Students studying after class. (Photo courtesy of

by Molly Croce

NEWBURGHThirty-eight percent of post-secondary students are over the age of 25, according to a study by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, and 34 percent of adult learners over the age of 40 were full time students.

Mount Saint Mary College (MSMC) welcomes students of all ages who are looking to complete their current degree, advance an existing one, or start a whole new degree on its own.

Mary Presutti, a senior and history major, took 31 years to come back to school to complete her degree.

“It was a personal goal of mine to get a degree,” said Presutti. “My husband goaded me into finishing because he worked here. I needed to pass three math classes which was the reason I never finished. Math was never my strong subject.”

Another student, who asked to remain anonymous, came to MSMC to get an English degree after 23 years of being out of high school.

Her drive to come back to school was to “die with my degree. My five kids and husband have a degree and I wanted one too.”

While some adult students feel they are treated the same as traditional students, there are others who feel they are treated a little different because of their age, whether it be with professors or students.

“Professors treat me more like a friend because I am either their age or older,” she said.

As most students who come back to school at a later date have a full time job, family, and other obligations, they find balancing their degree with their personal lives can be a struggle at times.

“I have less time to get work done before school,” said the anonymous student. “I get my assignments done as early as possible. I do not have time to procrastinate anything.”

Regardless of how much time students take off, they still feel the time taken off from schooling provides more determination to get better grades.

The anonymous student “only accepts A’s. Nothing else is welcome.”

Presutti uses her real life experience to get the grades she needs to feel satisfied.

“I find that school is much easier now than it was before,” said Presutti. “I have years of real life experience that mirrors my choice of major.”

Both older students have advice for those who are in school now.

“When I graduated high school in 1972, it was still possible to get somewhat of a satisfying job,” said Presutti. “Now you can go nowhere without a college degree. I never gained the prominence I would have liked to because I never finished college.”

The anonymous student feels strongly about students staying in college.

“Stay in school kids,” said said. “Being a low paid worker stinks!”