As we approach mid-September, the spotlight on “back-to-school” is going strong. Back-to-school marketing is often targeted towards school-aged children, but did you know that there are many local options for older adults to embrace going back to school?

The Madison Senior Center, UW-Madison, and Madison College all have options for continuing your learning in exciting and unique ways. There are many available ways that older adults can go back-to-school, but the different choices can become difficult to navigate. In order to ensure your continued learning, check out some of the options that are potentially available to you.

Learning opportunities at the Madison Senior Center

Continued learning opportunities may be easier to access than you think. Madison Senior Center provides many opportunities to listen in on scholarly lectures, learn a new skill, or refresh some of your knowledge. With programs happening daily at the senior center, you can be sure to find something that speaks to you. In the past, Madison Senior Center has held programs such as Spanish conversation, nutrition education, and non-traditional doll making that all work to enhance your knowledge about a subject. Whatever your interests are, you can almost certainly find a program that fits. Check out major programs on our website, Facebook, or monthly newsletter, and be sure to register for any senior center programs by calling (608) 266-6581 or emailing

UW-Madison Senior Learning

UW-Madison provides a lot of different continued learning options to fit your goals and interests. The University of Wisconsin has both paid and unpaid opportunities for learning. Some of the free options for continued learning are senior guest auditing or Wednesday Nite at the Lab. Senior Guest auditing is the ability to sit in on non-participatory lecture classes at UW-Madison. In order to qualify for this program, you must be over the age of 60 and a Wisconsin resident. This opportunity is a great way for you to learn about a topic you have interest in for free. To participate in this program, you must fill out an application as well as have instructor approval for the class you are interested in.

Another great free opportunity is Wednesday Nite at the Lab. This is a program that is held every Wednesday night and consists of UW-Madison researchers describing their investigations and inventions. This is an interesting way to keep up with what UW researchers are doing while learning about an exciting topic in depth.

If neither of these programs sounds like your cup of tea, UW-Madison also offers noncredit courses for a small fee. These classes help you sharpen your knowledge and learn new skills. Some examples of classes that you can take are business classes, computer coding boot camps, and various language courses.

Madison College

Just like UW-Madison, Madison College is a great place for you to “go back-to-school” and continue your studies. Madison College offers noncredit courses that you can enroll in on an individual basis. Madison College offers courses like Introduction to Bridge, Math History, and Weather Forecasting at Home all for a small fee. You can find courses for any of your interests and enroll in them through the school.

As we ease into fall and continue to see a growing excitement around the return to school and cooler weather, make sure that you consider participating in lifelong learning. There are plenty of great, local opportunities for you to grow your knowledge and make “back-to-school” a priority!


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This content is free for use with credit to the City of Madison - Madison Senior Center and a link back to the original post.