While community colleges are known to provide opportunities for both young and adult learners, new programs are gearing courses and venues to more strongly focus on senior and retired community members. Paired with this, many community colleges offer substantial education discounts.
Are Community College Programs the Right Fit for Older Students?
While beginning any new course of study, regardless of age, may be nerve wracking, studies show that an increasing number of retired community members are taking courses.
Janienne Jennrich writes, in her article “Senior Citizens Going to College, “quite often, older students are rather popular. It all depends on personality and being willing to join into discussions and events.” As most of the staff members and instructors are also often older, mature students bring a different set of experiences and potentials to a college course. With this, seniors are not only welcome to take community college courses, but are also strongly encouraged, as many seniors’ intelligence and skills help assist the younger students, creating a more well rounded classroom atmosphere.
What Courses Can I Take?
Seniors are able to take any course of study available, yet most retired individuals are drawn to courses to enhance their own hobbies or personal interests. The courses that did not seem “practical” when seeking a job are now the courses that retired individuals are enrolling and enjoying.
For example, community colleges have recently provided non-degree seeking programs in art, such as ceramics, jewelry, drawing, painting and so forth. Paired with this, many schools offer non-degree cooking courses, focusing in various cultures, countries, flavors, and styles of cooking. Most recently, physical courses, such as yoga and water aerobics, have become healthy and socially enjoyable options for senior students.
Opportunities Outside of the Classroom
For seniors interested in learning, but uninterested or unable to get to the classroom, community colleges also offer other modes of instruction, such as online classes.
Online Learning Opportunities
While each community college is different, most schools offer various online courses with active instructors who provide educational support. Although this venue lacks the social elements of face-to-face interaction, online courses provide students of all ages with the flexibility to work from home, while allowing all students to work at their own pace.
For seniors or individuals who are homebound for any reason, online learning is a potential outreach to remain engaged and active—especially if getting into the classroom would have been a potential setback. Also, online courses are normally cheaper, and do not require the additional costs of gas expenses, parking fees, and so forth.
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