Understanding Obstacles Adult Students Face
Most students who complete a college education do so in a traditional timeline – they start college in the year or two following high school, earn a degree, and contemplate earning an advanced degree or joining the work force. However, you can also become a college graduate as an “adult student.” Now, most college students are over the age of 18 and technically adults, but the term “adult student” is typically used for those who have spent time working or starting a family and choose to return to college several years or even decades after graduating from high school. Adult students face a number of challenges.
The Time Challenge
As an adult student, you likely already have a life outside of the educational system, which might include a full-time job, a spouse, and even children. Finding the time for college can be difficult. Adult students can choose to take classes part time, but no matter how many classes you take every semester, you’ll be expected to keep up with traditional students. So keep this in mind as you’re scheduling classes. A full-time schedule might be too daunting.
The Money Challenge
School can also be expensive as an adult student. While there are definitely financial aid options for all students, when you’re in high school, it’s easier to jump right into college and find scholarships and grants to cover the cost of education. As an adult student, especially if you go to school part time, this can be more challenging. Additionally, you likely no longer have financial help from mom and dad, which is something many (though not all) college students enjoy. The cost can be staggering, so make sure you know what you’re getting into.
The Disconnect Challenge
Lastly, as an adult student, you might find it challenging to connect with classmates, which can make your classes more difficult. When you have to work on a group project, it can be difficult to schedule a time to go to campus and meet. Study groups often form in the dorms or in the library, both places you likely won’t frequent as often when you’re an adult student. Even during class, as you’re debating topics, you might find it more difficult to relate to your peers. This shouldn’t persuade you to give up on your college dream completely, but it is important to understand what you’re getting into before you start.