Thinking of Going Back to School? Here’s How School has Changed

By Brenda on September 12th, 2011



Many adult learners have not been in a college atmosphere for many years. College campuses have really transformed over the last two decades. If you are thinking of going back to school you will need to adjust to these changes in order to do well. Let’s take a look at how schools have changed in the last twenty years, and what you can expect.

1. Technology

This is the biggest change of them all. Online learning and new technologies have entered the classroom. One study shows that online student enrollment has increased by 200% since 2002. Teachers use laptops, projectors, and other kinds of technology to deliver content to their students. Classes and faculty have their websites, smart phone applications, and online communities.

Adult learners can lag behind in this area, but most schools offer free training and tutorials to get students up to speed. If you are considering going back to school don’t let technology phobia be the reason you do not attend.

2. Financial Aid

Tuition costs are rising and that means financial aid has changed. Many more students are borrowing than ever before to pay for their college education. Most students cannot afford to pay for school out of their own pockets so financial aid is a reality for them. One study showed that nearly 70% of all undergraduate students will receive some sort of financial aid. Financial aid comes in the form of loans, grants, and work study.

3. Variety of Schools

Enrollment is up, but there are a lot more schools to choose from than ever before. Online schools were once on the fringe of the higher education market, but are now a major force. With more choices for college students comes more responsibility. Students will need to perform due diligence and research the school thoroughly. Not all online schools are the same.

4. Diversity

Schools are much more diverse than they ever were. There are students of every race, creed, religion, and age. This may come as quite the surprise to some students so be prepared to be immersed in a culture where not all students will look and think like everyone else.

One comforting fact for non-traditional students is that the average age continues to rise. Many students going back to college feel like they will have to compete against all 18 year olds. The data say otherwise. The average age of a college student is now approaching 26 years old.


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