Explaining Trend of Older non Traditional Students Return to School

Classrooms in colleges are no longer filled with post high school graduates. As a higher number of older students find their way back to college, today’s classrooms are filled with students of all ages.

It seems in the last decade or so adult enrollees have increased significantly and this trend only continues to be on the upswing. Most universities have recognized this movement and have developed ways to accommodate non-traditional students to be able to pursue a college degree.

With so many colleges offering a myriad of learning opportunities, student populations are more diverse in age than ever before. There are many reasons why adults are returning to school.

*Compete in the Job Market

Job markets are highly competitive and the applicant with the college degree has a definitive edge over the one which doesn’t have higher education on their resume.

In a shaky economy jobs frequently come at a premium and it is to a job seeker’s advantage to obtain a college degree in order to have a shot at the jobs they apply for.


Many people want to move up that proverbial corporate ladder and without a college degree the chances of this happening have decreased significantly. With more and more job titles requiring higher education, the opportunities for advancement often come to a dead stop without a college degree.

As a result many people looking to advance further in their careers are returning to school in order to be considered for promotions.

*Gain Marketable Skills

The world is changing as technology attaches itself to many facets of life and society. Most jobs are evolving due to the technical explosion and as a result older students are finding the traditional skills are no longer as viable in the workplace.

Due to technology jobs are being automated, eliminated or altered and those who want to keep up with the pace often return to school to either gain these skills or retrain to learn something else. The more education a person has, the more diverse their job opportunities will be.

While traditional skill sets are still important, today’s job require newer schools of thought and technical skills unlike ever before. Obtaining them through education helps increase marketable skills to either grow in a current job or pursue a new one.

*Personal and Professional Growth

As some jobs become obsolete, this is a prime opportunity for people who’ve always wanted to make a career change to take charge and do it. Going back to school allows for both personal and professional growth.

Additionally, many older students feel they’ve missed out on getting that college degree but never had the chance to pursue one. Now with so many various learning opportunities being offered by colleges, there are ample prospects to consider in order to get that coveted degree.

Inability is no longer a reason to delay pursuing education if that is what someone wants because colleges have made learning truly equal opportunity. Going back to school after many years, or in some cases, decades is a great feeling and many older students are enjoying the benefits of learning.

*Job Security

Many of today’s employers are looking at higher education in their employees. While it is true that some people are “grandfathered” in because they’ve been with an organization for a long time, there are many employers who are actively seeking employees who have a college education.

In this age of lay-offs and downsizing, a person has a better chance of holding onto a job if credentials include a college education. While someone may not be fired per se for not having a college degree, employees without one may find opportunities for advancement limited and if there are layoffs made, chances are their position may be targeted.

In today’s world there is no “set” age to describe the typical college student. Student classrooms seat a variety of ages and there is no reason to think the trend of older students returning to college will decrease. Many people want to pursue college because it is a grand opportunity to grow personally and professionally.