Is 27 too old for college?

27 is not too old to start college. As we’ve discussed elsewhere, at pretty much any college or university, you will be surrounded by people ranging from 18-year-olds through retirement age.

When you go to college, you’ll find that the student body wasn’t nearly as uniform age-wise as it was in high school. Whether you’re deciding to finally go back and finish your degree, pursue that degree that you’ve always had an interest in, or invest in your education in order to make a career change, you will find other people in the same exact position as you.

Statista has reported that the % of students who are enrolled in college in their 20s and later has been ticking up for decades. In 2019, 28.6% of Americans aged 22-24 were enrolled in college, as were 11% of Americans aged 25-29. This means that at least 10% of your fellow students will be in the same age bracket as you, not to mention all of the students who are older than you.

Statistic: Share of adult population enrolled in college or other higher education in the United States from 1970 to 2019, by age group  | Statista
Find more statistics at Statista

What age IS too late to start college?

At the risk of sounding like a motivational poster, it’s never too late to pursue your dreams. Colleges do not put age limits on their student bodies (It would be illegal to do so.) and people from all stages of their lives decide to pursue higher education, meaning you will face neither logistical nor societal barriers to getting into college as a 27-year-old.

In fact, the later you are in life, the better prepared you might be. You likely have developed better time management and money management skills. Also, if you’re reading this and trying to figure out how to balance higher ed with your already draining career, that means that this is a very intentional choice for you. Many people who attend college right after graduating high school do so because they feel like that is what they’re “supposed” to do. Those who attend college later in life do so because they really, really want to.

Is it harder for people in their 20s to get into college?

Colleges are not legally allowed to discriminate on applicants based on age, same as they can’t discriminate based on sex, gender, race, or anything else like this. However, you’ll still need a kickass resume, and the ability to write a great college admissions essay. (By the way, should you be funny in your admissions essay? Find out be clicking below:

In order to create an application that can go toe-to-toe with the thousands of other applicants, you might need to take an entrance exam to make up for the fact that your SATs or ACTs could be a bit out-of-date.

Theoritically, though, so long as your high school grades were good—or you secured a GED—and your entrance exam grades were good, you should have just a strong a chance as all of the young bucks applying for the same program.

Can I live on campus as a 27-year old student?

While there might be the odd college with atypical housing eligibility requirements, most colleges do not set strict age restrictions for living in dorms.

Harvard’s housing eligibility page, for example, mentions nothing about age limits.

However, there are handful of schools that do ban students over 25 or so from living on-campus alongside much younger students.

With all that being said, if you’re in 27 or older, the housing department at your school is unlikely to pair you with a young roommate. As someone who was once 18-years old yourself, I would imagine you know that this is a good thing, not a bad thing.

Your college might also be able to hook you up with off-campus housing or housing specifically for older students or students with familes. This will likely be a better match for your lifestyle, unless holding back your recently-dumped roommate’s hair as they puke into the communal toilet still sounds like a good time to you.

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