Studying in your 30s: Advantages and arguments for going back to university

Written by: Christina Pichler, 15.09.2020

At the age of 30, you are in the prime of your life and simultaneously somewhere inbetween freedom and responsibility. You have already gained first important professional experiences, you are enjoying a certain level of living comfort far away from the chaos of flat shares and you often have the money you need to afford a higher standard of living. You have arrived in your 30s. However, that is no reason to stop studying. It is actually not uncommon to re-orientate yourself professionally or to study for the first time after you have cracked the 30 mark.

Are you just wondering whether studying at 30, 40 or 50 is the right step or whether you are already too old to study? We have summarized some important arguments for you, and we definitely want to highlight that studying over 30 brings many advantages!

Studying in your 30s: Going for it

Starting a degree after the age of 30 usually means that you have a very specific goal in mind and actually want to pursue it. Immediately after school, you are often overwhelmed with the wide range of options. Many young people do not know what they want to do after graduation or make big compromises when choosing a degree. Most of the time you only really get to know yourself with increasing years of life and work experience. You are more likely to know your talents, what you expect from life and have an idea of ​​what every day work should look like for you. You already found out what you don’t want (anymore) and that is perhaps the most important point.

Choosing a study programme at that age is usually more carefully considered because there are some obstacles to overcome. However, this is alright because the probability is very high that the course content actually fits your own interests. If you want to consolidate your decision, these questions can also help you to find the right place to study.

You’re never too old to learn something new

It is often said that learning is easier the younger you are and you will probably be one of the older but at the same time very experienced students. The most important criterion for choosing a study programme is that you are interested in the topic and you can assess that much better with increasing age, as we have heard before.

Age does not matter when you are studying, all that matters is your drive and interest in your studies. In addition, did you know that there are also retirees who are guest students at universities? Do not worry you do not have to hide because of your age!

You are the senior of the course? Pretty cool – for everyone!

Yes, we are serious! Your age and experience make you stand out. If you fear that university will be more difficult as an “oldie” and that you will attract unwanted attention in the classroom, we want you to drop these worries. Do not compare yourself to others, just look at yourself and your experience. Have you already successfully completed an apprenticeship, worked or made up for your Matura during that time? Have you done your bachelor’s degree, worked a few years and are now adding your master’s degree? Are you continuing your education in a completely new area because your previous actual career aspiration did not suit you – for whatever reason? Great, be proud of yourself! Share your experiences, because everyone can benefit from it. This also applies to you: Moving in a younger and at the same time more dynamic environment can be a great enrichment. Try to be open to what your fellow students can give you and what you can give them. In addition, you are certainly not the only person in the lecture hall who participates in the “Studying 30 plus” project.

Part-time courses: If not you, then who?

Many universities and technical colleges offer part-time courses and some even do distance learning. This way you can continue your work and keep a steady income during this time. This category of study programs is more likely to appeal to people with professional experience and is particularly recommended if you want to study without changing your entire rhythm of life. Educational leave or part-time training can also be agreed with the employer and is aimed at anyone who does not want to give up their job while they are continuing their education. Studying doesn’t need to change your entire life. Don’t be afraid to find out about your options!

Graduates over 30: You are attractive to employers

CVs and career orientations can be a little wilder and more colorful these days, and as long as they can be explained, there is nothing wrong with that! If you are over 30 and dare to go back to university, it definitely speaks for your willpower, your ambition and your flexibility. Do not forget that you have learned something at every state of your life. Even if you head off to a completely new profession after graduation: You will always have more experience than graduates who are working full-time for the first time in their lives.

Solutions for financial and other obstacles

If you cannot make use of part-time or parental leave, a classic full-time course often means having to adjust your standard of living a little. This is not always easy since we are creatures of habit. Your interest in the learning content however, should motivate you to find solutions for every obstacle. Perhaps you can get a part-time job through your professional network that pays a decent hourly wage. Perhaps you have been able to save yourself a small amount through your first jobs or you are in a supportive partnership. Your life experience will help you find a solution. We at STUWO have summarized what kind of student financing is available in Austria.

Student life cliché: When you are over 30 you are in a completely different place

Society has its very own image of the typical student: they seem to magically get by financially – with mini-jobs, study grants or support from their parents. They live in small shared apartments, where it is never really clean. People go out for every happy hour, even if there is a lecture the next morning.
This may sound rather unsexy when you are already over 30 and it might be hard to identify if you’re used to a certain standard of living. However, keep in mind that we are talking about a cliché that some, but by no means all, students fulfill. In addition, due to your seniority – you have other options than pumping your parents, as our article shows. Live your life in your own way – no matter what others say about it.

Family, children and university? It works!

The biological clock puts a lot of pressure on women in particular. Because being over 30 also means you don’t have too much time thinking about starting a family. The desire to have a family of your own is of course not uncommon in this phase of life. Maybe you already have a family and you doubt whether you can meet all demands. The fact that you are exposed to a double burden should certainly not be overlooked. However, some universities and colleges have their own kindergartens. Perhaps you have a partner or grandma and grandpa, who can support you. Solutions can definitely be found, if your deepest desire is to start studying. In an emergency, however, you can also wait a year if your family situation does not currently allow it.

We were able to provide you with a few powerful arguments for studying in your 30`s ? Great. Perhaps you are still missing a suitable place to stay that meets your living standards. Take a look at the list of our modern STUWO student apartments throughout Austria, which are great for everyone over 30. We hope you enjoy studying and keep chasing your dreams!


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