Returning to College as an Adult Student

Many adults are returning to college as non-traditional students. They may choose to return to college for any number of reasons: they may want to do so in order to move up in employment, or they may decide to finish something they started long ago and couldn’t finish for whatever reason.

Some adults may not have had the money with which to go to college, but now find that there are a host of possible ways to fund college. Then there are some who decide that it’s finally time to take care of themselves; they may have been caring for a family for many years, and the kids are finally old enough to be more self sufficient.

Here is a look at what adults bring to a college and the specific needs that adults may have in order to make it possible to return to college. Some of these needs aren’t all that different from what young people look for when considering colleges.

*What adults bring to the college environment –

The reasons why an adult decides to return to college are of little importance in the grand scheme of things. These people are motivated, responsible, dedicated students who set a good example for younger students. They tend to come to class prepared, come on time, don’t skip classes and don’t leave their assignments until the last minute. Some of these adults who return to college are trying to juggle full time employment and the chance to get a college degree.

*Accommodating a new type of student –

Recognizing that there was this new niche to fill in terms of class offerings and scheduling courses, many colleges and universities have developed adult education programs or programs that allow students who work full time to take classes on Saturdays and evenings. They have also adapted the academic curriculum to fit this need. The Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies or General Studies is an outgrowth of this.

*Making financial aid available for adult students –

Another way by which colleges and universities and the federal government try to keep up with the changing demographic of college populations is that they offer financial aid for these non-traditional students who are seeking degrees. The amount of aid that one receives will be contingent on the level of need. In some cases, adults who are opting to return to college can get credit for their life experiences, another way by which institutions of higher learning are attempting to recognize that there is more to learning than that which can be learned from books or in a class room.

On occasion, adults who are returning to college may wind up in traditional daytime classes. Although it was once very unusual to see these students in college classes, it is becoming more and more common as people see the need to solidify their employment position, change careers due to unemployment, a desire to find greater employment security, or even to fulfill a life long dream of getting a college degree.

The adult college student is becoming a fixture on college campuses. As times change, so do people’s circumstances, and there is no reason why any adult who wishes to return to college shouldn’t have the same opportunity that would be afforded to a young recent high school graduate. These adults are areal asset to the classes in which they are enrolled. They set a great example for young people and show these kids how perseverance, discipline and determination can pay off.