College Later in Life

My Experience and Tips for Returning to College as an Older Student


My name is Mike and I went back to college, a bit reluctantly at first, at 45 years old. Reluctantly because I felt that I didn’t need college. I felt that I knew a lot about the world, after serving 20 years in the U.S. Air Force. I had a strong desire to do things on my own.

What changed for me was the fact that the GI Bill benefit changed drastically in 2009. It changed from basically paying full tuition to paying full tuition, PLUS it paid a military housing allowance equal to that of an (pay grade) E-5. For me, that was 100% plus $1900 per month. I had just finished “retiring” from the Air Force and had held a few minor jobs, but this was some pretty good money. Hard to ignore and not use.

The first term or two, I took only courses that were interesting to me. For me, that meant history classes and computer information system classes, such as Dreamweaver and a typing. I could already type well, so I thought that would be an easy class. On a side note, that class was a lot of work, but I certainly DID improve my typing skills.

I enjoyed the history course even more than I thought I would. When I took all of the history courses that my Computer Information Systems degree plan would allow, I changed my degree to history. At this point I was still just looking to find classes that I liked.

At some point things changed for me. I began loving the world of college and academics, in general. I began to love the university atmosphere. I was learning a lot. I was growing as a person and I could not get enough of it. It was nice to not have homework any longer, but other than that I dreaded it all coming to an end at graduation.

I ended up graduating with a 3.54 GPA. Within my degree program, my GPA was 3.846.

This site will be where I publish my papers that I wrote during those years. I will also approach the topic of “things I didn’t know until college.” This is because I was learned so much and, at the same time, felt bad/embarrassed that I didn’t learn some of this until I was 45-49 years old. Better late than never, though, right?

I’ll also include any general tips or lessons about succeeding in college that I learned along the way.



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