The Best Advice for Adults Going Back to College
Are you thinking about going back to college but feeling apprehensive? It’s understandable. It’s been a while since you’ve been in school, and your life has changed. However, it’s never too late to finish your degree!
Nowadays, many universities offer evening schedules or online courses for adults seeking a degree. These options are usually flexible, so you can work during the day, take care of your children, and so on. If returning to school interests you, read on because we’ve got the best advice for adults going back to college.
10 Tips for Returning to College as an Older Student
Adults going back to college can follow these tips to have a smooth, successful, and stress-free transition.
1. Find a program that accommodates your needs
Are you a working adult? No problem! With modern technology, there are all types of learning formats available. Whether that’s online, hybrid, on-campus, night, or accelerated study programs, there’s something that will match your needs.
In addition, think about your financial and learning needs when deciding. In traditional higher education, an on-campus setting may match your learning preferences but may also be more expensive. Consider whether you’re able to enroll full-time or part-time.
Do your research thoroughly and then decide what best suits your needs. You’ll be surprised by the number of degree programs available to adult students.
2. Talk to your family or friends
Before making any college decisions, have a conversation with your support system and make sure they understand your goals. College is a time commitment; schedules will have to be adjusted. Having your family and friends on board will help you feel supported and motivated to achieve your education goals.
3. Budget accordingly
Higher education can be expensive, but it is possible to find an affordable college program. Ensure all expenses fit into your budget and adjust your finances accordingly. For example, you may need to spend extra on childcare if you have children. If you’re commuting, consider gas money. If you have to cut back on work hours, make sure you also account for that.
Also, check if your school offers financial aid or scholarships.
4. Set goals
Graduating and earning your degree is the ultimate goal; however, you should set smaller goals to help you stay organized and motivated. Write down the grades you want to achieve in each course. Set study goals. Some courses may only have a final exam at the end of the semester, so you’ll want to map out your studying along the way.
5. Map out your degree
In addition to setting goals within each course, you should map out your degree. For example, see how many college credits you’re starting with, how many you need, and how long it will take you to earn them. You can also sit down or email your advisor to map your academic plan.
6. Ask for help
If you have questions about course material, you can ask your professor, TAs, or even fellow classmates who may know about the subject. Visit your professor during office hours, email them, or if you’re attending online college, set up a video meeting.
At home, talk to your family if you get overwhelmed around the house. Delegate tasks to your children or spouse, or ask your family and friends to come over and help out.
7. Check out your campus’ resources
Like asking for help, you should utilize any resources your school offers. After all, you’re paying for them. Even if your school is online, it most likely provides learning and study resources, access codes to online libraries, technological support, and sometimes even health and wellness guidance.
8. Make connections
Adult learners may feel more isolated than traditional college students. Be bold and reach out to your peers, regardless of whether your school is in person or online. Study with others, chat via social media, and lean on one another for academic support. You never know when a connection may come in handy, and you probably have more in common with other students than you might think.
9. Make yourself a study space
Build yourself a little space where you can study and concentrate. It should be quiet and distraction-free. Make it comfortable with a nice light and supportive chair. Or, find a cafe or library where you can go to hit the books.
10. Set aside time for yourself
If you think life is already busy before going back to school, it will only get busier. You can do it, though! Make a schedule, and be sure to set aside time for yourself. Take care of yourself, eat healthy food, exercise, and reward yourself when you reach your goals and get good grades on assignments.
Going back to school can be stressful at first. However, like everything, it just takes time to adjust. Get prepared, stay organized, and remember you’re not alone. You can do it!
If you’re looking to integrate faith in your studies, did you know many Christian colleges and universities offer degree completion, accelerated learning, and traditional degree programs for adults? Search for a school here.