Your days of rushing a fraternity and tailgating before football games might be behind you. But more and more seniors are heading back to campuses when they retire. In fact, many colleges and universities have started tailoring programs specifically for seniors who want to start a new career or just make learning a cornerstone of their retirement schedules.
Here are 3 reasons why you should consider dusting off your bookbag:
- Higher education at lower costs
Don’t let the thought of college give you flashbacks to managing your kids’ student loan debt.
Many colleges and universities offer low-cost programs for seniors. Your local public institution might offer tuition waivers or allow you to audit classes for free. There are also organizations like the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute that partner with colleges to provide affordable programs on campus. Finally, if you’re comfortable working from home at your own pace, online courses are an option to learn something new from a prestigious institution or progress towards a new degree.
- Personal and professional enrichment
Also, don’t let the thought of college give you flashbacks to panicked cramming before a big test.
As a retiree, college can be an opportunity to re-explore interests you veered from once you settled on a career path. In the decades since you graduated you’ve also probably picked up a couple new interests worth diving into more deeply. Are you a born-again foodie? Study some French. If your climb up the corporate ladder led to a passion for motivating your team, study the latest trends in management. Or break out of your box and sample some new ideas: a morning philosophy class and sociology after lunch.
Many seniors also enroll in college to sharpen the professional skills that will help them to start a new business in retirement. In addition to what you learn in class, you’ll have opportunities to network with young talent and your professors. Even if you don’t go all-in and earn a degree, a couple semesters in such a stimulating environment might water your ideas until they sprout into your own company.
- The perks of campus life
College campuses boast amazing amenities – and they’re not just for the freshmen crammed in dorms.
Like every other student, you’ll have access to world-class libraries and tech labs. You might stop into the campus museum and view a student art show between classes. Campus movie theatres and plays can provide a fun date night option for you and your spouse. Then there are all the luminaries who visit colleges to present master classes and public lectures.
If you’re worried about feeling out of place on campus, remember there’s a reason that colleges are offering more programs for seniors. You’re going to be mingling with plenty of people your own age who are navigating the same life transitions you are and who share your passion for learning.
Other options to explore
Enrolling in college is just one option for curious seniors. Your local community center might offer classes where you can learn from accomplished professionals in a less formal setting. Volunteer positions can provide “on the job” learning about a cause that’s important to you. A good sports coach might broaden your interest in physical wellness while lowering your handicap or fixing your backhand. And don’t discount the value of that library card at the back of your wallet.
Because you worked so hard to follow your retirement plan, you have the assets to keep you and your spouse safe and secure. But retirement also needs to keep you active and engaged. Grab a couple college brochures and bring them to our next meeting. We can help you run the numbers and decide if furthering your education will help you get more out of retirement.