Renewed sense of urgency for ‘adulting’ courses

Meeting the need for life skills lessons for young adults in the age of COVID-19, with financial management and other topics being more important than ever.

The University of Kentucky is the latest higher ed institution to launch a life skills course for teens—covering everything from what to put on a resume (babysitting?) and how credit cards work to whether healthy meals can come from a box. More broadly, “Adulting 101” covers financial management, online safety, cooking and nutrition, etiquette and more. It starts June 16. The online offering, for teens living anywhere, costs $29.99 to enroll and is being taught by UK instructors and Cooperative Extension Specialists, whose office falls under the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment.

The need for such courses may be greater than ever before in a country impacted heavily by the pandemic. “Higher unemployment rates mean fewer summer jobs for students and thus fewer chances to learn money management skills,” says Carmen Agouridis, associate dean for instruction in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. “Now more than ever, teenagers need opportunities to learn and practice valuable life skills.”

Adulting courses give young people the chance to get answers to questions “that may be otherwise left to Google or trial and error,” Agouridis adds. “Our hope with this course is that we better prepare students for the road that lies ahead.”

As Parade reported last fall, such courses are popping up not only at colleges and universities but also at high schools and libraries as well as by privately run groups.

The article points to helicopter parents and schools pushing kids toward academic achievement while neglecting the teaching of common sense, real-world skills as the reason such courses and workshops are needed.

A December 2019 LA Times article featuring UC Berkeley’s class for “adults in training” went viral, and by late January 2020, news outlets were reporting that the eight-week Berkeley class had become so popular, it “had to turn 200 wannabe adults away.”

Lest anyone think a single course in adulting is all that’s needed, enter the Portland, Maine-based Adulting School, which is now expanding to online delivery, too. Content is broken into six categories—money, wellness, DIY, work, relationships and lifestyle—and is aimed at people of all ages “who still don’t know (for example) WTF and APR is, or how to fix the hole in their walls so they don’t lose their security deposit.”

Melissa Ezarik is senior managing editor of DA.

DA’s coronavirus page offers complete coverage of the impacts on K-12 education.

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