Programs for Adults Returning Back to School

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Schools for Adults Going Back To College

In recent years, the fastest-growing population of college students are over the age of 25 – adults who wish to advance their careers dropped out of or never attended college, single parents, military, and those looking to better their life are all choosing higher education. According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, between 2000 and 2011 enrollment of students over the age of 25 rose by 41%. Regardless of the reason for pursuing higher education, we here at Best College Reviews have compiled a ranking of the schools that help make the college dream a reality by rating what adults are looking for in a college: flexibility, transfer options, online classes, and acceptance rate.

  • Percentage of students over the age of 25
  • College acceptance rate
  • Percentage of students enrolled in distance education
  • Flexible options

Statistics for this ranking were gathered from the National Center for Education Statistics and Peterson’s.

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Featured Online Adult School Programs

10. Post University

Post University was founded in 1890. Since then, it has gone through many changes. They strive to offer innovative education that is flexible and forward-looking in today’s changing world. The organization is a private for-profit school that is accredited. There are over 15,000 total students, and about 7000 attend classes at the main campus or three satellite campuses. Post’s online experience is diverse and flexible; many bachelor’s degrees are offered in addition as well as MBA’s and Master’s degrees in Education and Human Services. In addition to good degree choices, Post has a generous acceptance of transfer credits, the possibility to finish bachelor’s in 18 months or master’s in 14-24 months, classes that start every 8 weeks, accelerated degrees, and fully online or blended instruction with weekend classes.

9. Peirce College

Peirce College has always been in the business of helping adults earn their degrees. Founded by Thomas May Peirce shortly after the Civil War as Union Business College, the mission of the college was to deliver a new kind of practical, business education in the post-war years. Many ex-soldiers needed training in order to enter the workforce, and the college was an answer to this problem. Dr. Peirce also offered career-oriented education to women, which was an idea well ahead of its time in 19th century America. In 1888, there were over 300 women students enrolled, something unheard of at that time. Peirce is one of the oldest accredited colleges offering a complete online degree program in the United States. With such a rich heritage and strong programs today, Peirce College establishes itself as a top college for adult education.

8. Granite State College

Granite State College is ready to work with students regardless of where they are in life. Their website is filled with success stories, for example, Kayt, a young woman in her mid-20’s who dropped out of high school. College was a terrifying prospect for her, yet she knew that she needed a college degree to become the person she wanted to be. She said, “I want others who are considering GSC to know how easy it is to start. If you work hard, and you show that you’re determined, every single person at GSC who can, is going to help you. That’s been my experience.” Kayt graduated in 2014 with a degree in elementary education and is just one of the many satisfied graduates of Granite State College. With success like this, a 100% acceptance rate, 76% of students over 25, and 77% engaged in distance learning, Granite may be a great place to start down a new road in life.

7. University of Maryland – University College

With over 90,000 students worldwide, the University of Maryland University College (UMUC) is one of the largest distance learning institutions in the world. The university is open to all applicants, with a 100 percent acceptance rate for undergraduate programs, making this an ideal location for the student who wants to start over. In addition to an expansive list of distance learning classes and programs, UMUC also offers classes on campus at the Academic Center in Largo, satellite campuses in the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area, throughout Maryland, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. The University offers 120 academic programs including bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees. This expansive university is sure to have something for everyone.

6. Brandman University

Established in 1958 by Chapman University, Brandman University was originally started to provide high-quality education to the El Toro Marine Corps Air Station. As demand increased, Brandman grew into a university that began serving a larger and more diverse student population, primarily military and adult learners. Now Brandman offers more than 53 accredited undergraduate and graduate degrees, teaching credentials, and extended education programs. Through Brandman’s curriculum model, known as iDEAL (Instructional Design for Engaged Adult Learning), students will benefit from both the traditional classroom as well as e-learning activities. With over 25 campuses throughout California and Washington, as well as a virtual campus online, students have choice and flexibility to earn their degree as a working adult at a university that has been in the business for over 50 years.

5. Northcentral University

This fully online university serves students around the world and uniquely maintains a 100% doctoral faculty. Their “One-to-One Learning Model” enables each student to be partnered with a member of their prestigious faculty for an intimate learning experience. Furthermore, the University’s high degree of flexibility is highly favorable for working professionals, military personal, and international students who do not have to relocate to earn their online degree. Their main areas of focus are Business, Education, Health Sciences, Marriage and Family Therapy, Psychology, Social Work, and Technology. Students are able to earn degrees at the Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctoral levels.

4. Thomas Edison State University

Thomas Edison State University is another educational institution that caters towards adult students. In fact, it is one of the oldest schools in the country that was designed specifically for older adults interested in pursuing higher education. They offer degrees in over 100 areas of study, such as Accounting, Cybersecurity, and Nonprofit Management. In addition, they boast an extremely high rate of student satisfaction. 95% of their 2017 undergraduates gave the University ratings of “Excellent” or “Good.” While they do have a campus located in New Jersey, students rarely visit as most of their coursework is completed online.

3. Walden University

Established in 1970 by Bernie and Rita Turner, two New York teachers, Walden University was created to provide a place for working adults to pursue doctoral degrees. The first classes took place in Naples, Florida and focused primarily on school administrators. These classes allowed students to form dissertation topics with their faculty partners before returning home to work at their respective schools while also working on their dissertations. Walden University was born small, but has since grown into a private, for-profit university with almost 50,000 students worldwide. Walden University’s headquarters is located in Minneapolis, Minnesota, but they have a virtual campus. Fitting the needs of adult learners, students participate in classes on a weekly basis at their convenience. Students will network with faculty and classmates exchanging ideas, insights, and experiences, with constant access to faculty via phone and email. Some academic programs also feature face-to-face academic residencies. Walden University meets the needs of the adult learner and provides an outstanding, affordable education.

2. Excelsior College

Since its founding in 1971, Excelsior College has always focused on providing greater educational opportunities to adult learners and those historically underepresented in higher education. According to their Summer 2018 report, the average age of their student body is 36.7 years old. In addition, many of their students work full-time or are involved with military service. The school’s dedication to meet students where they are, geographically and academically, makes it an ideal choice for nontraditional students. They offer an extended range of online classes in a variety of areas: Technology, Public Service, Liberal Arts, Nursing, Health Sciences, and Business.

1. Charter Oak State College

Charter Oak State College is renowned for its flexible transfer policy and online program options, ideal for older and nontraditional students. While many other institutions have credit transfer restrictions, meaning you may have to earn 30-45 more credits to finish your degree, Charter Oak honors all the credits you have earned previously. The time that has passed since you initially accrued them does not matter. They offer a variety of workforce-oriented programs in which students can earn their Associate’s, Bachelor’s, and Master’s degrees, as well as certificate and credential programs.

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