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.

Online Education Schools and Programs

Kaplan University — Since its founding 1937, Kaplan University has grown to become a top provider of online education with over 170 programs available. These programs cover anything from criminal justice to nursing. Financial aid is available to those who apply and qualify. Kaplan University is a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.
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Ashford University — What started out as a junior college for women in 1918 has now become one of the largest schools in online education. Ashford University offers programs at the associate, bachelor's, and master's level with online programs available. Ashford is accredited by WASC Senior College and University Commission, 985 Atlantic Avenue, Ste 100, Alameda, CA 94501, 5107489001, www.wascsenior.org.
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Liberty University — While Liberty University was only founded in 1971, it has quickly become not only the biggest university in Virginia, but the biggest Christian school in the world. Part of this stems from its expansion into online education, helping it reach students no matter where they are. Liberty is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
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Southern New Hampshire University — Southern New Hampshire University is a growing online school with a campus in Manchester, New Hampshire. The school was founded back in 1932 and offers over 60 undergrad and graduate programs through online classes. SNHU is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.
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Walden University — Walden University was founded in 1970 as a school focused on doctoral and other post-graduate programs. Its course catalog includes programs in nursing, business, management, education, and much more through campus-based or online programs. Walden is a member of the North Central Association and is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.
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Boston University — Boston University is one of the world's largest schools with more than 16 campuses, 250 fields of study, over 150 years of operation, and students in 140 countries. This is part of Boston's commitment to online education and academic integrity, and the school is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.
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