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Where to take lifelong learning classes in and around Asheville

Here are five centers and institutes offering courses to adults looking to learn something new.

An old white barn with WWC painted on the front.

Learn about Warren Wilson College’s history in the “The Valley Remembers: A People’s History of Warren Wilson College, 1100-1999" course at The Mountain Institute.

Photo via Warren Wilson College

Even if your school days are behind you, it’s never too late to learn something new. Class is in session, so today, we’re exploring where adults can go to continue their education. Whether you want to learn a new skill, study history, or become more engaged in your community, the Asheville area is a haven for lifelong learning.

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI)

OLLI, which is housed in UNC Asheville’s Reuter Center, offers a host of programs for curious adults (most members are 55+). To unlock all the institute has to offer, you first need to become a member and purchase a parking decal.

  • The College for Seniors (CFS) program gives folks the community and inspiration of academic life without the less fun parts like tests and grades. OLLI members can register for summer CFS classes beginning Monday, April 29 — find more details on registration.
  • Leadership Asheville Seniors gives OLLI members a chance to get civically engaged during a 10-week course of discussions with community leaders — registration for the fall program is now open.
  • OLLI’s program schedule is jam-packed with Fab Friday lectures, Life Transitions workshops, and partner presentations from organizations like the Sierra Club and the Astronomy Club of Asheville. Browse the full schedule of upcoming events.

The Mountain Institute for Lifelong Learning

Warren Wilson College recently launched this program, allowing adults of all ages to take courses in the areas of craft, art and multimedia, natural science and writing, and history. Hone your skills in creating wearable art, crafting a personal oral history, and producing a short film in one week (just to name a few). Browse the list of noncredit course offerings that take place this May and July, primarily on Warren Wilson’s campus.

A-B Tech Continuing Education

The community college offers courses in a variety of disciplines, built upon the concept of lifelong learning. Classes fall into divisions from community enrichment programs to business incubation. Browse online course options like Blogging and Podcasting for Beginners and Mastering Public Speaking to in-person options like PC Basics, language, and music courses — find registration info.

North Carolina Arboretum Adult & Continuing Education Classes

From insect ecology to forest bathing retreats to flora and tree identification, the North Carolina Arboretum offers a robust lineup of classes for adults to expand their knowledge of the natural world. Check out what’s being offered this May and June. Entry into the Arboretum is included in your class registration. Pro tip: North Carolina Arboretum Society members can score 10% off on class registration fees.

Blue Ridge Center for Lifelong Learning

Located about 30 minutes from Asheville in Flat Rock, the learning center offers year-round classes on Blue Ridge Community College’s Henderson County campus. Adults can expand their knowledge and dive deeper into their communities with courses in current affairs, Appalachian history, art, technology, and more. There are no membership or parking fees, but classes vary in price. Find registration information.

While we covered opportunities for adults to advance their education, there are still plenty of clubs, activities, and special programs for adults and seniors to get connected with here in Asheville.