990’s and prior, a person’s path to a degree involved attending classes that met at specific times in specific places. However, with the advent of the internet, online classes have turned college into something everyone has time to do. These classes allow you flexibility, convenience, and the ability to learn from the comfort of your own home: a college degree is literally available at a computer screen near you.

“It’ll be a waste”

People who begin college when they are eighteen are just that: eighteen. In other words, they are kids often unsure of what they want to do. According to NBC News, eighty percent of college bound eighteen year olds have a major that is undecided. And, even once a major is declared, it doesn’t always stick: fifty percent of students change their majors with many changing them two or three times. This can lead to a waste of resources, money, and time. As an older adult, on the other hand, you have work experience, life experience, and perspective under your belt. This gives you the unique ability to cater your education to your desires.

Going back to school is an important decision, and one that is not meant to be taken lightly. However, you shouldn’t let yourself miss out on your chance to advance your career and change your life by falling back on any of these excuses.

About the Author:

Chad Fisher knows how important a college degree can be when it comes to landing your dream career. In light of developing technology, today there are a number of new and exciting majors and careers for older and returning students to choose from. offers plenty of information about new jobs in fields like cyber security, software development, and more.

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One Response to ““It’s Too Late to Go Now”—and 4 Other Excuses You’re Making to Keep from Applying to College”

  1. I heard in some podcast today that you don’t go to college to learn, but to gain experience and to socialize. The connections you’ll gain in college will often be the ones that will later help you get a job. Try to make a lot of friends, because it’s a lot harder to do that later in life when you’re not no longer surrounded by the same-age, same-interest people.

    I agree on ‘too late/too old’ stuff too – who cares if you go to college (again) when you’re 30 or 35? At least you’re not stuck in a boring daily routine like everyone else at your age :)


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