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Adult Learning at University of North Georgia

Bruce Clark
UNG’s Adult Learner’s Webpage

College can be a stressful time for all students, yet some have extra responsibilities to navigate.

University of North Georgia defines adult learners as students 23 years or older. These students are parents, single parents, full-time workers, part-time workers or a combination thereof.

For them, college is a much different experience. UNG and its adult learning professionals in the Nighthawk Engagement and Student Transitions (NEST) office are here to help them through the semester and beyond.

Allison Naidoo, NEST Nighthawk Next Specialist, says that NEST starts each semester with an open house that emphasizes resources for adult learners in the Adult Learner and Transfer Lounge (ALTL), located in the Student Center Room 302 on the Gainesville campus. The lounges provide a space dedicated to adult learners and transfer students to connect with peers and study or relax in between classes.

These students can also use the Academic, Computing, Testing and Tutoring (ACTT) center in the Watkins building to access tutoring for classes.

Naidoo adds that while UNG may define adult learners as students 23 and up, the institution also acknowledges and provides assistance to students under the age of 23 who bear adult responsibilities.

“Many of our adult learner students are parents, first-generation, and returning students who may face challenges finding a balance between life and school,” says Naidoo.

However, they can rely on UNG’s extensive resources, including the NEST Team, which supports their academic achievements. 

“Some don’t finish their degree in the usual timeframe, but it’s not impossible. Your mind is what matters.” – Allison Naidoo, NEST Nighthawk Next Specialist

Laura Russell, Coordinator for NEST echoes these sentiments.

Russell herself was an adult learner, married with two kids, as a student at Georgia Southern University.

She faced challenges with her college schedule and juggling family responsibilities throughout her academic journey, something she says the adult learners at UNG are all too aware of as well.

“Life happens,” she states, adding that some older students take as little as one class per semester or even must leave college in the middle of their degree program to finish later.

For Russell, her biggest perceived challenge returning to college was math. Many adult learners struggle with math, especially if they have not taken a math class in a few years.

That is one reason that UNG and NEST ensure that students know that tutoring is available and that they should always seek help from their instructors when they do not understand something in class. Russell enrolled in a Learning Support Math class, which gave her the tools to pass her algebra class successfully.

For those wanting to gauge whether returning to school is for them, Russell says that the typical adult learner at UNG is 29 years old with a 3.0 GPA.

However, this does not mean that older students are not present. This semester, UNG has over 50 students over 60, with the oldest being 85.

Russell hopes to bring the adult learners at UNG a wide range of support and opportunities to achieve success and alleviate stress.

“The key priorities are assisting students in accessing various academic resources and fostering a sense of belonging within the UNG community.” – Laura Russell, coordinator for Nighthawk Engagement and Student Transitions.

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About the Contributor
Bruce Clark
Bruce Clark, Editor In Chief

My name is Bruce Clark, and I am the next Editor in Chief for the Vanguard. I attend UNG Gainesville and will graduate with my Bachelor's in Communications with a focus in Multimedia Journalism in 2025. I write about events, academic programs and a handful of other miscellaneous topics and look forward to building our newspaper over the course of the next year.

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