It’s all a matter of the objective of the student as to what is actually received from a college education. As an older student, I can say that it was the right thing for me to do, simply because when I was 18, I thought I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. After taking some classes, I found out that I didn’t have a clue. So I did leave school. I worked several jobs, found out what I was good at and what I liked to do.
While I was one who had to learn more about myself to continue to develop my education, I was so jealous of those who did it after high school. They didn’t have children and a job to work their homework schedule around. They had struggles in their own way, balancing social skills on top of education. But, I wouldn’t change the way I did it, just because that’s what it took for me to know. But that’s not a reason to assume that the young bucks fresh from high school don’t have any idea what they want and can’t take just as much out of the learning process as you or I did.
That being said, I knew many students, and had many friends, who knew exactly what they were after in life and proceeded forward. I don’t doubt for an instant they got the most possible out of their college experience. It might even be argued that the young ones get more out of their college experiences than the older ones do because traditional colleges are social, and as an older student, I didn’t spend any time socializing. I was busy getting home to my family, or running back to work. With continued progression towards online colleges, it’s even more about the education, and from my own experience with online classes, one definitely has to be motivated to learn to be able to succeed online.
To say that one has to be older to really “know what they’re getting,” is just like saying the youth of today don’t know how easy they have it because when we were young, we walked five miles in the snow, uphill both ways, to get to school and we were darn happy to have the opportunity to learn. It’s all about the desire, not always the life experiences. About the person, not the age.