Lifelong learning institutes are open to anyone, regardless of previous academic experience. All that is needed is a desire to keep one’s mind sharp and the joy that comes from learning something new.

At most LLIs, members are encouraged to take part in the running of the program, be it teaching a course, answering the phone, or anything else. So if you have a particular subject that you are knowledgeable and/or passionate about, talk to someone on the Curriculum Committee. They will be glad to help you get started.

Yes, most LLIs offer computer training. In the early days most of these courses were very basic in nature, but today, with so many people computer-literate, many of the courses are more advanced. Talk to your LLI about their offerings.

Fees differ, depending on the particular LLI. Some LLIs have a membership fee only, others a mix of membership fees and course fees. Fees can run from a low of about $25 to a high of, on average, $125 per year. By paying a membership fee, people tend to take more “ownership” of their LLI and the chances are greater that they will want to help out to ensure the best program possible. What’s nice, however, is that all LLIs are very cognizant of the budgets of older adults and strive to keep fees as low as possible.

Some do, some don’t. The best thing to do is give the program you are interested in a quick phone call. They can answer any questions you might have.

At the very heart of every Lifelong Learning Institute is the curriculum. Committees, composed of LLI members, decide what courses are to be offered, based on input from other members. A Curriculum Committee puts in long hours planning and organizing. That hard work shows in the quality of the courses offered by each LLI. Here is a brief sampling of some of the courses offered at Lifelong Learning Institutes.:

  • Music in French Civilization
  • Four from J.S. Bach
  • The Elements of Music
  • Memorable Musicals Art & Ideas: Romantic America
  • Beginning Watercolor - Pen & Ink
  • Basic Drawing
  • American Mystery Writers
  • Modern Short Fiction of the American South
  • James Fenimore Cooper’s Greatest Novels
  • Louisa May Alcott: Her Life & Work
  • Creative Writing
  • Everywoman’s Story Project
  • Life Writing
  • A Playwright’s Theatre
  • Theatre & the Public Good
  • Play Reading for Culture
  • Plays in Production
  • Reading & Understanding Poetry
  • The Epic
  • Schoolroom Poets
  • Understanding Shakespeare’s Sonnets
  • Nutrition & Food Issues
  • Biology of Aging
  • Medical Test Results
  • The Mind/Body Connection
  • Civil War
  • Celts: A History of Ireland, Scotland, Wales - Lewis & Clark
  • Early American History
  • Local Ecosystems
  • Local Island Ecology
  • Municipal Government
  • Aquaculture Research
  • Current Affairs/Events
  • Foreign Policy – Science courses of every type
  • Mathematics
  • … the list goes on and on.

The social nature of lifelong learning can help us live longer. People join lifelong learning institutes as much for the socialization as for the education. Social activities are a very strong component of LLIs. There, people make lifelong friends. Here are some of the social events taking place at LLIs:
Walking & Hiking Clubs - Theater Trips - Dinner Clubs - Book Clubs - Current Events Groups - Weekend Getaways - Summer Picnics - Theme Festivals - Chess Clubs - Ice Cream Socials - Holiday Parties - Theme Dinners - Card Groups - Bird Clubs - Special Interest Groups
Statewide and regional conferences are also another way LLI members interact on both a professional and social level. Conferences are a great way of bringing LLIs together, to discuss the nature of their programs, their missions, policies and procedures, to share concerns, find solutions, and to celebrate their many victories.

Yes, travel of all types is very popular with LLI members. Be it a short field trip to round out a course being taken, or a day trip to a local historical site, or overnight travel, all LLIs offer stimulating educational travel. Working with the Road Scholar Charter programs, LLIs also offer their members more wide-ranging travel all around the world. LLIs believe that educational travel, in all forms, is both stimulating and enriching, teaching us about the world and the people who inhabit it.

Things happen that can cause us to occasionally miss a class that we’ve signed up for. When that happens let the office know you won’t be attending that day. If you’ve signed up for a course and then discover you can not take any of the classes, be sure to let the office know right away so they can add someone from the waiting list in your place.

LLIs do their best to ensure that participants can park as close to classrooms as possible. Sometimes this can be a bit challenging, especially if the LLI is meeting on a college campus. But the LLIs usually work out arrangements with the parking department. In some instances, LLIs have a bus that transports members. If the LLI is meeting off-site, there is almost always easy, nearby parking.