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Continuing Education for Adults

Continuing Education for Adults
Monday, October 2, 2017
Posted in category Learners by

If you’re an adult considering higher education, it’s important to consider all of the aspects of college that will apply to your unique population.

Adult students are out there!

First, know that you are not alone. In recent decades, adult students, often referred to as part of the non-traditional college student group, have become a growing proportion of the undergraduate student body. Some are brand new to college, some are returning after many years away, and some fall somewhere in-between. Their reasons for seeking college courses are as varied as their backgrounds. While it’s true that many adults enter college for the very first time with a career or job as motivation, there are many other incentives and factors to consider. Whether a student is looking for a promotion, a complete career change, needs continuing education courses to update or maintain licensure, or simply wants to gather lifelong learning skills, adult learning is a far-reaching and ubiquitous presence on the college campus’ of today.

Accommodations for adult students

In many cases, adult learning can lead to better job prospects, a way out of unemployment or underemployment, more money, and a general sense of accomplishment. In response, college campuses have instituted a variety of resources and policies to accommodate the wants and needs of adults who are returning to college or may even be brand new to higher education. Since many adult students face challenges such as family and work obligations, colleges have had to adapt to the lifestyles of this population, who often experience college differently than those who enter higher education right out of high school. For example, since many adult students also work, distance learning can be highly beneficial so that students can take courses online anywhere, anytime. It may be extremely inconvenient for a working adult to have to physically come to a college campus. Off-site learning and online continuing education for adults makes it feasible for workers to be able to simultaneously fulfill their job, family, and college responsibilities.

Methods by which the attainment of college credits are faster and easier can be hugely motivating to adult learners who often face constraints not relevant to their younger counterparts. One approach is to provide prior learning assessments, which allow adult students to gain college credit for knowledge they have attained through life and work experience. This can be hugely beneficial for those who have amassed a wealth of information throughout the years and want to apply it toward their degree, certificate, or licensure without being forced to start from scratch. Accelerated learning options can also be helpful for adult learners who are time-constrained. If a course can be completed in a shorter amount of time, adult students may be more inclined to complete an often intense and rigorous condensed learning experience as long as they are supported and motivated.

To support adult students financially, many colleges offer scholarships for adults returning to college. Many times they are even more specific and directed toward specialized populations, such as scholarships for moms returning to college after many years at home raising children. Of course, the traditional loan and grant options exist as well, so it’s important to research all of the options available when considering how to pay for schooling. These types of assistive financial opportunities are yet another tool colleges use to support adult students when they are interested in enrolling in higher education.

In addition to course formatting, accelerated learning, financial assistance, and myriad flexible programs and services with the adult student in mind, colleges have put great effort into supporting adults in other ways that make it easier and more feasible for those who fall under this category to attain their higher education goals. They are constantly studying their methods and adapting to the wants and needs of adult learners, making the delivery of educational programs within reach of more students than ever before. Right now is a great time to be a college student!

If you’re an adult considering higher education, it’s important to consider all of the aspects of college that will apply to your unique population.

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adult learning
non traditional college students
returning to college
adults returning to college
scholarships for adults returning to college
scholarships for moms returning to college
continuing education for adults
lifelong learning
continuing education courses
online continuing education courses
prior learning assessments

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