New here and have a question

Hi I am new. And I have a question I am 21 and am planning on going to college. I am not sure what I want to major in plus I need to get a car. I have thought about waiting to start college in the fall of 09 so I can work get a car. But that would put me graduating at age 26. Would that be to old? Would it be bad to put it off a year?


I think there’s nothing wrong with waiting a year and working to save up money. You could also take some basics at a community or junior college – there courses will transfer to any four-year university and they’re generally cheaper to attend and they usually offer night classes.


Will I be looked at as strange for graduating at age 26?

Absolutely not!!! I was 24. When I graduated high school, I went for a year to the local college and got some basics out of the way while living at home. I then went to a junior college and got a degree (associates) in court reporting. It was only supposed to take two years but it ended up taking me four BUT I worked full time and mostly put myself through school, with a little help from my parents.

If you can do it slow and work your way through and get out with little or no student loan debt, you’ll be so far ahead of the game when you do graduate.


I agree with all of the other posters. Please don’t let concerns over age stop you from pursuing your education goals!

I went to a relatively small Catholic University, and the majority of the students were my age, but I don’t recall anyone treating the older students differently. There was a 60 year old man in my class, which is always kind of interesting to me. I respected him for going to college at his age, when many of his own friends were probably looking at retirement!

I would think that if you attended a larger school, you’d find older students. You can always ask if the colleges you are interested in offer any support organizations for the older/non-traditional student.

Best of luck as you begin your college career.

I actually would look more favorably at someone that worked to put themselves through school and was older.

There is knowledge and wisdom and you sound wise. Work a little take some basics at night and get some work experience. You will be much more valuable.

I’m 29 and am still working on my undergrad. Partly because it’s been off-and-on a few times, partly because I’m putting myself through college while working full-time. Yes, I’m almost a decade older than some of my classmates. No, I don’t think anyone on earth has the right to look down on me for being a “non-traditional” student. A college education is a college education, however long it takes you to get it.

Doll, MOST of my friends have graduated later than they “should”, and I’ve never heard anyone say anything derogatory about them. We’re talking about around 4-6 people here. Imho, a lot of younger undergrads are too immature when they enter college anyway, to deal with it’s demands; maybe this way will be better for you.

No one will think you’re weird or strange. It’s college. Age doesn’t matter anymore.

A lot of high school grads join the military and spend several years serving before they start college.

Some high school grads join the Peace Corps or other “missionary” or “humanitarian” organizations and then go to college.

And some simply take a year off to work and do some soul-searching.

A lot of students take a year or two away from college after they start because of a family tragedy or event, because they run out of money, because they have a travel opportunity (e.g., joining a touring ice skating show), etc. Then they come back older. It’s OK.

In college, there is always a mix of ages in the classes. Although many students try to get their gen ed classes out of the way in the first two years, my older daughter spread them out. So in her senior year, she was taking a religion class that was full of freshman. (She had fun–since she was older, she was able to shred a lot of their arguments. I know, it doesn’t sound nice, but sooner or later, people have to grow up and stop answering the hard questions with kids’ answers. She just forced them to do this sooner.)

And a lot of women and men return to school after having their children, so you’ll see at least a few 40, 50,60, and even 70-somethings in your classes.

Don’t worry about age.

One thing you can do is take class overloads, do summer classes, and finish college early. Or you can finish college early if you earned AP credits in high school. (My older daughter graduated a semester early–saved a lot of money in tuition bills.) But this is kind of hard, depending on your major. Leaves you very little time for anything except studying. But if finishing by a certain age is important to you, it can be done.

WARNING!–many colleges try very hard to get you to stay an extra year. Some colleges don’t counsel you well when you first start as a freshman, so you don’t realize that you are behind on your major until it’s too late, and you end up staying an extra year. One of my friends had eight children, and one of his daughter attended a college that tried to do this to her. They told her that she couldn’t take 18 hours a semester, but only 12 so that she could have more social opportunities.

HE told them point-blank that his daughter WOULD graduate in 4 years, and that if they didn’t allow her to take the 18 hours, that she would graduate from ANOTHER college, not theirs. He said he didn’t have the money to pay for 5 years instead of 4.

They let her take the 18 hours.

So watch out for this trap.

The only thing I would worry about is that the longer you stay away from school, the scarier it gets to go back. You are afraid that you’ve forgotten everything you learned in high school and that you will struggle with the academics. So my advice is–one year (unless you’re in the military or have some other good reason for staying away longer than a year). Just ONE year, then go to school. DON’T put it off and get too scared to go back–unless you happen to strike it rich, perhaps by inventing something or starting a home-based business that catches on., e.g., the Crocs decorations business. Then you can stay away from school longer!

Good luck to you. Have a fun year, whatever you decide.

About half of undergrads are over 25 nowadays. I graduated at over 30 and so did lots of people I know. My mother was in college in her 40’s and my GM in her 50’s. What matters more is to gain work experience and connections whether you’re in college or not.

My DH’s best friend in college is/was 4 years older than we are. He joined the military and did 4 years there first, and then went to college. He fit in just fine!

Another person my DH befriended was 10 years older than we were. He lived on campus in the dorms and everything. He had worked first to earn money to pay for the degree.

I think its more important what you select to study rather than when.

Some majors are garbage, some will actually help you get a good job that will actually give you a return on your time and tuition.

It really hurt to have to ask some of my friends, “you are majoring in what??” Where are you going to get a job doing that???

And then they graduated, got ****** jobs, and are now working in the same places they could have had they never gone to college at all.

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