The Full Wiki

Perpetual student: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A perpetual student, also known as a professional student (though the latter term has more than one meaning), is a college or university attendee who re-enrolls for several years, typically more than what is necessary to obtain a given degree.

Reasons for such behavior include:

  • Time constraints (inability to devote full-time to studies due to a job or raising a family)
  • Indecision (changing one's major one or more times)
  • Inability to find a job
  • Finding a time-consuming job
  • Pursuit of more than one degree or major
  • Inability to complete a final thesis or dissertation
  • Student loans becoming due for payment once student status is lost
  • Unwillingness to abandon the social aspect

Often, there is no goal of either degree or major. This term can have either a positive or negative connotation, depending on the person and circumstances.

A positive connotation for remaining in school for several years is erudition, a philosophy for lifelong learning. The academic setting is viewed as the ideal environment for learning.

There are negative aspects as well. One is that remaining in the university campus setting provides refuge from the non-collegiate world, avoiding the pitfalls and responsibilities of life after college. In this case, those who remain to avoid "real life" may use the positive connotation's explanation as a cover to avoid their fear of leaving college.


Johnny Lechner has been attending the University of Wisconsin–Whitewater since 1994.[1] He was scheduled to graduate in 2008 with multiple majors and minors, but continued into a 15th year of college.

Benjamin Bolger claims to be the most credentialed student in modern history, with ten master's degrees and a doctorate. Michael Nocholson, however, has 27 degrees, including 19 master's degrees and one doctorate.[2]

Portrayal in Movies and Television

The 2002 film National Lampoon's Van Wilder tells the story of Van Wilder, a popular student who has been in college for seven years, with no plans to graduate.

The CW Network's program Girlfriends's character of Lynn Searcy, who remained in school and received multiple post-graduate degrees.

The movie The Librarian a series of made-for-TV original movies from TNT starring Noah Wyle as a librarian who protects a secret collection of artifacts.




Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address