Adult Learners

Learning at any age
Building your career opportunities

BC offers a wide variety of programs and options for adult learners seeking to upgrade their skills.

All post-secondary institutions welcome adult learners and have admission policies for mature students.

A good place to start is by making an appointment to see an academic advisor at the institution you would like to attend.

Hear what two students say about their experiences as an adult learner.

Kevin's Story

1:46

Rebecca's Story

2:24

If you are entering post-secondary as an adult learner, or returning after a long break, it is normal to be concerned about how you will fit in.

Common concerns of adult learners:

1. I'm too old to learn

False. Most campuses today have learners of all ages. Learning is an ongoing requirement for career success today and many adults return to post-secondary to take courses to upgrade skills and for professional development. Your life experience is something that younger students don’t have and it is a significant asset.

2. My study skills are rusty and I have not written an essay in years

There are many supports in place to help you get up to speed. BC institutions offer learners support with writing and study skills, library orientations, math upgrading and peer tutor programs.

3. Learning to use a computer is too hard

Learning anything new can be a challenge, but you can do it. Assignments are usually completed using a computer or using the internet to do research and you may not have grown up using computers or learning software programs so start by taking a course to gain computer skills. Computer courses are offered generally through Continuing Studies in your community or at the post-secondary institution you plan to attend.

4. I won't be able to keep up

Going back to school is a big step and may be a bit intimidating. The good news is, you don't have to jump into studies full time. Try taking a class one evening a week or audit a course you find interesting. Auditing a course means you register for and attend the class but are not required to do the assignments or take the tests. This is a great way to improve your study skills and see if you like the experience.

5. I'll hate it

Perhaps your high school experience was not a positive one and you think post-secondary will be the same. College and university are nothing like high school. Most post-secondary students are there because they want to be and they are taking classes that interest them. You have lots of choices. Most adults returning to learning find they do well because they are in control, and are motived by achieving goals they’ve set for themselves.

6. I don't have time

Now, more than ever before, if you truly want to get a post-secondary education, it is possible. There are many flexible learning options: part-time study, evening and weekend courses, online learning, one-year certificates, and prior learning assessment based on workplace learning recognition. You can balance your life and study as well.

it is never too late to get the education you want