Going back to school at 40? Here’s how.
Going back to school at 40 is a great place to start if you want to move up in your field, change careers or pursue a dream that you put on hold earlier in life. Here are seven online schools that excel at helping non traditional students build possibilities for tomorrow while taking care of their work and family responsibilities today.
Ashford strives to provide accessible, affordable, innovative, high-quality learning opportunities and degree programs in subject areas ranging from eMarketing to Cognitive Studies. State-of-the-art technology is used to keep students in touch with their courses and classmates and the school emphasizes studying, learning and sharing from cloud content rather than heavy textbooks.
- Notable: Students, faculty and alumni interact and support each other from across the country and the world, using social media to empower everyone in the Ashford community to connect and network
Regis’s College of Professional Studies offers a wide range of course options designed specifically for working professionals, parents and spouses seeking their bachelor's or master's degree from an accredited university. Online undergraduate courses are offered in accelerated terms that start six times a year.
- Notable: Ranked by U.S. News & World Report as a Top University in the West for 18 consecutive years
With a deep focus on empowering students to earn their degree, SNHU offers more than 200 career-focused online college degrees and certificates. The school helps students see if they qualify for scholarships or other forms of financial aid and makes transferring credits as seamless as possible.
- Notable: Online students have access to tools and resources to make sure they never miss an assignment
Walden offers over 60 online degree programs, including more than 300 specializations and concentrations. With more than 49,500 alumni, the school serves students in states throughout the United States and from countries throughout the world.
- Notable: Students use chat, video, shared documents and an online platform to access assignments and readings, contribute to discussions and participate in coursework
Liberty is dedicated to helping working adults achieve their goals and complete their degrees as quickly as possible. The school allows students to maximize credits they’ve previously earned by transferring up to 90 credits into an undergraduate degree program and up to 50% of a masters’ degree.
- Notable: Online programs are offered at the associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral level
This private university is dedicated to helping busy professionals achieve their academic dreams without slacking on the job or missing out at home. Students can choose to earn their full degree online, take individual online courses to test the waters or maintain a professional certification through continuing education options.
- Notable: Students have access to an online learning management system, which includes a digital classroom environment, assignment submission, forum discussions, and organizational tools like a home page overview and online assignment calendar.
With a long history of providing innovation in learning, ethics and advancing the common good, Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota provides working adults with a practical, career-focused master’s education in a supportive, student-oriented, online environment. Programs are delivered using state-of-the-art technology and an applied learning curriculum allows students to learn skills that could be applied immediately to their careers.
- Noteworthy: Saint Mary’s University is regularly ranked among the nation’s top higher education institutions by U.S. News & World Report, the Princeton Review and Forbes
Did you know?
Today, non traditional students comprise the majority of all degree-seekers in the USA.
Going back? Go online!
Online schools, unlike brick-and-mortar colleges, are designed to fit coursework into students’ lives rather than the other way around. For older adults with personal and professional obligations, the flexibility of online programs can make all the difference in putting going back to school at 40 within reach.
By 2020, nearly one in five college and graduate students will be over age 35.
What to look for in an online school
In addition to reputation and accreditation, there are several factors that non traditional students should consider when comparing online colleges. Is at least 25% of the student population age 25 or older? Does the school offer options like degree pacing, college credit for life experience, dual credit opportunities and accelerated programs?
These 7 colleges above tick the boxes in offering high quality and flexibility for adults going back to school at 40.
FAQs about going back to school at 40
Q: How does online learning work for returning adults?
A: Coursework is typically submitted via an online learning platform. Students interact with professors in a variety of ways: email, phone, live chat, online discussion boards and even personal meetings. Assignments can be completed any time as long as course due dates are met.
Q: Are there grants and scholarships for adults going back to school at 40?
A: Accredited online universities generally offer financial aid or payment plans. Federal Pell Grants and student loans are available to those who meet program requirements and you may be able to find grants for adults who want to return to school. In addition, try searching for non traditional scholarships : scholarships for mothers, scholarships for women, scholarships for married people, scholarships for adults over 40 going back to college.