When college students are brought up, most people envision young men and women between the ages of 18 and 22 who entered college fresh out of high school. Despite this stereotype, the truth is that modern colleges and universities have an increasing number of nontraditional students, usually defined as those starting school after the age of 25. If you’re past the age of the “normal” college student and still haven’t started or completed your degree, though, it’s a long way from being too late for you. In fact, you probably have some edges you don’t even realize over your younger counterparts. Here are five of the top advantages of going back to school as a nontraditional student.

You Have a Better Idea of What You Want to Do

One of the many reasons that younger students drop out or even don’t go to college in the first place is that they aren’t sure what they want to do. If you’re considering going back to school as a nontraditional student, you’ve probably had enough work experience to have developed a sense of your natural strengths and interests, as well as what kind of work you enjoy doing. Using this enhanced experience from the real working world, you can make a better and more informed decision about what you should major in to get the most out of your studies.

You Know How to Work Effectively

Stressed, overtired college students struggling to handle their work loads is a trope as old as universities themselves. If you’ve spent time in the workforce, though, you’ve likely developed the time management skills and self-discipline needed to succeed in a high-pressure environment. Though it isn’t really academic, knowing how to work diligently and structure your efforts is a vital skill set that will help you succeed in school.

Professors Will Be Surprisingly Supportive

College professors are often very happy to see nontraditional students in their classes. Unlike traditional students, older learners provide professors with people they can relate to as peers. As a result, professors are often especially supportive of nontraditional students in their classrooms. Because of their very different perspectives and experiences, older students also help to liven up classroom discussion with new views and ideas, which most professors actively enjoy.

You’ll Have More Credibility When You Start Your New Job Search

When traditional college students receive their diplomas, they often go out into the job market with little to no actual work experience. If you’re a nontraditional student, though, the word experience you accrued prior to starting your degree program can actually make you more attractive to potential employers than your younger classmates.

You’ll Have Fewer Distractions

When people go off to college in their late teens, they often find themselves distracted from their studies by things like dating, socializing with other students and activities outside of school. Most nontraditional students manage to avoid these distractions because they have already done these things when they were younger. Not having to deal with the pressures of a young person’s social life can make getting through college much easier and allow you to stay focused on your studies.

These are just a few of the many advantages of going back to school as a nontraditional student. If you’ve been thinking about going back to school but are worried that you may be too old, keep in mind that there are actually more advantages than disadvantages to earning your degree later on in life.

The National Society of Collegiate Scholars (NSCS) is an honors organization, boasting 320 plus chapter nationwide, that recognizes high-achieving first-and second-year students. With its three pillars of scholarship, leadership, and service, NSCS is proud to provide career and graduate school connections, leadership and service experiences, practical and skills-based content, access to discounts and savings, and over a million dollars in scholarships, chapter funds and awards annually. To learn more about joining the NSCS honors society, visit us at http://www.nscs.org/join.