Returning to School as an Adult
School days have changed rather dramatically in the last 10 or so years. School, particularly higher education, is no longer just for the kids. “School” can take place just about anywhere, in the community, in hospitals, in companies, in social service organizations, not only in schools. Actually school days don’t even have to be days! You can go to school in the evening, on the weekends, electronically from a computer in your home or the local library, or a combination of any of these options.
According to Association for Nontraditional Students in Higher Education (ANTSHE) 47% of new and returning students on today’s college campuses are 25 years old or older.
And, what is even more interesting is the students of today are more likely to be older with lots of competing responsibilities like work and families and even extended family. But in spite of, or maybe because of, these additional responsibilities, the students of today are motivated to improve themselves, to get a better job, to act as a role model for the kids around them, or even just to finish something they started or wished they had started. Going to school as an adult is a big step but one that many adults are making. According to Association for Nontraditional Students in Higher Education (ANTSHE) 47% of new and returning students on today’s college campuses are 25 years old or older.
From a teaching perspective I find it so exhilarating to be part of a program for adult returning students. I find I learn far more than I teach. Each student brings a wealth of experience to the class room, where ever that is and how ever it is configured. Traditional aged students don’t have the experience to immediately apply what they are learning. The classroom experience is more directive. While a class of adult students spends time reflecting on their experience and linking theory to their practice, as they apply their new knowledge to work and home. As an adult returning student you want to be sure that you are with people who have similar levels of experience. They don’t need to have the same experiences, in fact you want to surround yourself with people who allow you to push and stretch yourself, but they have to bring additional experience to the classroom.
There are other things to consider when you go back to school as a more mature student. Choose the right school; find one committed to the adult student, not just as new source of revenue but a university that has a history of educating adult students. When a school has a rich history of serving the adult student population then the faculty are prepared to engage in dialogue with you, not to talk at you.
Going back to school is a good investment. Unemployment rates for college graduates are substantially lower than the rates for those without. But also consider what education does for the community. How does the number of college graduates impact the local community? How can your education impact the health of your own community? There is a relationship and one you should know about.
Unemployment rates for college graduates are substantially lower than the rates for those without.