Do older students get more out of their college education? In many cases, they probably do. Older students are usually either paying their own way or getting tuition help from their employment. Students who have a monetary investment in their education tend to focus more on success. Older students are also usually more sure of what their goals are. They tend to go to college for a specific degree that will help them get ahead in their career.
Often, older students are married and/or have children, so getting an education has to fit in with other responsibilities. If a busy person is willing to sacrifice time and money to attain a college degree, it seems logical that they would work hard to see that the sacrifice was worth it. Older students may have also had the experience of being passed over for promotions because they lack a college degree. The first time that happens, a person would understand the potential value of higher education and take it more seriously.
On the other hand, an eighteen year old young adult may or may not know what he or she wants to do with their college degree. People who are just out of high school may be going away from home for the first time, dealing with the freedom and responsibilities that go along with that new experience. Eighteen year olds are usually much less mature than thirty year olds (though there are plenty of exceptions). It makes sense that along with the academic work that comes with going to college, there is also the necessary process of growing up that can make college life harder.
A young college student may have always been a good student in high school, but may find college work more challenging. Of course, some younger students may actually find college work less difficult and slack off a bit because of that.
Many young college students are also not paying their own way. While this may not be an issue for some students, those students whose parents are subsidizing the costs of their educations do not seem to take the process of getting a degree as seriously other students do. They may know that their education is costing thousands of dollars, but until they’ve actually had to pay for it themselves, it may not hit close enough to home for them to understand how much work earning that money can be.
The gap year is probably a good idea for recent high school graduates. It isn’t always something that is considered when a person is eighteen, but when they’re older, they can see the value in it. It can be a good idea for young adults to take a year to collect themselves, take an adventure, and develop some life skills. And then, when they’re ready to give college their best shot, invest the money in going to school for a degree. As the economy continues to tank in the United States, maybe more young adults will consider taking some time before taking the leap into college.