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Life Lessons: Back to school at 30, 40 and beyond

By Nancy Werteen, Anchor / Reporter, NWerteen@wfmz.com
Published On: Mar 11 2014 04:00:00 AM CDT

Life Lessons: Back to school at 30, 40 and beyond

Adrian Lang thought about going back to college for years, but at 47 she decided it was finally time.

"I didn’t want to be wondering at the end of my life should I have tried it," says Lang.

Now, Lang is working toward a master’s degree in social work. At six weeks in, she’s keeping up, but says the challenges are different this time around.

"Finding out how much quicker these younger kids can do it, I’m just amazed," she said.

College admissions expert Marjorie Hansen Shaevitz says while it might be intimidating, it’s never too late to go back to school.

"Almost all the students that I see in that category not only get in, but they totally excel because they know who they are,” says Shaevitz. "They know what they want to do."

If you’re considering going back, here are some tips:

Conduct information interviews, where you talk to people in your desired field.

Also, shadow them and volunteer to find out if you really like the work.

"Do the homework, so you know exactly what you want to do," Shaevitz explained.

Also, take a community college class first to gauge your skills.

Find an advisor who can walk you through your options, and look for financial aid.

You can fill out a free application for federal aid at fafsa.edu.gov.

Remember that scholarships are available for older students too, and don’t be afraid of failure.

"If you don’t make it the first time around, try it again," Shaevtiz said. "If you don’t make it the second time around, try it again."

Lang hopes her degree will land her a job in the mental health field, but for now she ís enjoying being a student again.

"My life’s exciting again," she said.

A couple  of additional tips:

Make sure you also cash in on tax credits for students, partnering up with other peers your age can be helpful.

Use any campus resources such as tutoring to help you succeed.