Going Back to School At 40: Don’t Be Intimidated

Wanna Go Back To School But Don’t Know Where To Start?

Going back to school at 40 (and up) can be daunting. I saw how challenging this could be when I helped my dad get his degree at the age of 60.


Some people at this age may find the technology and modern way of doing things not too difficult, but for others, the modern way of doing things can be challenging.


Don’t fear technology!


I helped my dad step by step in getting his old transcripts, applying to a college, enrolling in courses, keeping up with the courses, understanding the online system used for the courses, and applying for graduation.


Though these tasks can seem cumbersome, there is definitely a light at the end and it is very doable.


Don’t let the stress get to you. It’s perfectly normal to feel overwhelmed at first. But each step will get you closer to that goal and allow for a more satisfying future. 


Picking a Program

i wanna go back to school but i don't know where to start

To begin with, knowing why you are going to college and what you want to accomplish there is key. The future is changing quickly and so are marketable degrees.


Though you may have interests and it would seem like a good idea to do what you feel you are good at, consider all your options.


Choosing the right degree is important!


You don’t want to get burned out from taking courses that you feel may not pay off later. Also, you are spending so much on these classes, make them count for your future. 


Make sure you do heavy research on the most marketable degrees and the jobs that are actually available in YOUR area.


I always do an Indeed search to see if there are jobs available in that market when advising anyone on a certain degree. Do your research and narrow things down.


Bonus tip: Healthcare fields are on the rise! Choosing a career in healthcare can have promising results for the future. The possibilities are endless when it comes to this field. 


Applying to College

I wanna go back to school but I don't know where to start

When you know what you want to do in terms of degree, applying to a school is the next best step.


I always recommend community colleges because of how approachable and affordable they are. You get a more intimate experience with community colleges.


Don’t rush to go to a University!


When you have applied to a college and are accepted, an advising appointment will be the next step for you.


Advisors are great at keeping you on track with what courses you need for the degree plan you have chosen. Utilize advisors and the career center for all your questions and guidance.


Also, make sure to fill out a FAFSA. This will ensure you get the most free money possible!


Enrolling in Courses and Using Online System

Finally, you are ready to enroll in your courses! Based on what your advisor has told you, choosing courses should be fairly simple.


The thing to look out for now is finding time frames for courses that work for you. There are going to be courses offered by different teachers at different times so find one that works for you.


Courses are Flexible!


All of the important things you need to do (register, drop, check grades, view assignments) should be done on the school’s online system.


In the orientation there should be information on how to navigate these particular systems. Do not be intimidated! There is endless help from the Student Success office.


Speaking of using the online system, I have an article on how to study for online classes that will assist anyone trying to do better in online classes


Study Tips

There is no one way to study in college. I got my degree in Biology. My dad got his in Kinesiology. Although these subjects are super different, studying is essentially similar.


I have a whole post about study tips but I just wanted to mention some common things teachers do.


Always study Powerpoints!


Always pay attention to the teacher’s power points. I see a lot of people dismiss this and focus on a complicated text book. Usually, what the teacher finds essential is what they put in the power point.


I go to the textbook as a resource after listening to lecture. I always watch posted videos, look at the assignments, and study the power points.


It may sound funny, but I use to actually go to other professors that taught the same subject and would ask them questions on the material. You got to do what works for you and take advantage of all the school has to offer. 


Utilize study sessions that the teacher may hold as well. Most of the time students don’t show up to these but they are SUPER beneficial.


If you want a leg up, this is the best way to show dedication and perhaps your grade being rounded up at the end of the semester!


Another thing to consider doing is using digital flashcards to aid in your studying. I often use to go to quizlet to help me study and I also used other people’s flashcards that were already made!


Don’t get discouraged. Try to make things simple for yourself.



going back to school at 40

This is the most exciting part! Usually when you get closer to the end of your degree requirements, you will have an advising appointment.


The advisor will always keep you on track so never worry about being thrown into college on your own.


You can do this!


You may have a graduation application to do on the online system, but other than that, it should be a proud moment with no issues.

Bottom Line

Going back to school at 40 doesn’t have to be scary. Applying to college is your first start and from there, advisors will walk you through everything you need.


Going back to school at 40 or any age for that matter is done one step at a time. You got this!


Feel free to contact me for ANY help you need.

Related Study Motivation Articles:

Study Motivation Tips

School Hacks For Education

College Freshman Tips

How To Study For Online Classes