Why Do Adults Fear Going Back to School?

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Why Do Adults Fear Going Back to School?

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, adult learners are the fastest growing segment in the higher education market. After receiving a bachelors degree and working for several years, adults are returning to school to either skill up on new technologies and languages, or to restart their career in a different field. Accelerated learning programs (a.k.a. bootcamps) are an innovative way to quickly give people relevant skills - with a lower price tag than a traditional four-year degree.

Like any other life change, going back to school is often seen as a source of trepidation or fear. Imposter syndrome pops up, and older students see themselves as inferior or incapable of learning - contrary to the fact that nowadays, all post-college education is tailored to learners who are later in life.

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Think about it: people learn new things every day. The majority of occupied people are constantly learning new technologies and skills in the workplace - so what's the difference if you decide to learn those skills in an outside setting?

Not to mention, teaching methods are constantly evolving to meet the structure and pace of continued education. It seems as though no matter what skill you're looking to grow, with the amount of programs and bootcamps available, you can learn that skill in any format (for example, videos, live lectures, quizzes, paired-programming, and more.)

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A full-time education is perfect for students who have recently graduated from high school, because more often than not, they don't have children or spouses, and they are not homeowners. After several years, however, priorities shift and life becomes a little bit more complicated. Higher education has shifted to reflect those new priorities, and now almost every bootcamp is available as a part-time option, to accommodate students who are employed or have other obligations. With the rise in online bootcamps, you can also learn new skills from your home (or anywhere else!)

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Much like part-time programs, online programs are becoming more and more immersive and often times mirror the same structure and curriculum as their in-person counterparts.

For example, Fullstack Academy remote immersive students are required to be present from 9 am until 6 pm, reports graduate Beth Qiang, "We had our own instructors who would give live lectures, and the great majority of the work we did was via pair programming or working in teams."

Further reading:

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If you're hesitant to go back to school because you weren't satisfied with the quality of your previous education, you're in luck: bootcamps are so different. Not only do bootcamps give you relevant skills (no more filler curriculum or out-of-date technologies) - they also give you soft skills like resume-building and career services designed well beyond the "career center" you probably barely interacted with in college.

Further Reading:

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With the average cost of a bootcamp being around $13,000, it's no wonder potential students become concerned once it comes time to foot the bill. In response, bootcamps offer need- and merit-based scholarships and grants. Schools have also partnered up with financing providers like Skills Fund to offer low monthly payments towards the tuition and cost of living while in the program.

If you already have student loans, it's always a good idea to consider refinancing or consolidating your loans.

Further reading:

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Originally published September 19, 2017. Updated April 18, 2019.