Surviving College After 40

By Niquella S. Hardwick


There is a myth about college students, and it focuses on their age. When many people think about the college experience they think of people in their early twenties who party hard and study less, but this is not the experience of most students. More people are returning to school for a variety of reasons, and each are on a mission to succeed. With all of the tools that colleges provide for the students’ success, there is no reason why individuals over 40 should avoid going back to school.

The older student has a number of advantages over their 20-something counterparts. As one gets older it is often easier to dedicate yourself to a mission or goal, which is a great tool for success in college. By actively pursuing a new or second degree, people are more likely to increase their income or switch to a new career path that brings greater personal satisfaction. There are many reasons for going back to school, and all are valid and worthwhile.

The great thing about attending college is that there is a lot of support. An active relationship with your advisor can make getting the right classes easier, and a visit to student service centers can educate one on the different services offered to all students. Some of these services include free access to a Learning Center. Here one can get help with papers, presentations, or other forms of communication, and often the services are free. Other labs across campus offer free assistance with language classes, math help, and tutoring in the sciences. By taking an active part in pursing one’s education, there are a myriad of different support systems in place to ensure one’s success on college.

Some people who are older than the 20 some things feel insecure about going back to school. Some people think that there is a lot of social pressure, but many are pleased to find that younger students support those who go to school when they are older. With the great support of other students and school programs, anyone can succeed.

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