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Life as a Phoenix

Learn from our students and alumni who pursued their educational goals at University of Phoenix while balancing school, work and life.

Going back to school at 30 isn't impossible

By Brian Fairbanks


At a glance

  • It's never too late to earn a degree. There are challenges that might hold you back from attending college, but online college programs make it easier to fit school into your busy schedule.
  • Potential benefits of earning a bachelor's degree include finding a new job and increasing your income.
  • There are many financial aid options available to adult learners returning to school.
  • University of Phoenix offers online-based programs and flexible class schedules, among other perks, that make it possible for adults learners to go back to school.

Going back to school at age 30 is easier than ever, thanks to flexible school programs. And you’re never too old to graduate, increase your earning potential or create more opportunities to apply for jobs that require a bachelor’s degree.

If you didn’t finish college or never attended in the first place, the idea of getting a degree may feel increasingly overwhelming as each year passes. Maybe you have a full-time job and a young family to support and care for. Maybe you’re worried you don’t have enough money saved or you live too far away from a good school. These obstacles can all hold you back unnecessarily. Not only are online college programs a convenient way to bypass geography and scheduling conflicts, but there are also many great reasons to go back to school, including the possibility of landing a new job and earning more money, or just knowing that you went for it and succeeded in earning a bachelor’s degree, which is something special in and of itself.

Here’s why you should consider investing in a degree program if you are 30 or older.



Is 30 too old to go back to school?

The short answer is no. Going back to school at 30 years old (or 40 or 50) may seem daunting, but with the right college degree program and a determination to succeed, you’ll be on the road to earning your degree. Read on to learn why a student of any age should strongly consider completing a bachelor’s degree program or attending graduate school — and how to pull it off.


How to go back to school at age 30

Attending college the traditional way — in person, on a dedicated campus, for hours and hours every week — may be impossible for adult students who have work schedules and personal responsibilities. (Think child care, full- and part-time jobs, commuting distance, etc.). Life happens, after all.

There’s a simple solution, however, for adult students who have the desire to learn but not always the time and space to attend a traditional university: online classes. University of Phoenix offers college classes that are entirely online that help you balance school with your life, work and family. In addition to online classes, optional, in-person classes are also occasionally available on campus, so the collaborative, in-person experience is there for those who want it. This allows students to get their Bachelor of Science in Communication, Bachelor of Science in Nursing and other available degrees from anywhere, at any time.


What’s college like for adult learners?

Adult students often juggle a lot of commitments, the first usually being work, whether that’s a full-time job or multiple part-time positions. They may have families to care for, a mortgage and other responsibilities.

But enrollment in an online degree program fits right in with those commitments. Instead of adjusting your schedule to a course, you can make the classes, which are available 24/7, accommodate your life. Students can also take one course at a time — or whatever schedule best fits their personal and professional lives.


This flexible approach to classes extends to all aspects of the experience. You can engage with your classmates, many of whom will come from diverse backgrounds with varying levels of real-world experience, as much or as little as you like. With online learning, the transition back to school is customizable to your needs and preferences.


How do I pick a degree program?

Are you interested in healthcare or nursing? What about marketing, education or criminal justice? Have you thought about starting your own business?


University of Phoenix can help adult students get on the right track toward earning a bachelor’s degree and breaking into these and other fields. 

Whether you’re looking for a Bachelor of Science in Management degree, a Bachelor of Science in Health Administration degree or a Bachelor of Arts in English degree, you can find your path among the University’s more than 100 degree and certificate programs. Not sure where to start? Simply identifying an area of interest is the first step toward learning more about which careers are available.


Why go to grad school?

As the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) notes, among all people working in management, professional and related occupations in the United States in 2016, nearly two-thirds had a bachelor’s degree, 85% had their master’s, and more than 9 out of 10 had a doctoral degree. The bar, in other words, is set. To work in academia, the corporate world or medicine, most people choose to pursue a graduate degree.

University of Phoenix is an online graduate school that offers greater flexibility than a traditional campus. Instead of getting stuck with strict, in-person classes that adhere to a schedule that’s not your own, and instead of having to visit a campus that could be an hour or more away from home, you can attend online classes even with your kids in the room, between double shifts or on your own time. You can get your Master of Science in Administration of Justice and Security, Master of Science in Psychology degree, your doctorate and more degrees, including several other master’s programs.


What are the financial-aid options for adults returning to school?

When it comes to paying for college, you may not have to go it alone. From Federal Financial Aid programs to scholarships, adult learners seeking bachelor’s degrees or master’s degrees have numerous options when it comes to covering the upfront costs of school.

For starters, college students going back to school at 30 might consider applying for financial aid from the federal government, as detailed here, to partly cover tuition. Applying is free. (Make sure you use University of Phoenix’s FAFSA code for student applications when you do so: 014593.) University of Phoenix also offers credits for real-world experience and/or previous courses in some situations. Contact us today to learn more about these and other financial options.


What new jobs should I expect to get after completing a degree program?

Completing a bachelor’s degree in any field can open new doors. Many office, corporate and academic recruiters note in their job listings that a bachelor’s degree is required from applicants, especially for roles in the white-collar world and even from candidates with decades of experience in a given sector.

The BLS recognizes 174 major professions that "typically [require] a bachelor’s degree for entry." Furthermore, those professions are expected to grow by 10% between 2016 and 2026.



Why get a degree from University of Phoenix

Beyond the online-based programs, there are many reasons why taking college courses toward a bachelor’s degree through University of Phoenix is a good idea. Among other perks, adult learners enjoy:

  • Career Services for Life™. University of Phoenix has a talented team available to all program graduates for the rest of their lives. For consultations and career help, as well as access to tools and resources to get on the right track, contact us.
  • Exceptional flexibility. For more than four decades, University of Phoenix has been working with adults to set them up with an educational schedule that they can handle alongside their outside responsibilities. With up to 10 start dates annually, University of Phoenix invites you to get started whenever you’re ready!
  • The ability to earn your degree without starting from scratch. On average, students at University of Phoenix who are taking courses toward a bachelor's degree and who have preexisting and eligible college course credits and/or life experience related to their chosen field can save thousands of dollars each year on their undergraduate degree costs. Visit our website for details.

You’ll never be too old to go back to school, whether it’s for your bachelor’s degree or to start graduate school. With student loans, scholarships, financial aid and the right online university, adult students can find the resources they need to put themselves on a rewarding path to success.

To learn more about how University of Phoenix makes earning an education possible for working adults, visit

Need advice on how to study at home with kids? University alumna and online teacher Rebekah Poe shares her top five tips. Read the article.


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As pioneers in online higher education since 1989, University of Phoenix is an accredited online university for working adults. We are proud to offer quality educational pathways through flexible, career-focused online degrees, certificates and professional development courses that fit into your life and options to save you time and money. Our students are supported every step of the way, including career services for life.

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