Salt Lake Community College is known for its diverse student population, and one of the major factors for this diversity is the age difference between the many students who attend SLCC.
There are students who go to college while they are still in high school, and others who wait until later in life to pursue a degree. Each of these perspectives have a variety of pros and cons.
“School is a lot easier when you don’t have to worry what the kids want for dinner while trying to finish homework,” says Tim Ashley, who earned an associate degree right out of high school and finished his bachelor’s after having kids.
The saying “the early bird gets the worm” could be true when talking about earning a college degree.
A student who enters college right out of high school typically has a lot less responsibility than someone who waits. While most younger students do not have children of their own, they may also still live with their parents.
Living at home can significantly reduce cost of living expenses, allowing students to save up more money for tuition and books.
Getting a degree early on may also make a student more desirable to future employers.
“It gives me something to fall back on,” says teacher Jennifer Ashley, who obtained her bachelor’s in art and education.
But youth does not always overcome experience.
Choosing a major and career path at a young age can be difficult, since for many it might take a crystal ball to know what type of work they will enjoy in ten or twenty years.
“Attending college right out of high school, I was not ready to decide exactly what I wanted to do,” Jennifer says.
Older students who go back to school can apply life experiences toward concepts they are learning.
“Who is to say if the early bird gets the worm? Because there just might be two worms in the proverbial garden,” says former SLCC student Connie Christiansen.
Attending college later on in life can also help a student understand the importance of good grades.
Many older students feel a sense of duty to get good grades, which leads to scholarship opportunities. These students also appreciate classes and subjects that younger students might not.
Another advantage to waiting to attend college later in life is financial aid.
Once a student reaches a certain age, they can apply for financial aid without the consideration of their parent’s income. The chances of getting financial aid increase even more if they are a single parent.
SLCC students come from all walks of life. And regardless of age, each student brings a unique perspective that helps to make our campus more diverse.