Today, chronologically enhanced citizens are entering or returning to college for a wide variety of reasons and to achieve differing goals. Some wish to earn or finish degrees. Some only want to take specific online college courses.
Others want to learn new things or to advance careers. In answer to their number one concern. Yes, online college courses are suitable for the chronologically enhanced student.
Mature students, usually 60 or older, are often called chronologically enhanced. Their life experience and mature judgment are a big part of their “enhanced” condition.
They bring with them perspectives on topics and life in general that younger, more traditional students, have yet to develop. They also have a different set of motivations.
Online College Courses Are Suitable for All Ages
According to NBC News, 40% of college students were over the age of 25 in 2009. That number is predicted to rise to 43% by the end of 2020. Baby boomers are retiring and have more free time to pursue an education or other intellectual interests.
More mature students often have more money to spend on themselves than in previous times in their lives. If not, the U.S. government sponsors loans and grants for education. Further, scholarships specifically designed for Senior Citizens are an option.
Americans are living longer and are looking for exciting ways to spend their time, especially if they can also keep mentally active in doing so. Staying mentally and physically active helps them live longer and to be happier at the same time.
Why online classes instead of attending on a college campus?
Freedom. You can take many online college courses at your leisure. This means that you can log in and complete course work on a schedule that fits your lifestyle, not on specific days and at locked in times.
Are you a Morning Lark or a Night Owl? It does not matter when you can take classes to fit your own sleep and wake cycle. Or, maybe your family responsibilities dictate when you can take classes.
You can literally live on one coast and take online classes from the other coast. Do you love living on the coastline of the Pacific Northwest but want a degree from one of the Ivy League Colleges on the East Coast?
No problem. Enjoy the lifestyle that fits you the best without giving up the degree of your dreams. Living on one coast and takin online college courses solves that problem.
Online courses for the chronologically enhanced students take advantage of their ability to discipline themselves. Holding oneself responsible for reading, doing homework, and attending online lectures is a vital part of online learning.
Developing a schedule and keeping to it is important to your success. Mature students tend to do a better job of this than do more traditional ones. You will need to check in a few times each week to stay current.
Each professor will have a unique style and way of managing his or her class. You will learn what works best for each online course and, of course, for your learning style.
Online College Courses For Mature Students May Come With A Discount
With so many mature students interested in pursuing a college education today, every state in the country offers opportunities for discounted courses of some kind.
Many offer totally free classes for those 60 or older, some using 55 as the magic age cut off. Financial aid offices in each of these programs provide information on ways to obtain financial assistance if their classes are not free.
How does online learning work?
Course materials and assignments are presented online. Most often, students are able to view them on their own schedule. The curriculum may include videos, bulletin board or chat room discussions as well as online textbooks.
The most common method of communication between students and teachers is via email. Most, if not all, schools offer a tutorial on how all of these mechanisms work.
What do I need to participate in an online course?
Of course, you must have a decent computer. Obviously, adequate internet access is required. Each school has its own requirements and recommendations. High speed is better and there may be a minimum speed requirement.
You may be required to use a specific browser, like Chrome or Firefox. You can download them at no cost. Some schools will actually provide a laptop computer.
If you plan to be traveling or are just very mobile in your lifestyle, a laptop is a good investment. Many students take advantage of coffee shops and other public wi-fi options.
What should we look for in an online program?
Most importantly, it must be an accredited program with either a regional or, preferably, a national accreditation board. Check to see if it has a free online college program offered and what, if any prerequisites there may be.
Review all eligibility requirements as well. Eligibility is usually based on age but is sometimes based on Social Security income. Course selection is limited in some schools. Therefore, the spots may fill up quickly.
If walking across the stage in a cap and gown to receive a diploma is important to you, verify if this is an option at the school you wish to attend. Many colleges with an actual campus do offer this option.
However, not all do by any means. Some online students band together to celebrate their graduation in their own way, independent of the school.
Options for chronologically enhanced students other than obtaining a degree online do exist
In addition to obtaining a degree, there are many certificate programs available. Further, there are options for students pursuing specific knowledge rather than a degree or certificate. Open Courseware and MOOCs are two such options.
Open Courseware is an option for senior citizens to access a college education online at no cost. This growing movement provides online courses to students around the globe via the Internet.
Organizations like Open Education Consortium and universities like MIT have joined to provide free courses to anyone with an interest, a computer and an Internet connection.
Massive Open Online Classes, or MOOCs, help to provide courses to as many students as possible. They are often free of charge. Most often taught by experts in the field, these classes are a great option and provide an excellent learning experience.
These classes are exceptionally good for students who do not require a degree. Are you only interested in courses about a specific subject matter? If so, this may a great option for you.
The bottom line is:
Online College Courses Are Suitable for the Chronologically Enhanced Student
Whether you are seeking a degree, a certificate, or simply interested in a specific topic, there is an online college experience that will fit your needs.
Take time to do a little research to find the best fit for your interests and lifestyle requirements.
Discounted and free programs are available in all 50 states. If you are dreaming of getting a college education, it is not too late! Make that dream come true!
If you enjoyed this article, you may like these as well.
Photos courtesy of Pixabay