If there’s one thing we’re all on board with, it’s saving money and that’s why many of us perhaps balk at the idea of going to university and taking on extra debt. We weigh up the difference between earning a little more in a higher paid job versus taking on thousands of pounds of debt and very often we choose to avoid the latter.
Teenagers and people in their early twenties just aren’t equipped financially to take on masses of debt, so it’s no wonder that thousands of people in their thirties and forties choose to take on a university course when they’re in a more secure financial position. Sure, they may not get all the loan entitlements of a younger person but they won’t be left saddled with all the debt either.
For many people, it just makes better financial sense to go university later in life and for good reasons other than money. You know yourself better and are more focussed on what you want to achieve, you know what subjects or industry you’re interested in and aren’t doing a course just for the sake of it and you’re just more likely to give it your all.
The greatest drawback of course, is that life has happened all around you and you may have a family, full time employment and other commitments to balance out alongside your studies.
In this blog, we take a look at how to make the most of your studies as a returning student whether you’re beginning teacher training or looking for accredited Online RN to BSN programs. We provide you tips on staying in control and on top of things and not going broke in the process.
Many of us immediately think of something like the Open University as a way of gaining the qualifications that we need but there are plenty of other universities and educational establishments out there that offer online courses. The trick is to narrow down what it is you need. If you’re looking for a general degree then explore the prospectus of something like the OU but if you’re looking at industry-specific qualifications then cast your net wide looking at local colleges and online specialists.
One of the greatest challenges of balancing all these commitments is finding the time to do each well, so thinking about how you’re going to fit in your reading time is going to be a challenge. The trick is to use wasted time to the max, so if you have an hour’s commute to work or college or on the school run, make that time count. Buy audio versions of your study books and have them play on your earphones or in the car.
If you attend lectures, record them using your smartphone and play back when you’re out for a run or before you fall asleep. Find ways like these to squeeze in that little bit extra, giving you more time to finish assignments.
Before you start any courses, do some research into what kind of financial support you might be able to apply for. There are bursaries available for some courses, particularly for mature students and in industries where there is a national shortage.
If your qualification is connected to your current employment be bold and approach your company to pay for some, if not all, of the course. You may have to pay it back, but it will give you the financial head start you might need. At the very least make sure your boss is on board with your studies and is willing to give you a study day now and again.
If you work for yourself this can be trickier to manage but there may be financial savings that can be made around paying tax, so make sure you talk it over with an accountant or do some research online.
When it comes to saving money on books, make sure you find out if your university has a second-hand book shop or trawl online stores for seconds, there really is no need to pay for a brand-new version, especially if you’re only going to use it for one academic year.
Going back to school can seem intimidating and you might question if you’ve got what it takes to get a degree or professional qualification but all that life experience in your corner is a help and certainly not a hindrance. You know what it is to stick to something until completion and you’ll be able to take on this challenge with the same determined spirit.