You're Never Too Cool, Or Old, To Return To School

By Ellie Walburg on October 27, 2017

When asked to imagine a typical college student, many people visualize a 18-22 year-old fresh out of high school. Some may live with their parents, others in a residence hall. They're growing in maturity and are eager to make a difference in their lives and in their future careers.

But there are also amazing college students who come with much more years of life and work experience. Think you're too old for school since you graduated high school decades ago? Think again.

Here, we share personal testimonies of students who show that educational success has no age limit.

Jan Dressander

Adult female in a white jacket sitting near a classroomI was a grandma in 1998 when I received a brochure from Cornerstone to pursue my education that God used to change the course of my life.

I had worked my way through many different positions at a nursing home, eventually becoming director of a dementia care home. But when asked about my education, I had only graduated from high school. I was asked to give up the position as I wasn't qualified.

I felt I was too old and not smart enough to get a college degree. But when that brochure from Cornerstone came in the mail, I made the decision once and for all, prove to others that I was willing to give it a try, but that I still was not college material.

I signed up for the associate degree in business and loved it. I even received an honors award based on the recommendation of faculty for my leadership skills, scholarship, participation and service. I went on for two more years and graduated with my Bachelor of Science degree in Ministry Leadership. To God be the glory!

Now, I teach and consult with families, caregivers, encourage teens, children and those with the challenges of dementia. I am living my mission every day and encouraging others that it's never too late to go to college!

Richard Sinke

My time at Cornerstone has been transformational. It's transformed me back to the man I should be for God, who I really need to be, who I drifted away from for a while, but now has brought me back into the fold where I belong.

I've been doing the same kind of work for the last 30 years. I worked in shipping and receiving, inventory control, materials department, etc. If I really wanted to grow in my role to manager or anything like that, I needed a degree.

I'd like to be a Christian manager in leadership—where you deal with everyone with integrity and honesty, how Christ would act toward His people. You want to be loving but also able to lead by example.

I hope people see someone more self-confident, a little more bold, more willing to step out on the line to help another. I feel like I've become a greater influencer by the way I present myself now the way people see me as who I actually am. I'm just trying to be the man I'm supposed to be for Christ and do the best I can at that.

Tom Prus

I started with my associate degree 30 years ago at a community college. I went back to get my bachelor's, and it just wasn't working out with different things. I got married, kids came along and I never finished. So, after decades, it was always sitting in the back of my head that I needed to finish.

Coming back to school, I didn't know what to expect. The teachers were all older—more my age—and had a lot of work experience. That made it easier for me to relate to my teachers.

For me, it's like I finally did something that has been out there for so long. My family and friends thought it was really outstanding that I went back.

Looking back when I was filling out my kid's FAFSA, it would say 'Parent's Education,' and my wife graduated with a nursing degree. Then for mine, it would be, 'didn't finish college.' That really stuck with me. It's not that I couldn't do it, it's that I didn't do it.

I always regretted not finishing way back then and what could have been. But I'm not going to look back at that. It's God's plan.

If I can do it at my age, anyone can do it. It's doable. It's worth it.

Adult male taking notes at a wooden table

Barbara Kosanovich

Continuing my education at Cornerstone University has reinvigorated my love of teaching ESL students.

I am more inspired and more invested in what happens in the classroom than ever before. Through the Cornerstone M.A. TESOL program, I have come to appreciate the necessity of scholarly research and am challenged to conduct my own research in the areas of TESOL that interest me.

Completing this program has given me a new outlook on my life, both professionally and personally. I have gained confidence in my abilities from completing my M.A. in TESOL, which has positively affected all aspects of my life.

Shane Myszak

December of 1989 was the last time I went to school to graduate with an associate degree. Going back to school after 27 years was an opportunity too good to pass up. After a major event in my life, going back to school now was a way to get that education I needed to help others.

Pursuing a degree in psychology from Cornerstone University is helping me help others. Taking classes in the PGS program one night a week was scary at first. I did not know how I was going to fit this in my busy, everyday life. But as I went week after week, it became a part of my life. The professors at Cornerstone were like me, teaching one day a week. They taught from a Christ-centered worldview, which was important to me and why I chose Cornerstone.

My advice to those thinking about going back to either start a new chapter in your life or to complete something they started long ago is, just do it! The only thing in your way is you. I tell myself everyday that I can do this, and I'm doing it one day at a time. Cornerstone University has given me another opportunity to change my life, so I can help change others.

Kristin Glynn

I decided to pursue my degree at the age of 46 because I felt through prayer that getting my bachelor's degree in psychology would be beneficial in my Christian walk and enrich my professional career.

I researched several online programs and found that Cornerstone University is an accredited Christian university. The classes at Cornerstone would help with my personal growth as a Christian and obtain my desired degree.

My experience returning to classes that were online is very enriching, and the format of the classes gave clear expectations of the coursework and due dates. I did have some anxiety at first about taking online classes, but that anxiety quickly turned to excitement with the professional, caring professors and the outstanding peers in my cohort.

The advice that I would give to others wary about returning to college is that all things are possible through Christ (Philippians 4:13). Set a goal for yourself to complete the program and share your goals with your pastor, family and friends.

I had a fantastic, positive support system that was there for me every step of the way. I feel very blessed that God guided me to Cornerstone University to complete my degree at this stage in my life! Obtaining my bachelor's degree was such a positive experience, which has led me to the decision to pursue my master's degree online through Cornerstone University!

Picnic table with a laptop, notebook, water glass, smartphone and plant

Bianca Foster

One reason I chose to complete my degree at the time and age that I did was to finish something I had started over 20 years earlier. I was tired of telling people that I had been to college, yet I did not have a degree. I vowed I would complete my degree by the age of 40 and by the grace of God, I completed my degree two months before my 41st birthday.

My second reason for pursing my degree was to set an example to my children on the importance of furthering their education. I had a son entering high school at the same time my degree program was starting, so I felt it was the perfect time for me to finish what I had started.

I would tell students who may be returning to school after many years away to never give up! You also need a strong support system and people around you who can encourage you when things get rough.

Having a goal or strong motivation for returning to school is key to making it to the finish line. The journey in obtaining my degree also strengthened my relationship with God; I had to totally and completely trust that he would help me through every assignment and obstacle that came my way. I leaned on my favorite scripture from day one of this journey, Philippians 4:13, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me" (King James Version).

Education has No Age Limit

Pursuing your professional and personal goals through education doesn't have an age limit. Whether you're age 21 or 51, a college education brings along benefits valuable in helping you succeed.

You're never too cool, or old, for school.

Hear From More of Our Students

Do you want to hear more stories of how a degree program has changed the lives of our alumni? Check out our alumni testimonial page.

Category: Why College