Adults of Any Age Can Continue Their Education

Going Back To School Can Be Fun

Go Back to School as an Adult

Learning just might be the new entertainment. It’s a common phrase that “you learn something new every day,” but why not take that literally? Many adults are using their leisure time to be productive and tackle a new skill or subject, and you can too. The National Center for Education Statistics reported that 44 percent of adults participated in continuing education programs in 2005, and that number has probably increased in the last decade. If you’re the kind of person that enjoys documentaries and nonfiction, binge watching TED talks on Netflix and Youtube or poring over tutorials online, taking college classes for leisure might be for you.

There are several reasons for adults to go back school, and a degree isn’t always one of them! Depending on your stage in life, another bachelor or postgraduate degree isn’t valuable or necessary. Instead, many adults who aren’t looking for career advancement, like those nearing retirement or staying at home to care for children, can take classes for the simple sake of learning. Additionally, there is a sense of community and sociality that is gained in the classroom, which adults leaving or not currently involved in the workforce may not have access to. It’s a great way to make friends and connections in your area as well as learning a new skill.

Consider expanding your worldview with classes that focus on history, global policy and economics, or current affairs. Follow a new-found or lifelong passion in the arts–-like theater, music and music history, visual art, and writing. Get in shape with a class for running a 5k, kickboxing, tennis and much more, or focus on nutrition and health with a health science/exercise science class. Or you can always start with a skill nearly everyone desires: learning a new language.

The best part of taking classes without going for a specific degree is having the chance to take the most interesting courses offered on campus. Since there’s no stress to graduate on time or meet any degree requirements, you can pursue your true interests.  For instance, The University of California San Diego, offers the physics of stars, or the music of The Beatles (and Jazz, Opera, and Blues). San Diego City College has courses in cosmetology, dance, and photography (including wedding and fashion photography). For those interested in local history, The University of San Diego offers a course solely on the history of California.  

Most schools offer classes in film, literature, music, and history that have a vast array of interesting special topics. In fact, if you can find a “topics” labeled course, definitely look into it! Those classes change the topic usually each year or semester, so you have an opportunity to learn something unique. Those general areas of study provide broad coverage classes as well as ones with a narrow focus, so you can really fine-tune your learning to something that will interest you.

Sometimes this is called “continued education.” After all, learning is a process that goes beyond your school days, and ideally one that never stops. Continuing your education can be as complex or simple as you like. Community colleges usually offer classes like gardening, art or cooking for adults, or you can opt to brush up on a skill like public speaking, blogging, or computer programs. San Diego Continuing Education is a school with primarily vocational courses,  but offers culinary, sewing and more for those interested in learning a technical skill for fun. SDCE classes are free or low-fee for the community.

Additionally, San Diego State University’s College of Extended Studies and the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) are programs designed for students, graduates, and adults at any stage in life to learn something new. Interested in exploring wine? How about the art of craft beer and food pairing? There’s even a course on the history of Balboa Park. Course pricing varies from free to about $115, but the cost goes down if you become a member of OLLI.

Most schools also provide online options for taking courses. While this diminishes the social value of going to class, it does allow for accommodation to busy schedules. Stay-at-home parents might benefit from online classes, as well as people who travel frequently or prefer not to commute.

Clearly, the opportunities are endless. No matter your age or experience, there’s still something new to learn, anywhere you go. Be sure to check out schools, universities, and continued education programs in the area and their course catalogs, most of which are available to view online. If you still have questions about taking classes, set up a meeting with a college advisor. Just because your formal education might be finished doesn’t mean you can’t still discover new things and explore different concepts. Take charge of your learning and sign up for something new today!

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