As the dog days of summer draw to a close, it’s time to turn our attention to the classroom. “Back to School” season is now in full swing, and students around the country have furiously begun preparing for the upcoming school year. But there are also a number of new and emerging avenues for personal and career development that people are taking advantage of.

Why? Because a growing number of adults are opting instead to pursue education later in life. In 2014 alone, more than 8 million students over the age of 25 were pursuing advanced education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics–and that number is expected to rise to 9.6 million by 2020.

The reasons for these numbers are as varied as the individuals they represent: some may have joined the military at a young age or decided to first save money or start a family, while others may have experienced life transitions like having kids or becoming caretakers of elderly loved ones. For others, pursuing education later in life may have allowed them to undertake passion projects at a younger age.

Finding the Right Learning Fit for Adult Ed

It is easier than ever to design the path of educational growth and development that works for the individual at any age or stage, thanks to an abundance of tools and resources that allow for increased convenience and flexibility.

A variety of programs and platforms exist for skill development, such as online learning and digital tools that focus on teaching new (or developing existing) professional skills. These offerings are also more accessible than ever before, and appeal to modern learners who are looking for new, convenient and cost-effective resources.

Today’s adult ed students also understand that education is not a one-size-fits-all proposition: they value a personalized productivity path. A number of resources are at their disposal, making it possible to craft the curriculum, learning style and schedule that best fit their lives. Such options provide flexibility, allowing for side gigs well as personal projects alongside a primary career, encouraging well-roundedness and emotional fulfillment.

(Next page: Adult ed learning programs and pathways popular right now)


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