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Many Seniors Go Back to the Books

Imagine immersing yourself in the poetry of Robert Frost, the works of Michelangelo or the wonders of astronomy. Or perhaps learning how to use a computer or play the piano is more your style.

No matter what you like to do, now is a great time to sign up for a class so that you can explore your interests.

Many colleges and other educational organizations offer special discounts to older adults. Here are some ideas about how to get started:

Colleges and universities

Many colleges, especially public ones, offer reduced fees for people ages 65 and older. Community colleges are especially affordable and offer a wide range of classes. Many schools also allow you to audit classes for free or for a reduced price. This means that you attend classes but do not receive credit toward a degree. Many colleges have continuing studies programs, which offer classes designed for older adults that may cost less. To find out what a college offers, call the school and request a course catalog and, if available, a continuing studies catalog. In addition to classes, some colleges offer free lectures, exhibits, and discussions that are open to the public. Ask if they provide a bulletin of such events.

Community organizations

In most communities, adult education and continuing education programs offer classes on topics from academic subjects to crafts, sports, and personal finance. In addition, your local senior center, library, museum, and YMCA or YWCA may offer discussion groups, tours, lectures, and seminars.

Educational organizations for seniors

Several organizations offer learning experiences geared especially for older adults. Here are just a few:

  • Elderhostel offers educational trips throughout the United States and the world. The trips include courses as well as tours and other activities. Elderhostel can be costly, although financial aid may be available. For information, visit Elderhostel.

  • Elderhostel also oversees the lifelong learning institutes (LLIs), a network of academic and social programs for older adults. For more information, visit the newly-named Road Scholar program.

  • OASIS is an organization that holds classes and cultural activities in space donated by department stores. Class topics include the arts, health, and local history. Check out an OASIS group near you.

No matter how long you've been out of school or how much education you've already had, learning can expand your mind and enrich your life.