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Adult Learners

Adult Learners

Are You An Adult Learner?

An adult learner may be 24 years of age or older; or a veteran of the armed services; or active duty service member; or returning to school after four or more years of employment, homemaking, or other activity; or a person who assumes multiple adult roles such as parent, spouse/partner, and employee. 

Adult learners may start taking courses one at a time, or as a full-time student.  Many courses are offered in the day, evening, and online.  Adult students may start as a non-degree (non-matriculated) student or apply for a degree program.

Adult Learners can:

  • Take advantage of advising and career services
  • Enroll full-time or part-time
  • Interact with a diverse community of students, faculty and staff
  • Take a few courses, earn a certificate, or complete a degree that is respected worldwide


Adult learners at Penn State have several options. Those who have a high school diploma with a strong grade point average can apply as a first year student.

Those adult learners who have attended another college or university and have at least a 2.00 cumulative grade point average can apply as a transfer student.

If you are an adult learner who has a GED or weak academic preparation, you might want to consider our provisional admission program.

If you are an adult learner interested in taking a few courses for personal or professional development, you can apply as a non-matriculated student.