Going Back To School at 25

Adults returning to school may have been a unique sight to behold in the past. Nowadays, not only has it become a lot more commonplace, the trend is actually on the rise and projected to get even higher. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the number of students aged 25 and older enrolled in college has increased by 41% since 2000.

More particularly among the demographics of those who return to school, returning to school at 25 years old comes with its own set of unique challenges as well as strategies to overcome these challenges and succeed academically.

To ensure you fall into the category of numerous success stories who look back at their times going back to school as the best of their lives, it is imperative that you understand both these challenges and how to overcome them.

The article below should help immensely in this regard.

What is Unique About Going Back to School at 25?

Students who go to school at 25 often do so from a position with a lot of peculiar considerations. Below are just a few examples of these. Quick Turnaround

Firstly, a 25 year old going back to school is likely to have just recently finished their initial round of education. For this reason, they often don’t have a lot of work experience under their belts. This matters because sometimes going back to school with actual real-life, hands-on experience under your belt is always a good situation to be in.

Figuring Things Out

As an extension to the fact that they may only have finished their initial round of education not too long ago, 25-year-olds going back to school often happen to be in the middle of figuring out what they want to do with their life.

Sometimes, in fact, they may have just graduated from college and realized that they are not passionate about their chosen field, or they may have spent a few years working in a job they don’t enjoy and are now seeking a career change.

This can make going back to school a bit more daunting.

Extra Layer of Pressure

25-year-Olds going back to school often do so with the added pressure of having to establish themselves in a career or field of study as fast as possible. Unlike older individuals who may have already accumulated significant professional experience, a 25 year old may feel a sense of urgency to complete their studies and begin building their career as soon as possible.

Limited Program Options

Lastly, some 25-year-olds going back to school may have limited program options due to their previous academic background or work experience. This can limit their choices and force them to choose a program that may not align with their interests or career goals.

General Challenges

Apart from the unique considerations of going back to school at 25, those who choose to embark upon the journey often face some general challenges that anyone returning to school will face, no matter the age. These include:

Financial Constraints

Just like their older counterparts, 25 year olds may face challenges related to the financial burden of returning to school. This is even more pronounced if they happen to still be paying off student loans from their undergraduate degrees.

Balancing the cost of tuition with other financial obligations can be a significant obstacle for many individuals in this age group.

Balancing Work and School

Unlike younger or older students, 25-year-olds are often in a delicate position where they have just enough freedom to handle their financial responsibilities on their own, but not enough work experience to have earned a lot of money.

Moreover, they will have to navigate between work or family responsibilities that can make it difficult to balance schoolwork with other commitments.

Adjusting to a New Environment

While 25 isn’t considered that old to be returning to school, sometimes it can be something of a culture shock for 25-year-olds to see how much the academic environment has changed since the last time they were there.

This is even more common for those who happened to have completed their initial round of education at a young age and have been out of the academic world for a few years.

They may need to adapt to new teaching styles, technology, and social norms on campus, which can be slightly overwhelming.

Leveraging Advantages as a 25-Year Old Going Back to School

Thankfully, there are several advantages that a 25-year-old going back to school can utilize to their benefit. Some of the most important include the following.

Technology Skills

Compared to older individuals returning to school, most 25 year olds would have grown up in a digital age, and as such they would, generally, be more proficient in using technology and have a better understanding of how to navigate online platforms and software.

This can be particularly useful in online classes and when using various software programs for school-related work. Not having to spend so much time being frustrated by, and having to acclimatize to, new technology can go a long way in easing the journey and making it a lot smoother.

Fresh Perspective

A fresh perspective can go a long way. And most times, the best way to acquire a fresh perspective is to take some time away and deviate from what is deemed the “regular path”.

25-year-olds who have spent a few years away from the academic world, or those who have gone further and spent some time in the workforce are usually lucky enough to possess this fresh perspective.

By gaining valuable experience and developing a unique outlook on the field they want to study, they often have an advantage in class discussions and project work.

Support System

Unlike older adults who may have more familial and financial obligations, 25-year-olds may have a stronger support system in terms of family, friends, and peers who are also pursuing similar academic goals. This can provide a source of motivation and accountability throughout their academic journey.


Lastly, and just as important as the rest, an advantage that 25-year-olds can always use to their advantage is their higher propensity to adapt to new environments. A lot of this has to do with the fact that most 25-year-olds are still at a stage where they are flexible and adaptable to change.

Nothing phases them, and they can relate with regular students more conveniently. All of these can be useful in adjusting to the academic environment and its demands.

Making the Most of the Situation - Tips and Advice

Along with leveraging their inherent advantages, 25 year olds going back to school will also do well to follow the tips and advice below for an even smoother, and more successful experience returning to school:

  • Setting clear goals: Before enrolling in a program, it’s essential to identify why you want to pursue further education and what you hope to achieve. Setting specific goals will help you stay focused and motivated throughout your academic journey.

  • Research your options: There are many different programs and institutions available, so take the time to research and compare your options. Consider factors such as cost, location, program length, and course offerings when making your decision.

    We provide some noteworthy alternatives in this regard in the next section below.

  • Utilize resources: As a student, you’ll have access to many resources that can help you succeed, including academic advisors, tutors, and career services. Don’t be afraid to reach out and utilize these resources to their full potential.

  • Stay motivated: Going back to school can be challenging, but staying motivated is key to success. Most would say 25 year olds would have a harder time staying motivated than, say, 30 year olds or 40 year olds, but there’s nothing that says this should be a rule. Surround yourself with a supportive network of family, friends, and classmates, and celebrate your achievements along the way.

  • Take advantage of your youth: As mentioned above, being a younger student can be an advantage in many ways. You may have more energy, be more adaptable, and have a better grasp of current technology and trends. Use these advantages to your benefit and embrace the opportunities that come with being a younger student.

Choosing a Program

There is no shortage of programs and institutions that can be particularly suitable for 25-year-olds returning to school. The one you end up going with will often depend on your interests, career goals, and sometimes financial constraints.

At any rate, below are some factors that you should always consider when choosing the right program for you.

  • Accreditation: Regardless of which institution you end up going with, one thing you should never compromise on is accreditation. Choosing an accredited program or institution ensures that the education you receive will be recognized and respected by employers and other professional institutions.

    It also makes certification and licensing a lot easier and more straightforward.

  • Flexibility: Many 25-year-olds may have work or family obligations that require a flexible schedule. Look for programs that offer online or evening classes, part-time options, or other scheduling accommodations.

  • Career Services: Look for programs or institutions that offer career services such as resume building, job search assistance, and networking opportunities. This can be particularly helpful for those who are transitioning to a new career or looking to advance in their current one.

  • Specialized Programs: Some 25-year-olds may be looking for programs that offer a specific area of study or training. Research institutions that offer specialized programs in fields such as technology, healthcare, or business.

  • Cost: Cost is always a consideration when returning to school, so look for institutions that offer financial aid or scholarships to help offset the cost of tuition.

Summary & Conclusion

Going back to school at any age comes with its own unique challenges and opportunities. Being a 25-year-old is no exception. In this position, your challenges may be different from that of a 30-year-old, 40-year-old, or 50-year-old, but it is important to understand and overcome them.

Additionally, you will often find yourself with some inherent advantages over others, which you must maximize to the fullest. These include having a fresh perspective and being more adaptable to change.

Don’t hesitate to carefully consider the program and institution you choose to attend, seek out financial aid options, and make the most of your experience through internships and networking opportunities.

Do these, and you’ll be a step closer to having the time of your life going back to school, improving yourself and enjoying a better position in life.

Ryan Collins
Written by

Ryan Collins

Empowering minds with engaging insights and innovative learning strategies.