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What is a Night School?

Mary McMahon
Updated Mar 02, 2024
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A night school is a school which conducts classes during the evenings or on the weekends, making an education accessible to people who might not be able to attend classes during the day. Many night schools are held on college or high school campuses which are used during the weekdays. This practice allows night schools to cut down on operating costs substantially, which can allow them to charge less to their students.

Primarily, night schools are designed for adult education. Most adults have regular working hours which would prevent them from attending classes for personal and professional advancement during the night. A night school makes such classes available and creates a support network of similar students who can assist each other with a variety of needs, ranging from coping with childcare issues to studying for tests together.

Night schools can have a number of different goals. Some are designed to provide adult literacy services to people who are illiterate or struggling to learn a new language. Many people around the world are functionally illiterate, and attending night school can open many new opportunities to them in addition to making it easier for them to navigate in society. Other schools offer high school equivalency classes so that people can get high school diplomas or prepare for tests which will result in a high school equivalency certificate.

Trade classes and classes for professional advancement are also available. Night school students can learn trades such as cosmetology, nursing, law, and automobile repair, among many other things, taking advantage of classes and schedules which are tailored to their needs. Individuals who are interested in entering or re-entering academic while working can also take night school classes to prepare for transfer for a college or university, or to obtain a bachelor's degree, depending on the type of school.

Students who are interested in expanding their educational horizons at a night school can talk to college and high school counselors, who will have information about regional night schools and other options, such as low residency college programs. Financial aid is available for many students who may have trouble paying for such programs, as are a variety of tuition repayment programs which can be adjusted to address a specific financial issue or circumstance. Students may also want to be aware that special funding may be available if they are the first in their families to attend college, and that many employers will help pay for night school classes which will allow an employee to advance professionally.

Practical Adult Insights is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a Practical Adult Insights researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By tigers88 — On Jan 08, 2012

I met my wife in night school. We were both pursing culinary degrees through one of the community colleges and we met in one of the introductory classes. We had to do a project together, and over a beautifully braised prime rib we made a connection.

I asked her out for a drink after class and the rest is history. We have been together for 15 years now and I could not be happier. We both got our degrees and went on to work in restaurants, but I think she was the best thing I got out of those night school classes.

By nextcorrea — On Jan 08, 2012

Night school makes a lot of sense and it would be really convenient for me. Unfortunately, it seems like the only colleges that offer night schools are backwater state schools and for profit colleges that just want you to get to take out loans. Like, you never hear about MIT night school.

I wish there was a way I could take classes from a really prestigious university, a Harvard or a Yale, but at night. I guess these colleges are so rich and exclusive that they don't really need to accommodate non traditional students like myself.

By gravois — On Jan 07, 2012

I was able to get my MBA through night school courses. This was great because I had a full time job at the time and I was hoping to move up in the company. I didn't want to cut my hours or leave the job because I wanted to go back to school. I was actually hoping to leverage my MBA into a promotion.

One of the local universities offered a part time night school program that had several different graduate degree options. It took me 4 years to get the MBA, but I was able to take classes around my own schedule and at a pace that accommodated the demands of my full time job.

I got the promotion I was hoping for and I feel like my life is finally starting to get on track. I would recommend night school to anyone that wants to get ahead but doesn't have their days free.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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