How Adult Learners Can Benefit from a Community College


There are 1,051 community colleges across the U.S. according to the American Association of Community Colleges. These colleges serve students young and old – from recent high school graduates to seniors. For adult learners – even those who may already have a degree or a career – community colleges can be a great resource to further your education or update your career skills.  Below are just a few scenarios where community college can benefit the adult learner.

Finish Their Degree

For some, community college can be a path to finally finish schooling already begun. Your secondary education may have been put on hold, whether for financial reasons or because of a life-changing event. When you’re ready to get back on track with your academic career, community college is a great way to start for a number of reasons. Community college is flexible. 

Community colleges offer flexible scheduling. You can continue to work and take care of a family by fitting in classes with your schedule at a nearby location.  If you choose to study online, community colleges offer the advantage of offering more support– both in the classroom, and via guidance counseling and other programs. Community colleges also offer a wide variety of classes and degree paths. You can continue to take prerequisite classes as well as the more specific courses toward a degree. Or, you can earn a two-year Associate Degree right there at community college. If desired, it’s easy to continue to pursue a Bachelor’s Degree at a four-year institution because most class credits are transferable.

Make A Career Change

As an adult learner, you may already be settled in a career. Or perhaps you had a successful career, but took time off to raise a family or take care of a loved one. Either way, if you’re looking to start over and do something different, community college can be a great stepping stone. At a community college, you can get your feet wet and try out classes in the subjects of your choice without having to commit to a degree program–saving you both time and money.  Once you are certain of a new career path, community colleges may offer an Associate Degree or certification in that field – which may be all you need to start a job. 

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Gain Professional Development

You may be happy in your field of work but want to gain more skills or knowledge, perhaps for a different position or for a promotion. Community colleges have classes in specific skill-sets such as IT and computer science, business management or healthcare. Class schedules are often flexible, meeting in the evenings, weekends or taught as hybrid in-class/online courses. Some community colleges even offer one-day non-credit workshops or multi-session courses specifically for continuing professional education in various fields to obtain licensing preparation or CEUs.

Learn a New Skill

In addition to the more academic coursework, community colleges also offer continuing education classes in many areas. You can learn a new skill or pursue new hobbies. These personal enrichment classes run the gambit from art, writing and photography, to languages, gardening, cooking and even personal finance. Classes often meet evenings and weekends to accommodate those with jobs or other family obligations. For a reasonable price, you can learn something new, brush up on an old hobby or just give you the opportunity to carve out time to do something you love.

Adult Education at Norwalk Community College

Adult learners are a substantial and important part of Norwalk Community College. They can be found in all departments, degree tracks and classes at the college. NCC is committed to helping adult learners navigate their college experience by providing  individualized coaching, peer support, and programs to help you academically and financially. To find out more about adult learning at Norwalk Community College, visit us online or call 203-857-6942.