Continuing Education Solutions2024-04-26T13:21:33-05:00


While the stereotypical college student is between 18 and 23, an increasing number of students are over 24 and returning to post-secondary education after time away from academia.

Of the approximately 15 million students currently enrolled in American higher education institutions, as many as 8 million (or just over half) are adult learners.

In other words, adult learners aren’t just an essential demographic for your institution—they could be your most important demographic.

To connect with adult learners as a higher education institution, you need adaptable marketing campaigns that speak to the unique factors of continuing education for adults.

At Advance Education, we are a higher education marketing agency that creates customized, targeted enrollment campaigns to help your institution forge lasting connections with adult learners.



The traditional higher education student, aged 18-23, typically has recently graduated high school and is financially dependent on parents who significantly influence their decisions.

By contrast, adult learners tend to be financially independent and may have been out of the education system for years or decades. As such, adult learners are motivated by different factors than traditional students.


Under the umbrella of “adult learners,” many different types of students return to higher education later in life. Job seekers may seek new credentials for their resumes, lifelong learners could be drawn to personal enrichment and development, and military veterans may have missed the opportunity to matriculate after high school.

While their motivations are diverse, adult learners share several commonalities:

  • They prioritize career development over superficial factors that sway traditional students, like whether their friends attend the same school.
  • They are more interested in specialized degree programs that can further their careers.
  • They care about how continuing education will impact their existing commitments, such as a job and family.

At Advance Education, we account for these unique factors when we create bespoke enrollment marketing campaigns for continuing education institutions.


Adult learners, having possibly been away from education for several years, are more likely to have established careers during that period. So, career development and job opportunities are higher priorities for adult learners, and your enrollment marketing campaign should reflect that.

Here are some ways we help higher education institutions craft career-oriented enrollment campaigns:

  • Crafting a Narrative. People resonate with stories. By creating and sharing thoughtful narratives, we help adult learners visualize their path to success. They want to know how your institution will take them from where they are to where they want to be, and a well-crafted narrative facilitates this visualization.
  • Focusing on Results. Career-oriented learners may be interested in gaining greater knowledge in their field, qualifying for jobs with a new degree, or launching a career in a new industry. By focusing on results through sharing positive case studies, we attract adult learners to continuing education institutions.
  • Using the Right Channels. Engaging adult learners effectively entails talking to them where they already frequent. The right blend of advertising channels ensures that your target demographic will hear your story as they begin their journey to continuing education. This should include social media, digital advertising, and email marketing.


An adult continuing education typically may do so to hone in on a specialized field—whether it’s pursuing an advanced degree, delving into a niche area of study, or exploring a unique format.

Your institution’s narrative should highlight what is special about your institution.

While lifelong learners may be more interested in one-off classes, most career-oriented adult learners already have a specific focus in mind. Therefore, superficial factors like a beautiful campus or vibrant student life, which might be significant considerations for traditional students, are less important to adult learners.

Instead, your marketing should focus on specialized degree programs desirable to this audience. We highlight your institution’s best qualities to maximize your chances of connecting unique students to unique opportunities.


Adult learners tend to be more financially independent than their traditional counterparts. They’re also more likely to have families to provide for, so their preexisting obligations to their employer can be non-negotiable.

Does your institution offer flexible class times, online or hybrid options, or accelerated study programs? Your enrollment marketing should highlight how your institution can accommodate prospective students’ existing lifestyles and obligations.

Even if your institution doesn’t offer unique schedules or programs, your enrollment marketing activities can highlight how adult learners can integrate your institution into their lifestyle. Case studies, alumni testimonials, and student success statistics can all help demonstrate how adult learners can thrive at your institution.


While every demographic of college students is incredibly diverse, adult learners are perhaps the most varied. Despite sharing commonalities, they may have had drastically different routes to the same destination.

Adult learners could be 25-year-olds who took several gap years between high school and an undergraduate program, 60-year-olds returning to complete a degree, or advanced degree-holders returning to academia after years in the workplace.

Such diversity requires an adaptable, customized enrollment marketing campaign. We can help you achieve it.

Advance Education helps higher education institutions craft thoughtful, compelling narratives fueled by cutting-edge, data-driven strategies.

Contact us to learn how our proven approach to enrollment marketing can empower your institution to meet its enrollment goals.

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