The step from high school to college is sometimes a leap, and for many, can be separated by years. As life unfolds, adults find themselves with a growing list of responsibilities and finding time for education is not always easy. However, many colleges and universities are offering online degree programs, making it easier for anyone to go back to school.
The Modern College Student
Years ago, the typical college student was carrying a freshly printed high school diploma and entering their four-year track to a career as an 18-year-old without any obligations or restraints. In 2013, 43% of college students are 24 years old or older, married, have at least one child, or are veterans of the U.S. armed forces. 36% are older than 25, and over the next ten years, adult student enrollment for colleges is expected to grow at a faster rate than that of the ‘traditional’ college age student. It’s a new era in higher education, and the modern college student has work responsibilities and family commitments to factor into a school schedule.
The Balance of Education and Life
A recent study showed that 40% of full-time and 73% of part-time college students were employed. Going to school without working is difficult for the modern college student, and with everyday expenses tacked on to childcare costs and standard living expenditures (rent, utilities, vehicle maintenance, insurance), many students must carry on with a full-time job in order to make ends meet. Working even a part-time schedule takes a significant amount of hours out of the day. In addition to employment, time must also be allocated for everyday life, such as running errands, spending time with friends and family, exercise, and caring for children.
Adapting Educational Opportunities
With the evolution of the typical college student comes the progression of educational capabilities. A recent study found that 6.1 million students took an online class in 2010, which was a 10% increase from the previous year alone. 19% of online universities have a 20,000+ student population, and 38% of those universities have a 50% or greater graduation rate. With online education spreading like wildfire, the modern college student is able to work higher education into their already busy life. Online universities are making it a simple choice, including such incentives as varied and specialized degree programs and class choices, lowered tuition costs than a physical classroom setting, and flexibility in schoolwork and examination schedules.
Having a full-time life should never prevent a driven student from obtaining a higher education degree. A busy schedule and seemingly endless obligations threaten to deter enrollment in school, but with a wide variety of degree options available, online universities are making higher education an attainable dream.
Anna Maria College Online, an accredited institution, offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs for a variety of career paths, and is grounded in the traditions of educational innovation, service to others and access to a quality education for all.