5 Reasons Adults Make Better College Students

Advantages to Being an Adult Student

  • Maturity
  • Fewer Distractions
  • Career Goals
  • More Financial Aid
  • More Experience

Going to college as an adult is something that many dream about but also something they worry about because they aren’t sure how well they can handle school life. Online programs give those students the option of taking classes online that they can easily fit into their schedules. Even those who enroll in more traditional programs will find some benefits and advantages to being an adult learner.


One benefit to enrolling in college as an adult is that these older students are more mature than their peers. Those fresh out of high school may not know what they want to do, which can lead to them trying out different majors and spending more time and money before they learn what they want to do. Adult learners go back to school because they know what they want to study and are mature enough to balance college with their other commitments.

Fewer Distractions

Younger students face a number of distractions when in college. Those who live in a campus residence hall may have a hard time finding a quiet place to study and finding time to work on assignments because of other things they have going on. These students can join clubs and participate in other activities that leave them with less time to focus on their studies. Adult students already know how to focus on one task at a time and usually live off campus in a traditional setting with fewer distractions.

Career Goals

An NBC News report found that around 40% of all graduate students today are adult learners who are at least 25 years old. The old days of earning a bachelor’s degree and then immediately enrolling in a graduate program are a thing of the past. Most students now take some time off to gain more experience. When they finally do go back to college, they do so with an understanding of what they want to study and how that degree will help them with their careers. This allows the students to narrow down their field of focus and take specific courses relating to their career goals.

More Financial Aid

Going to college as an adult may provide students with more financial aid opportunities as well. The FAFSA bases the amount of aid that students get on the income they report on their taxes, but students will find a number of scholarships available outside of these schools. Some scholarships are only open to minorities or women, and other scholarships are available for those who took some time off school in the past. Many colleges have payment plans and will accept tuition reimbursement checks from students’ employers. Students who served in the military can also use the GI Bill to pay for college.

More Experience

One advantage that adult students have over traditional students is that they have more experience. These students spent years working in different fields and gaining experience working with people of different backgrounds and age ranges. They also bring a unique perspective into their classes because they know how to apply some of the things covered in those courses in the real world. The experiences they share with others can give younger students a new perspective too.

Nontraditional college students include adults and anyone who took some time off before going back to school. Adult learns have experiences and perspectives that other students lack. Going to college as an adult can help students get more financial aid and complete their degrees with fewer distractions.

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