Overcoming Problems Older College Students Face

Overcoming Problems Older College Students Face

College can be challenging and overwhelming for anyone, but older college students often face a unique set of difficulties. Juggling work, family responsibilities, and education can be especially challenging. Additionally, returning to the classroom after a long hiatus can be intimidating, and adapting to new technologies can be frustrating.

These are just a few examples of the problems older college students face. It’s important to understand and address these challenges to ensure that mature learners can succeed in their educational pursuits.

Key Takeaways:

  • Older college students face unique and significant challenges in higher education.
  • Juggling work, family responsibilities, and education can be especially challenging for mature learners.
  • Returning to the classroom after a long hiatus can be intimidating, and adapting to new technologies can be frustrating for older learners.
  • Addressing and overcoming these difficulties is essential for mature learners to achieve their educational goals.

Problems Older College Students Face

Below we have gathered the most searched for queries on this topic and written a basic paragrpah for each query that will be covered in this article.

Challenges Faced by Older College Students: Older college students often face a unique set of challenges compared to their younger counterparts. Balancing family responsibilities, such as childcare or eldercare, with academic commitments can be particularly taxing. Additionally, older students may find it difficult to adapt to new technologies that are increasingly integrated into the educational landscape. This digital divide can make it challenging to complete assignments, participate in online discussions, or even navigate course management systems.

Difficulties Experienced by Mature College Students: One of the main difficulties experienced by mature college students is the financial burden of returning to school. Many older students are already managing mortgages, car payments, and other financial responsibilities, making it difficult to afford tuition and course materials. Furthermore, they may find it challenging to qualify for scholarships or financial aid, which are often geared towards younger, traditional students.

Issues Older Students Encounter in College: Older students often encounter issues related to ageism or generational gaps when they return to college. They may feel isolated or out of place among a younger student body, and may even face subtle or overt age-related discrimination from both peers and faculty. This can affect their self-esteem and motivation, making it harder to succeed academically.

Obstacles Faced by Adult Learners in Higher Education: One significant obstacle faced by adult learners is the need to juggle multiple roles. Many older students are working full or part-time jobs while attending school, and may also have family obligations that require their attention. This makes time management a critical skill, and the lack of free time can be a significant stressor. Additionally, adult learners may face bureaucratic obstacles, such as inflexible course schedules or outdated admission policies that don’t take their unique needs into account.

Struggles Experienced by Nontraditional College Students: Nontraditional college students, which often include older adults, face struggles like adapting to a different learning environment after years or even decades away from formal education. The pace and style of academic learning may be quite different from what they remember, requiring them to adapt quickly or risk falling behind. They may also struggle with the stigma attached to being a nontraditional student, which can affect their interactions with classmates and professors.

Concerns of Older Adults in College: Older adults in college often have concerns about their long-term employability and whether their investment in higher education will pay off. They may be retraining for a new career or seeking advancement in their current field, but either way, they are often acutely aware of the ticking clock and the need to see a return on their educational investment as quickly as possible.

Hardships Faced by Mature Learners in Higher Education: Mature learners often face hardships related to the rapid pace of change in academic curricula and professional fields. The knowledge and skills they acquired earlier in life may be outdated, requiring them to start from scratch in some areas. This can be both frustrating and demoralizing, particularly when they are surrounded by younger students who are more up-to-date on current trends and technologies.

Barriers Encountered by Older Students Pursuing a Degree: Older students pursuing a degree often encounter barriers related to institutional policies. For example, some colleges and universities have admission policies that prioritize recent high school graduates, making it more difficult for older students to gain acceptance. Even after admission, they may find that support services like career counseling and academic advising are not tailored to their unique needs, creating additional hurdles to their success.

Dilemmas Older Individuals Face in College: Older individuals in college often face dilemmas related to life priorities. They may have to make difficult choices between attending a child’s school event or studying for an exam, or between taking a shift at work or attending a crucial class. These dilemmas can create emotional stress and contribute to burnout, making it even more challenging to succeed in their academic endeavors.For nontraditional students, balancing work and education can be a significant obstacle. Many mature students have to juggle a full-time job, family commitments, and academic responsibilities simultaneously. This can cause stress and anxiety, making it difficult to stay motivated and focused.

One strategy to overcome this obstacle is to develop a routine that prioritises tasks based on their urgency and importance. For example, you could use a planner to schedule your study time around work and family obligations. This will help you stay organised and focused, avoiding burnout and exhaustion.

Another effective strategy is to communicate openly with your employer and family about your academic goals and commitments. By doing so, you can gain support and understanding, making it easier to balance your responsibilities effectively.

Utilising online learning resources and taking advantage of flexible study options can also help. Many universities offer evening or part-time classes, which can accommodate the schedules of working students. Moreover, using technology such as online discussion boards and virtual study groups can provide a sense of community and support, even when on a busy schedule.

Finally, don’t forget about the importance of self-care and taking breaks. It’s essential to maintain a healthy work-life balance to avoid burning out and losing motivation. Taking breaks to exercise, relax, and socialise can help you recharge your batteries and stay motivated.

Balancing Work and Education: Tips and Strategies

1Create a study schedule
2Communicate with your employer and family
3Utilise online resources and flexible study options
4Take breaks and practice self-care

Bridging the Technology Gap

Many older college students encounter issues and dilemmas when it comes to adapting to new technologies in the classroom. Learning new software, using online platforms to submit assignments, and participating in virtual classrooms can be intimidating. However, technology is an essential component of higher education today, and older students must learn to incorporate it into their studies effectively.

One strategy for bridging the technology gap is to seek out resources on campus that can help. Many colleges offer workshops or classes on technology skills specifically designed for older learners. These courses can be an excellent way to get more comfortable with the tools and software used in the classroom.

Ask for HelpIf you’re struggling with a particular software or platform, don’t be afraid to reach out to your classmates or instructors for assistance. They may be able to provide helpful tips or guidance.
Practice ConsistentlyLike any skill, becoming proficient with technology requires practice. Set aside time each day to work on building your technology skills, whether that’s by using online tutorials or practicing with software.
Issues older students encounter in college

Another way to overcome technology-related issues is to take advantage of online resources. There are numerous websites and YouTube channels that offer free tutorials on various software programs and platforms. These resources can be an excellent way to supplement your classroom learning and build your skills at your own pace.

By taking the time to learn new technology and seeking out resources and support, older college students can overcome the challenges of the digital age and succeed in their academic pursuits.

Bridging the Technology Gap

For many older college students, adapting to new technologies can be a daunting task. As higher education becomes increasingly reliant on technology, mature learners may struggle to keep up with the fast pace of digital tools and systems. This technology gap can lead to frustration and feelings of isolation.

One of the biggest challenges that older college students face is the use of online learning platforms and virtual classrooms. These platforms require a level of technical proficiency that may be unfamiliar to those who did not grow up with digital technology. In addition, older college students may require additional support in navigating the use of digital textbooks, online research databases, and other technological tools that are now commonplace in higher education.

To bridge this technology gap, it is essential for older college students to embrace the resources available to them on campus. Educational institutions typically offer technology training classes and workshops to help students improve their digital literacy. Additionally, colleges and universities have support staff who specialize in technology and are available to assist older learners. Seeking help from peers, relatives, or friends who are more tech-savvy can also be a valuable resource.

issues older students encounter in college

It is important to note that mature learners should not feel embarrassed or hesitant to seek assistance in bridging the technology gap. Remember, technology is constantly evolving, and even college students who grew up with digital tools may encounter difficulties at times.

Financial Struggles and Scholarships

Many older college students encounter barriers when pursuing a degree, particularly when it comes to finances. With more responsibilities and financial commitments, mature learners may find it challenging to fund their education. However, there are numerous scholarships and financial aid options available to help overcome these obstacles.

One of the best places to start is by filling out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). This application evaluates an individual’s eligibility for federal financial aid, including grants, loans, and work-study programs. Additionally, many private organizations offer scholarships specifically for mature learners.

Scholarship NameEligibility RequirementsAward Amount
The Adult Students in Scholastic Transition (ASIST) ScholarshipNon-traditional students who are facing economic and/or social challengesUp to $5,000
The Bernard Osher Reentry ScholarshipStudents returning to college after a prolonged absenceVaries by institution
The Imagine America Foundation ScholarshipStudents enrolling in participating career collegesUp to $1,000

It’s important to note that scholarship and financial aid opportunities change frequently. It’s essential to research and apply for opportunities that align with your academic goals and financial needs.

By taking advantage of financial aid and scholarship options, mature learners can reduce the financial burdens associated with pursuing a college degree. Don’t let financial struggles stop you from achieving your educational goals!

Barriers encountered by older students pursuing a degree

Overcoming Self-Doubt and Imposter Syndrome

Feeling like a fraud or experiencing self-doubt can be a common struggle for mature college students. Imposter syndrome refers to the belief that one is not capable or deserving of success, despite evidence to the contrary. This can cause negative self-talk and feelings of anxiety.

It’s important to remember that many older students face similar challenges and that these feelings are normal. To overcome self-doubt and imposter syndrome, try to reframe your thoughts and focus on your strengths and achievements. Practicing self-compassion and mindfulness can also help you stay grounded and confident.

Don’t be afraid to seek support from your peers or campus resources. Talking about your experiences with others can help you feel less alone and provide you with new coping strategies. The counselling department or student support services can offer additional support and guidance.

Remember, you belong in college just as much as anyone else. Embrace your unique experiences and perspectives and know that you are capable of achieving your goals.

Overcoming Self-Doubt and Imposter Syndrome

Bridging the Technology Gap

Older college students may encounter various issues while adapting to the latest technologies and incorporating them into their studies. With advancements in technology, it is essential for mature learners to stay updated and proficient in using various devices and software.

The dilemmas encountered by older individuals in college primarily relate to the lack of exposure to new technologies and unfamiliarity with digital tools and devices. However, technology is an integral part of every sector, and a lack of digital literacy can significantly affect their academic performance.

To bridge this technology gap, older students can take advantage of various resources available on campus. This may include attending workshops or training sessions on how to use new technologies, software, and devices. Some institutions may offer specific courses on digital literacy and provide access to online tutorials, guides, and other resources.

Moreover, mature learners can seek assistance from their peers, professors, or other relevant professionals on campus. Engaging in group discussions and collaborating with peers can help older students learn new skills and get comfortable with new technologies.

Finally, older college students can explore various digital tools and resources available online, such as webinars, podcasts, online courses, and other resources. By taking advantage of online learning opportunities, older learners can supplement their formal education and acquire new skills and knowledge in their field of study.

issues older students encounter in college

Bridging the Technology Gap

Older college students may experience challenges when it comes to incorporating new technologies into their studies, making it difficult to keep up with their coursework and assignments. It is essential that mature learners bridge the technology gap to ensure they can excel in their educational journey. Here are some tips to help older college students overcome technology-related difficulties:

  1. Take advantage of free training and workshops: Many colleges and universities offer free training and workshops to help students learn and improve their technical skills. Take advantage of these resources to bridge the technology gap.
  2. Find a mentor: Consider reaching out to a tech-savvy student or instructor to act as a mentor and provide guidance on using technology effectively in your studies.
  3. Use technology regularly: The more often you use technology, the more comfortable you will become with it. Incorporate technology into your daily routine, such as using online resources to study or taking notes on your laptop or tablet.
  4. Don’t be afraid to ask for help: If you are struggling with a specific technology, do not hesitate to ask for help from a friend, family member, or instructor. There are also many online resources and forums available to provide assistance with technical issues.

By implementing these strategies, older college students can effectively bridge the technology gap and succeed in their studies. Remember, it is never too late to learn and incorporate new technologies into your educational journey.

Bridging the technology gap

Bridging the Technology Gap

As mature learners return to college, some may find it difficult to adapt to the latest technological advancements. However, with the growing trend towards online learning and digital education platforms, mastering technology is a crucial aspect of succeeding in college. It’s essential to develop an understanding of the technology used in the classroom and recognize how it can help with their studies.

One common obstacle for older college students is navigating online learning and virtual classrooms. There are several strategies to overcome this hurdle, including taking online tutorials and attending workshops offered by the college. In addition, many institutions have online support services that can provide guidance and answer any technology-related questions.

The Benefits of Incorporating Technology into Learning

While it may seem daunting at first, mature learners can benefit from incorporating technology into their studies. Digital tools such as online research databases, virtual study groups, and online resources can all enhance the learning experience. Technology can also make it easier to access course materials and communicate with professors and peers.

It’s important to remember that learning how to use technology is an ongoing process. Mature learners should be open to experimenting with different platforms and seeking help when needed. They may also consider partnering with younger classmates who have a more intuitive understanding of technology.

Overcoming the Technology Gap

For older college students, mastering technology may require some extra effort and patience. However, there are several strategies that can help bridge the technology gap. Attending workshops, working with tutors, and exploring online support services can all provide valuable guidance. Additionally, online research can be an incredibly useful tool for familiarizing oneself with new technology and understanding how to use it effectively.

It’s also essential to have a positive attitude towards technology. Embracing new technologies rather than feeling overwhelmed by them will allow older college students to make the most of their education and reach their full potential.


While older college students may face unique challenges when it comes to technology, there are many accessible resources available to help them overcome these obstacles. By understanding the benefits of technology and developing the necessary skills to use it effectively, mature learners can enhance their educational experience and prepare themselves for success beyond college. With the right mindset and support, technology can offer many exciting opportunities in higher education, and it’s essential for mature learners to embrace these changes.

By acknowledging and addressing the hurdles of technology, we can help ensure that all older college students have equal opportunities for success in their educational pursuits.


Q: What problems do older college students face?

A: Older college students often encounter various difficulties during their time in higher education. These can include balancing work and education, bridging the technology gap, navigating social dynamics, facing financial struggles, overcoming self-doubt, and accessing support services.

Q: How can older college students balance work and education?

A: Balancing work and education can be challenging for older college students. However, effective time management, prioritization, and seeking support from employers and family can help create a better work-life-study balance.

Q: What technology-related challenges do mature learners face in college?

A: Older college students may experience difficulties adapting to new technologies used in higher education. They may struggle with online learning platforms, digital assignments, and incorporating technology into their studies. However, there are strategies available to help bridge the technology gap.

Q: How can older college students navigate social dynamics and peer relationships?

A: Older college students may find it challenging to fit in and establish connections with younger peers. However, by engaging in campus activities, seeking common interests, and fostering open communication, older students can navigate social dynamics and build meaningful peer relationships.

Q: What financial struggles do mature learners face, and are there scholarships available?

A: Older college students often face financial challenges due to their commitments and responsibilities. However, there are scholarships and financial aid options specifically designed for mature learners, which can help alleviate some of the financial burdens.

Q: How can older college students overcome self-doubt and imposter syndrome?

A: Older college students may experience self-doubt and imposter syndrome. By recognizing their accomplishments, seeking support from mentors and peers, and focusing on personal growth, older students can overcome these barriers and develop confidence in their abilities.

Q: What support services are available for older college students?

A: Older college students may encounter unique challenges when accessing support services on campus. However, colleges typically offer resources such as academic advisors, career counseling, tutoring, and support groups, specifically tailored to meet the needs of older students.

Q: How can older college students develop effective study habits?

A: Older college students often need to relearn effective study habits and time management skills. Implementing strategies such as creating a dedicated study space, breaking tasks into manageable chunks, and utilizing study aids can help mature learners develop successful study habits.


In conclusion, older college students face various challenges and difficulties during their educational journey. However, with the right support, strategies, and a proactive mindset, they can overcome these obstacles and achieve their educational goals. It is important to address the specific problems older college students face and provide the necessary resources and assistance to ensure their success.