There are quite a few reasons why you will get more out of a college education when you are older. The term that is used is a non traditional student. The term doesn’t make sense because you are never to old to learn. Look at people that are graduate students working on the Masters or Doctorate level degree. Are they also non traditional students because they are a little bit older than just out of high school?
I was one of these so called non traditional students. I served my country for 6 years then went for my higher education. This is why I can honestly tell you about the benefits of waiting a little longer than a summer break to start your college experience.
The reasons in question can be summed up with a single inclusive concept. Maturity, that is, experience with life in the real world. The way that we have set up our current education system we expect kids to make a decision on what they want to spend thousands and thousands of dollars on as well as what their career will be after only 90 days out of high school. Let us not forget that the guidance they get for this decision is largely based on a hour interview with an under paid high school guidance counselor. All of these huge choices are made before the kid can even legally get into a bar to drink.
If we have the young people wait a few years, work in the real world whether it is military or a fast food restaurant job, they have some time to grow up. Depending on what the jobs they have in this time period, it would greatly help the choices they make about their future. In this case what type of education they will need for the future job that they want. The life experiences that an individual can gain in the years between the ages of 19 and 25 are invaluable. You grow up, you learn what you like and dislike. The career that was your golden ticket on high school graduation day can truly become very drab and dreary if you have done some time in the trenches as an office clerk or an intern.
This very thing happened to me. After sitting through many hours of lectures, writing papers, and especially useless elective classes to be able to teach, I discovered that teaching history wasn’t for me. I have since kept history as a hobby which I love, instead of a job I hate. This was after I went to school as a non traditional student, what would have happened if I was a young kid and went along with “the plan” and became just another stiff that hated my job. Waste of time, resources and most important my life.
The other half of it isn’t nearly as deep. If you wait to attend an institution higher learning, you will get a staple of college life out of your system. The time honored tradition of the party. If you are older, that is, what is known as a non tradition student hopefully you have gotten the desire to chase girls and beer out of your system. In this manner you are in school to do what you are suppose to do. Learn. It is a crazy concept but I think that it is a viable one.
There would of course be exceptions to this idea, but if we waited just a few years to send our little ones to that ultra expensive college, then maybe just maybe we could have a generation of youth that actually is educated and could help to better society versus filling up the line at the unemployment office.