Going to college as an “older” student

Taliah Richards

 How old is too old to go to college? As a person who spends a lot of time on different message boards and social media, I see variations of this question all the time. Is 40 too old to go back to school? Is 29 too old? What about 22? People who don’t fall into the “traditional” age range that’s usually associated with college tend to wonder and worry if going to college as an older person will be weird. I was once one of those people.

I thought about going back to school for years but always put it off. I felt I was “too old” and it would be uncomfortable being in classes with students who were so much younger. Then, at age 36, I decided to go for it. Now, as I finish the last few classes for my degree, I’m so glad I decided to put my fears aside and do it. 

If you’re thinking about going to college but you’re worried because you’re an older student (also known as a “non-traditional” student), I encourage you to take the leap. 

Here’s why:

Time is going to pass regardless. Someone pointed this out to me during my last go-round of “should I or shouldn’t I,” and that’s when things really clicked. Whatever age you are, time will continue to pass. Think about it: If you’re 27 right now, in a couple of years, you could be 29 with a degree or 29 without a degree.  

Classes aren’t bad. One of the reasons I was hesitant to enroll in school is I worried about being the oldest person in the class. I imagined that the younger folks would stare at me, make fun of me and all kinds of other crazy stuff. None of that happened, of course. Everyone was there to do what they were supposed to do: learn and work towards their degree. I even became cool with some of the students.

It’s doableI’m not going to lie. Working full-time, attending school full-time, parenting, maintaining a marriage and keeping up with household duties is hard! There have been plenty of times that I questioned why I signed up for this. However, with good time management, I’m able to get most things accomplished. 

It’s worth it. Whether you’re thinking about enrolling in school for the first time, you’re trying to go back to finish what you started or you’re looking to make a career change, enrolling in college is worthwhile. I’ve learned so much about my major, myself and the world. 

As I look forward to my final semester at HCCI’m so glad I overcame my fears and decided to invest in myself. There’s no such thing as being “too old” for college.