What Adults need to know about Night School

The continuing economic malaise has motivated many adults to return to college either to complete an undergraduate or graduate degree in order to improve their “attractiveness” to current or potential employers. For many, night school serves as a viable option. However, night school can be a daunting task given family and work-related conflicts. What does an adult education student need to know about night school?

Peer Commonality

Night school students are typically working adults with families too. This dynamic can serve as a source of encouragement when students share the same obstacles to completing a degree as an adult learner. Many of them have possibly been out of school for some time and getting back into the routine of school can be a challenge, but the intensity of the challenge can decrease when students share their common experiences with each other.


Night school programs can offer some flexibility over traditional daytime courses. Daytime courses are usually designed for students fresh out of high school so the course requirements tend to be more regimented and time consuming. Instructors often understand the needs of the adult learner are different so they may adapt course requirements to be more practical and less time consuming.  

Night Staffing

Many night instructors are adjunct. Adjunct instructors typically work outside of the university so they can bring real-world and current experiences and information into the classroom. This type of knowledge can be very advantageous especially if students are seeking employment and need a clearer understanding of what is needed in the workforce today.

Time Requirements

Most night time programs design classes to meet one or two days a week rather than three or four. The fewer class meetings are designed to create a convenience for students by limiting the number of nights per week the student must devote to school. However, the trade off is the length of the class is longer than classes that meet more times.

Another time-related factor is that night school may require longer to complete a degree. Night programs often limit the course offerings at night so as a student nears graduation finding the required remaining courses could be a challenge.

Night school has become a necessary reality for many work adults. Most universities have responded to the need by offering night courses and night programs. Night school has advantages and disadvantages. The best rule of thumb perhaps is to conclude: To have time you must make time. If night school is the only viable option for improving employability then it may not be an option any longer. Night school may be a necessity.