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Why Adult Learners Make Great Students

Discover five reasons adults have an edge when it comes to earning a degree.

Going back to school. It’s a dream for many adults. Perhaps you want to earn a bachelor’s degree, pursue a graduate degree, learn new skills for a future career, or advance in your current career by earning a college degree. No matter what your goal is, it’s never too late to follow your dreams.


But it’s natural to be a bit nervous about going back to school—especially if it’s been a while since you’ve done homework, written a paper, or taken a test. You may even be asking yourself if you’re too old to return to college. The answer is a resounding no! In fact, age can give older students an advantage. Here are five reasons adult learners make great students.

  1. You have real-world experience.
    As an adult, you’ve likely held a job (or perhaps many jobs). Even if your professional experience doesn’t directly relate to your studies, your background can help you understand academic concepts in a real-world context. Your experience will give you valuable insights that will enrich your learning.
  2. You won’t be distracted by college life.
    Fraternities, parties, football games, and dorm life can all be distractions for young college students. Adult learners typically live off-campus and focus on school as a place for learning rather than the hub of their social life. Some adults will choose to earn a degree online and won’t set foot on campus at all.
  3. You’re able to balance priorities.
    Most adults have mastered scheduling, time management, and prioritization, all of which are necessary skills for college success. You can get to work on time, meet deadlines, schedule a doctor’s appointment, get an oil change for your car, do the laundry, and get dinner on the table, all in the course of a day. When you decide to pursue a college education, you’ll be able to use those organizational skills to schedule time to study, complete your coursework, and earn a degree.
  4. You are motivated.
    Kids who go to college right out of high school may not know what they want to do in their future career. When you choose to attend college as an adult, you know what you want: the pride of earning a degree, the skills to get promoted at work, the knowledge to begin a new career. You’re more likely to perform well as a student because you have clear goals.
  5. You are focused.
    As an adult learner, it’s not your parents pushing you to go to college; you are self-motivated. You know you want a certificate or degree, and you know how it will benefit you. You’re not likely to make the typical teenage student mistakes of sleeping through class, missing deadlines, and dropping courses. Instead, you want to reach your goals as quickly as possible. Your focus will bring you success!

Choosing the right university can make earning a degree easier. As a working adult, finding an online program that will enable you to earn your degree on your schedule can be the key factor in reaching your goals. Online learning makes it easier for adult learners to balance schoolwork with career and family commitments. Without the need to travel to a campus and attend classes at set times, you can fit your bachelor’s, master’s, or PhD online degree program into your life, and complete your courses from the comfort of home—or wherever works best for you.

Walden has been a leader in adult learning and distance education for more than 50 years and has been accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) since 1990. The HLC is one of six regional accrediting associations recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. Additionally, many of Walden’s online degree programs have earned specialized accreditation. If you’re looking for an accredited university focused on delivering quality online education for working adults, Walden is an excellent choice.

Walden University is an accredited institution offering bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs online. Expand your career options and earn a degree online in a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.

Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission,