Many older adult students are returning to college to advance their careers or start a new one. Every college however is not the same, and some offer schedules and other benefits that are more conducive to the needs of less traditional students. This includes support and services like flexible schedules (including evening and on-line classes), tutoring, technology training and strong academic advising/mentoring programs.
Although Michigan offers a number of good colleges and universities, as a whole, most cater to the needs of traditional students, that is students between the ages of 18 and 24. The following schools however, have created a friendly and comfortable environment for older adults.
University of Michigan – Flint
Nearly 40% of students at the University of Michigan – Flint are over the age of 25 (according to U.S. News – Education). A part of the infamous University of Michigan educational system, U of M Flint is an ideal choice for older adults who want to be a part of a larger institution; but desire the advantages of a smaller school such as lower faculty to student ratios. The university also offers a wide variety of highly marketable educational programs and degrees such as accounting, biochemistry, engineering, computer science and nursing. Other benefits of this fine institution include on-line, weekend and evening classes, technology training and support, internship programs, free tutoring and a writing center (providing assistance in academic writing and research). Older adults might also enjoy getting involved in campus activities like academic and cultural clubs, honor societies or community service projects.
Cleary University in Ann Arbor or Howell
Older adults interested in a career in business should strongly consider Cleary University. This non-public institution has an older student body (the average student age being 34) and numerous certificate and degree programs relative to the field of business. Some majors and programs of study include human resources management, marketing, accounting, computer information systems, health care management, entrepreneurship and public relations. Additionally, the school offers extremely small classrooms (reported to have an 11:1 student faculty ratio), evening and on-line classes, financial assistance, tutorial services, academic advising and job placement assistance.
Grand Valley State University in Allendale
With a new campus in downtown Grand Rapids, Grand Valley State University is sure to attract a number of nontraditional students. Students pursuing an education at GVSU have the option of degree programs in the areas of science, health care, business, engineering, computers and liberal arts. The university has also created a special site for prospective nontraditional students. It covers everything from academic support to student life, and attempts to answer questions a nontraditional student might have about the university. Older adult students at GVSU might also appreciate university programs and services such as counseling and health services, academic advising, supplemental instruction, tutoring, writing and research support, weekend classes and job placement assistance. GVSU also offers a number of collegiate sports programs including basketball, football, baseball and track & field.
When enrolling, be sure to inquire about college credit for work experience. You might also consider looking into other adult friendly Michigan colleges such as the University of Michigan – Dearborn and Davenport University (multiple locations).