Starting College at 25: Tips for Success

Going to college can be an intimidating experience, regardless of age. However, starting college at 25 or older can feel a lot different than starting as an 18 year old. It’s normal to feel this way, but don’t discourage yourself. No age is “too late” to go to college. Additionally, there are plenty of reasons people choose to start college at 25 or older. Perhaps you’re more financially stable now, and can afford the cost of tuition. 

If you’re starting college at 25 or older, know that you’re not alone. About 31% of all college students are adults 25 and older. So, while you may not be fresh out of high school, there are still many reasons why you can succeed as an adult in college. Here are some tips you can use to do so.

  • Establish your “why”

No matter what age you choose to start college at, it is a big commitment, in both time and money. So, it’s important to establish why you want to earn your degree before you enroll. It can be for personal or career-related reasons. Maybe getting your degree has always been a personal goal of yours but you never had the resources to accomplish it. Regardless, your “why” is important to establish early on in the semester and keep in the back of your mind.

  • Find support

When in college, it’s key to have somewhere you can turn to for support. This can take a lot of the stress that comes with college away because you’ll have people in your life who are there to help you. Try to build a support system both on and off campus, if possible. These can be people in your personal life who can be there for you for support, and professors or academic advisors who want to help you in your college career. Having an encouraging support system can make all the difference when it comes to your college experience.

  • Set realistic expectations for yourself

When starting college at 25, it can be easy to get overwhelmed if you don’t set realistic expectations. As a college student, you’re going to be juggling a few classes at a time.  If you’re not realistic about the work that you can do, you’ll become overloaded with stress. Be realistic about your workflow in college. It may take a few weeks to get in the habit of things, but this is normal, especially for adults who have not been in school for a while. You’ll need to adjust your normal schedule to get into the routine of attending class and studying. 

  • Pick the right program for you

Picking a program is one of the most influential things that will impact your college experience. Many adults choose programs with flexibility so that they can maintain a full-time job, or tend to other life responsibilities. Because of these reasons, many adult learners choose to attend an online university or enroll in a hybrid learning program. These programs are designed to fit it in with a working adults schedule.

There are many other benefits of attending college online as well. If you’re looking to work while attending school, you should consider getting your degree online.

  • Put your real-world experience to use

Students starting college at 25 and older typically already have some level of professional experience. This gives you an advantage in college. You can apply this experience to your studies, which will make learning some concepts easier for you. You may also be able to use your life experience as college credit.

  • Network and make connections

Networking is an important part of college. You will meet many people who can help you advance in your career after graduation. Try to make connections with as many people in college as you can because it will be beneficial to you later during your job search. You can also find mentors and other peers who can help you get ahead later in life.

  • Remember that you’re not alone

Almost a third of college students are adults. So, while you may feel like you don’t fit in, that’s not the case. In any college, there will be other students like you who are also starting at 25. If you can, get together with these adult students and form a study group, for example. This will help you to feel a sense of community.


Starting college at 25 can seem like a daunting task, but it’s never too late to earn your degree. There are many reasons students choose to enter college as an adult, and your life and professional experiences can even give you an advantage. Millions of adult students have had the same concerns, and have overcome them. You can, too!