The Late Bloomer’s Guide to Getting into College

Barry Lenson

The Late Bloomer’s Guide to Getting into College

Starting College Later in LifeAre you a late bloomer? If you are, you find yourself in pretty impressive company. After all, many highly successful people didn’t discover their life calling until after high school, and some until they were well into adulthood. They include Steve Jobs, Thomas Edison, Julia Child, Danny Aiello and Rocky Marciano.

The point is, it doesn’t really matter when you start to achieve good things in life. What counts is the fact that you do start, and that you finish after you have begun.

Here are some practical suggestions if you were a late starter in high school . . .

Get a copy of the book Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About Colleges by Loren Pope. This book has achieved a big following among late bloomers, and for a very good reason. Unlike other college directories, it focuses on colleges that have shown special interest in accepting smart and unusual applicants – even those who were not overachievers in high school. The only drawback is that most of the colleges profiled are not inexpensive, even though some of them can be quite generous with financial aid.

Check out’s list of colleges for late bloomers online. You’ll find some that are not included in Colleges That Change Lives. This list is worth checking out.

Consider starting your college studies at a community college. For years, many late bloomers have been using the smart strategy of starting out at community colleges, then transferring to larger state or other institutions. It’s a proven path that can even let you graduate alongside those “early bloomers” you knew in high school – often from the same colleges. To find a community college near you, visit The American Association of Community Colleges’ online community college finder.

Start out by taking courses online. Obviously, we are big advocates of this strategy here at StraighterLine. We’d be happy to give you a big pitch here for our innovative Freshman Year of College for $999 plan, which is terrific for both late bloomers and students who want to trim college costs. But instead of promoting our own offerings here, let us just say that if you pick the right online courses, you can get a strong start in college at any age – 18, 30, 60, 80 . . . or beyond.  

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