Going back to college is not an easy decision, neither is starting college for the first time. The older you get the harder that decision seems to be. One of the concerns for an older, “non-traditional” college student is fitting in with the college students when you are so much older than they are.
Westfield State University in Westfield Massachusetts is one place that breaks the barrier of age when it comes to going back to college in your 30’s, 40’s, 50’s and beyond.
The campus in this New England town is full of young adults of college age living on and off the college grounds. These young adults are not the only ones that fill the classrooms, it is common to see a mixture of age groups taking courses in both day and night classes.
The majority of the “non-traditional” students are found in evening and weekend classes for the obvious reason that most hold down a full time job during the daytime hours.
Westfield State University offers a unique mix of generations on their campus, it is a comfortable combination and it works for so many reasons. One of the benefits of having the different age groups attending college together is the informal education you receive from each other.
The different aspects of being a young adult is seen first hand by a student in their 40’s. The student in their late teens can learn from the knowledge that a student in their 50’s brings with them to the classroom.
The diversity of the different age groups learning, researching, and conversing together rounds out the education experience as a side effect of putting the different generations together.
I went back to college at Westfield State University in my 30’s. One of my biggest worries was being in a classroom full of teenagers. It was surprising that these teenagers turned out to be young adults and that in the majority of my classes, I was not the oldest student.
The education that I received from this college was something that has taken me a long way. Not just in a career, but in my daily life. I learned first hand how the different generations look at world events. The ideas and outlooks from the multi-generational students taught me more than I could ever learn out of a book.
I was surprised the most about how welcoming the younger students were to someone much older than they were. There was no difference in the treatment from the professors and other college personal when it came to any aspect of being an older student of this college.
Westfield State College is in Westfield Massachusetts. The Continuing Education Department is full of knowledgeable people who will point you in the right direction for financial aid, the course work that is needed for your major, and basically anything else you need to know about enrolling in the college.
There are many things that will hold you back from going to college at any age. Time constraints, family obligations, and other life events that just happen. One thing that should not hold you back is the fear of going to college or back to college as an older student. Westfield State University just does not take into consideration a persons age. This is both with the college and with the other students attending the college.
Reference: Graduate of Westfield State University as a “non-traditional student, Westfield State University