September 3, 2019

Benefits of a Mid-Career University Experience

By Dr. Billie Gastic Rosado, Associate Dean of Liberal Arts, Languages, and Post-Traditional Undergraduate Studies

When we think of the college experience, the image that usually comes to mind is that of young adults pursuing their passions and ambitions in order to explore a diverse set of opportunities or to develop a chosen career path. What we forget, however, is the increasing number of mature, post-traditional age students who are also attending universities to pursue a similar path or to seek an entirely new career experience.
Recently, I had the chance to talk with Forbes’ Sheila Callaham about why adult and other post-traditional students make the decision to return to school for their degree. As I described to her, going back to school mid-career or later in life may sound too challenging, or even intimidating to many adults considering it. In reality, however, there are more benefits than drawbacks.
Many are trepid about attending college immediately after high school because of the cost associated with pursuing a degree at a college or university. And, a lack of economic mobility later in life is a significant motivator for making a plan to get one's degree as an adult.
Additionally, here at the Division of Applied Undergraduate Studies (DAUS), we have found that adult students tend to be very good at managing their time to make school and life work together. A significant number of our students are employed part-time or even full-time. Older students are also appreciative of the targeted support they receive from faculty and advisors. Also, adult students have high expectations in the classroom and ask great questions. The most effective faculty know how to harness that engagement and energy to everyone's benefit.

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