Are you a senior who is ready to get back into the classroom? It’s becoming increasingly common for seniors to head back to college-either to finish up an undergraduate degree, enroll in graduate school, take community education classes, or even study an entirely new and different field. With more and more seniors on college campuses, the colleges are starting to take notice of these “non-traditional” students. Here are some suggestions for seniors considering hitting the books and getting back into a college classroom:
Find out the demographic of the college you are planning to attend and how receptive and accessible it is to nontraditional students, seniors in particular. All of the buildings and classrooms should be accessible for individuals with varying abilities, but it’s a good idea to ask and find out if there are any accommodations you will need and can get if you have difficult with mobility or hearing or anything else.
Ask about the college’s education philosophy. Things have likely changed since you were last in school and you may find there are a lot more small group activities, smaller class sizes and technological requirements that you will need to be up on. Find out if there are any tutors available or extra help to assist you in getting acclimated to the academic scene.
You might consider a community or junior college if it has been a long time since you’ve been in a college class. These colleges are much more accessible and cater to a more diverse student body. They are also quite a bit cheaper than a four-year university. Some have evening classes and classes held in accessible locations around town which may be easier to get to than on a large university campus.
Many colleges have special senior discounts and some even allow seniors over a certain age to attend classes for free-depending on the course and whether or not the individual is working toward a degree or not. It is a good idea to ask and check out the fee structures and how they can be adjusted for a senior student.
Be sure to take advantage of any amenities that come along with your student status. You may have access to free museum and sporting event passes, special tutoring, and even some health care services that you wouldn’t otherwise have access to. Most seniors find they are much more willing to ask questions, access services and speak up for themselves as students and individuals than they were when they were younger. And, this can be a very good thing for getting a good education.
Going back to school and taking those college courses can be such an amazing, life-affirming and expanding activity for anyone-but especially seniors. With the time and the life experience to spur you on, you may find that your senior years are truly your best “learning years.”