If you’re 21 and thinking of going to college then you might be wondering whether or not 21 is too old to start college.

This post will show you a number of reasons that 21 is not too old to start college and some things that you might want to consider.

So, is 21 too old to start college? You still have a long potential working life ahead of you, college will provide you with more opportunities and you’ll likely be able to focus on your studies better than the other students. All of these factors mean that 21 is not too old to start college.

There are actually a number of reasons that 21 is not too old to start college but there are a number of things that you might want to consider.

It will provide you with a number of opportunities

The main reason that it is not too late to start college at 21 is that it will provide you with a number of new opportunities.

Currently, there will be a number of jobs that are out of your reach since they require you to have a college degree. Getting a college degree will help you in qualifying for these jobs. If you have been working already then the experience that you have could also give you an advantage over the other college grads.

In addition, over a 40-year working life bachelors degree holders are expected to make 66% more than those without a bachelors degree. This means that getting a degree should help to improve your life considerably over the long run. This is especially the case when you consider that you still have a long working life ahead of you.

With that being said, something to consider is that different degrees will give you different job opportunities and some give more than others. Degrees in the STEM field will often be among the best in terms of job prospects. However, there are many others that also come with good job prospects. You can look at this website to see how well the degree, you are thinking of getting, pays.

You’ll have a stronger purpose

Often, college students will go to college without really knowing why they want to. This can cause them to study less than they should, to not take their classes seriously and not to get the most out of college.

In your case, you’ll likely have a much stronger reason for wanting to go to college. This should help you to focus on your studies more and to get the most out of college.

In addition, students will often change their major multiple times throughout college. While it is ok to do this, it can make things difficult for them. This is because it can cause them to take classes that don’t end up counting toward their major and they might have to adjust their class sequence to be less optimized.

Since you’ll have had some more time to consider college and what you want in life you’ll likely be able to choose your major and to stick with it a lot easier. This should help you to do better academically since you’ll be able to take classes in an optimal sequence. It could also help you to graduate more quickly.

You’ll be able to appreciate the classes more

Another way in which you might actually have an advantage over the other students is that you’ll be able to better appreciate the classes.

Many students struggle to motivate themselves to study for a class when they don’t see why it is important. Seeing as you will have had a chance to get some more real-world experience it should help you to see why the classes matter more easily. This should help you to do better academically.

There will be students that are older than you

If you’re concerned that you will be older than the other students then there is no need to be. It is not uncommon for people to start college in their 40’s and even 50’s. So, as a 21-year-old you will not be considered as being old.

In 2018, a projected 12.3 million college and university students will be under age 25 and 7.6 million students will be 25 years old and over.

https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=372

The youngest students won’t be much younger than you

Another thing to consider is that even the youngest students won’t be that much younger than you. Freshmen that went straight to college out of high school will only be 3 years younger than you. 3 Years is not a large difference and it is unlikely that they will even be able to notice.

In addition to this, the seniors will be 22 years old if they went straight to college out of high school. This means that there will be many students around the campus that are actually older than you are now.

People are bad judges of age

Another thing to consider is that people tend to be bad at judging how old people are. It is likely that the students around you will not be able to tell how old you really are especially when you’re only three years older than them.

College is also a place where people are supposed to go to learn things. So, it is unlikely that they will actually care how old you are even if they do know your age.

21 Is still young

As a 21-year-old you will still have at least a 40-year time horizon where you will be able to work. This is a long time where you will be able to benefit from the increased opportunities that the degree could give you.

Many other students start college at a similar age as you

Another thing to consider is that it is not uncommon for people not to go straight to college straight out of high school. Many people take a gap-year or work for a few years instead. This means that it is likely that there will be many students starting college at a similar age as you.

Things to consider

While starting college at 21 is not too late, there are some things that you might want to consider before you start college.

The amount of time you will have

The first thing to think about is the amount of spare time that you will have to study.

While many people have been able to get a college degree while also working, it does require good time management and discipline. If you are thinking of going to college while also working then it would be worthwhile for you to take measures to ensure that your time in college goes as smoothly as possible.

Things that you could do could include:

  • Taking slightly fewer classes per semester than usual.
  • Planning your entire degree out early on so that you are able to identify any potential problem areas and to spread out the more difficult classes.
  • Use ratemyprofessors.com to get the most highly rated professors. Make sure to schedule classes early since the classes taught by the better professors will fill up fast.
  • Ensure that you study throughout the semester so that you don’t need to cram the information in at the last minute.
  • Planning out the semester so that you can plan your work schedule more easily.

Community college

Something that students will commonly do is go to community college for two years and then transfer to a 4-year college after. Doing this can help to save money since community colleges tend to be a lot cheaper than 4-year colleges.

If you do decide to go to community college beforehand, make sure that the classes will transfer over well into the major that you want to get at the 4-year college.

The college

The culture of a college can vary a lot depending on a number of factors. The age, location, size of student body and type can all have an impact on the culture that a college has.

Before going to college it would be worthwhile for you to consider what it is that you want to get out of it and how well known it is in the degree area that you are considering.

Alternatives

Another thing to consider is that many jobs that require a bachelors degree will often consider candidates that have relevant experience. If you have been working for a few years in the field that you want to be in then it could be that you already qualify for these jobs.

Before going to college it might be worthwhile for you to interview at some positions that you want to see if you can get in already.

The major

As mentioned already, different majors provide different job prospects. While it is important to choose a major that you find interesting, it is also important to choose one that will put you in a good position upon graduation.

Currently, STEM majors typically have strong job prospects especially those that deal with a lot of data such as statistics. Computer science is also one that typically gives good job opportunities upon graduating.

With that being said, there are many degrees outside of STEM that also give good job prospects. You can look at this website to get stats on the major that you are considering.

Retaking tests

Another thing to consider is that the SAT and GRE scores that you have will become invalid after 5 years.

If you don’t enroll in college before they become invalid then you will need to take them again. This is one reason that you might want to apply to colleges sooner rather than later.

Author

I created and currently manage College Corner. I received a Bachelor's degree in Mathematics from the University of Nevada Las Vegas. My goal is to help current students do better in college and to help future students plan for college. You can read more about me and my website here.