The Non-Traditional: The Age Gap

Ashley Haberman

For most college students, the age gap between them and their instructors is insignificant, and maybe even similar to what it was like in high school – the teacher is substantially older than the student.

But for non-traditional students, this insignificant gap can become a harsh reality.


I’ve had two classes with my favorite professor so far at CSU. I knew that we were close in age, and thought (maybe more hoped) that we were either of the same age or that she was slightly older. Toward the end of our last class, however, the truth was revealed when she related something on topic to her high school graduation year, which was four years after mine.

We crossed paths in the hallway on that same day during a quick break, and I had to bring it up. “I know, I’m only twenty-seven, and have had a lot of students who are older than me in my classes,” she said. “That’s why I try not to mention it, but it doesn’t bother me if it doesn’t bother you.”

And, of course, it didn’t. But the fact of the age gap can and does make the whole relationship to the class seem a bit awkward – when you are not only older than your classmates, but older than your professor as well.

Collegian writer Ashley Haberman can be reached at