A look at Age Diversity in the College Classroom

Today’s classroom environments are pretty diverse in age. Years ago college classes used to be somewhat segregated by age. This was not an intentional structure, but it was just the way it tended to work out.

Traditionally younger students went to school during the day and working adults, often referred to as non-traditional students, attended class in the evening.  On many college campus in today’s society chances are you’d find a very different scenario.

No longer are daytime classes primarily populated by younger students who went to college after high school, and consequently night time classes are no longer reserved for the working adults. Add distance learning to the mix and this further increases age diversity in the college classroom.

The mix of age diversified students in the college classroom comes with many advantages. Since both younger and older students have different life experiences, perspectives and insight, this can really enhance the learning experience, making it a better educational journey for all.

While both age groups of students experience vast levels of change, the road that led them to the college classroom is typically a different route. This factor alone makes for an interesting learning experience because each population can draw on the other’s experiences to gain additional wisdom and/or insight into lessons or classroom discussions.

Adult students who return to college typically carry a unique set of circumstances that led them back into the classroom. On the other hand, recent high school graduates often enroll as to not break the momentum of learning to work towards a future and/or because it’s expected by their parents they continue.

When a person heads off to college after graduating high school, this is a huge transition, but the student is already in their proverbial groove for going to class and studying. A traditional student’s biggest priority is their schoolwork. They’ve yet to start their careers and are in the preparation stages of moving into adulthood. Chances are most of their high school years have been nurturing them towards this very moment.

On the other hand, the adult students usually come with an entirely different set of circumstances that led them to pursue higher education. When non-traditional students enroll they typically already have careers, families and for some, college had to be put off in order to take care of other responsibilities first.

Most classrooms in colleges today are very age diversified and the chances are good there will be other people in your type of situation taking classes if you decide to enroll in a degree program. There are significant advantages to age diversified classes because the various generations can learn a lot from one another.