Over 50 and Back to School
5. Besides federal and state student aid, there are
monies available for both graduate and undergraduate
school in the form of scholarships
and fellowships according to your area of study.
Time spent in gathering that information could contribute
hundreds or thousands of dollars in reducing your education
fees. Need-based grants and merit awards are also offered
by the institution. Be prepared to take out loans. Remember
that you are investing in skills and information that
will enable you to compete in a fast moving, high paced,
youth-oriented environment. The financial aid department
of any institution or a student loan officer at your
local bank will give you all the information you need
about low interest loans and repayment.
6. Once you become a student, time management is a
vital practice that will determine the ease or difficulty
in approaching your studies. Make a schedule and stick
to it. It is not impossible for the older adult to successfully
juggle school with work. Some institutions have degree
programs that require attendance only on weekends.
This can be a very convenient schedule for those who
choose to work while they are attending school. Others
evening courses, or distant learning or online courses.
The Web pages of the distant learning institutions state
if the school is accredited
and by whom. There are many types of program schedules
that make it plausible for an older adult to re-enter
Set your goal for success, know that you can achieve,
and above all enjoy the rejuvenation that results from
the opportunity of starting over. This is by no means
an easy task. Consider it an adventure. The peace of
mind in knowing that you can compete in your present
work situation or be marketable in a future work situation
is so much easier than the task of accepting the myth
of old age, dependency and defeat. Change can be frightening
and full of challenges, but it is also necessary and
rejuvenating. Go forward with the security of the wisdom
of your years to discover the you at this
point of your life.
Alia Curtis completed her undergraduate work in 1973
and thirty-one years later had to make the very difficult
decision to go back to school. She recently completed
her MA Degree in Writing, and has taught Grammar, Creative
Writing, and English as a Second Language at the University
of Pittsburgh, Dominican College, Sierra High School,
and BAYCAT (a community based Arts and Technology School
for underserved children and adults).