By Hope Doyen, Ashley Harrison & Emily Murphy
For many, going to college has been challenging because it is another four-year commitment, a financial liability, and complicated courses. The University of Wisconsin – Green Bay (UWGB) is an institution where people can come back to school with others just like them. Not everyone is able to go to college right out of high school, so this provides someone with a more accessible transition into college.
UWGB offers a program in which older generations can take classes with other students who have decided to come to college to begin or finish their degree. This program allows students to take classes that work within their schedule, enabling them to create their own path to the degree.
To understand this program, a recent graduate provided information and insights. Kelly Anderson, a UWGB Spring 2022 Communication Graduate, talked with us about why she decided to join the program after taking a long break. Anderson explains that she had no interest in going to school for 20 years after graduating high school. Upon applying to UWGB for the Undergraduate program, Anderson was diagnosed with breast cancer which stopped her from returning. After a speedy recovery, Anderson had questioned applying to UWGB. But Anderson said, “I knew it was what I wanted to do.”
Once attending school, Anderson questioned why she didn’t do this sooner and couldn’t be happier that this opportunity was offered to her. Anderson said, “While I could’ve applied to an online course school, I would have rather learned in person, and UWGB was the best way to go.” Anderson was shocked about how welcoming and inclusive the students and faculty were despite her age. Anderson said, “I am happy that this program exists and wish that all who have hopes to return to school attend this program.”
While less than 5% of UWGB students are over the age of 40, there is still a chance for everyone to attend. According to the 2022 National Center of Education Statistics report, 17 percent of part-time undergraduates attending public four-year institutions are 35 and older. While the idea of returning to school after a long period could be challenging, the outcome of graduating with a degree is more significant than the fear of going back to school.
The table shows the age difference between students under 21 up to 30 and over. This shows how the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay campus, amongst the other UWGB campuses like Manitowoc, Marinette, and Sheboygan, has a similar percentage (18%) of students who are over the age of 35 applying. UWGB is embracing that students don’t want to immediately go to college after they graduate high school, so the university offers a program that allows students to come back when they want.