5 Myths of Returning to College as an Adult Learner

5 Myths of Returning to College as an Adult LearnerDeciding – or wanting – to go to College is quite common for many adults. However, there are many myths out there about College and adult learners which may be holding you back from taking that step. Below we take a look at the 5 more common myths we hear – and explode them!

1. I didn’t finish school so I can’t go to College.

A mature student is anyone over the age of 23 – so even if you did not complete the Leaving Cert – or you did complete it and didn’t do so well – you can still go to College. Mature students are accepted to College under different criteria which normally includes an evident interest in the subject area and relevant work experience (though this is not always essential) – the leaving cert. does not feature for the adult learner (23+).

2. I am not very academic – I couldn’t do a degree.

You do not need to be academic to do a degree. Regardless of where you go to college, there will be student supports to help you to develop these skills. You would not be expected to be an expert on all things academic from the start. For example, here in the Open Training College we offer incoming students a range of supports to help develop their academic skills including – though not limited to – reference guide, academic writing guide, reading guide etc. You will develop these skills over the duration of your studies.

3. I am too old to go back to College.

You are never too old to return to learning – learning is a lifelong process and in current times we see this reflected in the variety of adult education opportunities and accessible learning options offered. Here in the Open Training College we have had the pleasure of working with learners of all ages, from those in their twenties up to – and beyond – their sixties. Age is but a number!

4. It is too expensive.

Is education expensive? Yes, it can be – but…..is it worth it? Yes, it definitely is. If returning to full time education, you may qualify for a grant. However, if you are returning on a part time basis there is less financial assistance available. If you are working and your course is relevant to your job, your employer may provide some financial assistance. You should also qualify for a tax rebate on a large portion of your fees. If unemployed the Social Welfare may help with fees and you may keep your payment.
You most likely will need to make some sacrifices but – and I am speaking from personal experience here – it is definitely worth it. You are investing in you – and your families – (better) future – that has got to be worth a punt!

5. I have children – I will not have the time.

Having children can give you more of a challenge but it is not impossible to be in College and have (younger or older) children. Again, from personal experience, I know it can be done – I returned to complete my Level 7 with one small child, I had another two children over the three years of my level 7 and another one in the middle of my MSc studies – trust me, it can be done! Time management is essential and accepting help from those kind enough to offer is also important.

In the words of Walt Disney, ‘if you can dream it, you can do it’