Going back to school is daunting for adult students. Whether you’ve waited several years after high school to start college, or you began a degree program but never finished, it’s easy to feel like it’s an impossible achievement. You aren’t alone in your feelings or your desire to graduate.
This fall, almost 40 percent of college students will be over the age of 25. Grow your confidence and motivation with these back-to-school prep strategies for adult learners.
Going back to school as an adult isn’t always easy, but it’s one of the best ways to get skilled in a field and make more money. If you’re heading back to the books for the first time in a while, know that learning as an adult is way different than learning in high school. Simple strategies like updating your technology and learning how to study can help you succeed. We’ll explain why in the article below.
These Back-To-School Prep Strategies for Adult Students Make Learning Easier.
Remember You Have Peers
Of the 19.9 million students heading to college this fall, 7.6 million of them are over the age of 25. Delaying college due to a gap year, financial concerns, military service, or even just to explore who you are is increasingly popular. It also reflects the fact that more people are choosing work for survival, then going back to school later on down the road when they feel more equipped.
With ages ranging older, you don’t need to worry about being the oldest person in your class. In fact, you just might find most of the people learning with you are even older than you are. Network with these older students; you can help each other learn.
Learn How to Study Right
Studying in college is different than studying in high school or even vocational school. Similarly, taking a course online is very different than going to a state university or college. Often, teachers are more experimental in classes, and sometimes you can struggle with the new teaching format even if you did well in high school.
Spend some time investigating who you are and how you learn. See these learning types for adult students, then develop study strategies that work with your inherent personality and your classes. For best results, diversify with a combination of approaches to really cement critical ideas in your mind.
Update Your Tech
Technology is a necessity in today’s higher education space. Not only do many institutions hold their classes online, but some also use push notifications, apps, and social media platforms to deliver important information in a timely manner. Others rely on platforms like Google Docs or MS Office for student assignments.
Make sure you’re up on the latest student tech before you start. If needed, take a course on a site like Udemy.com that teaches you how to use presentation software, spreadsheets, word processors, and other applications. If needed, update your smartphone or tablet to ensure it will be compatible when you start.
Life Lessons are Real Learning Opportunities
Your life experience matters to you, but it may also help you graduate faster, too. The life lessons you learn before school, especially within the workforce, will help you better focus and stay on track when you study.
Think about times you were successful, how you’ve handled stress in the past, and how you achieved your goals; apply this to your learning program whenever you find yourself feeling overwhelmed.
This matters: Some facilities accept prior learning assessments, or PLAs, as credits toward graduation. Be sure to check whether your work or learning experience may count; it’s one less class between you and your dream job.
Just Do It
The best way to prepare to go back to school? Go back to school. Yes, it really is that simple. Sometimes, your own mind and fears are what’s holding you back, more than any life obstacle or finance issue.
Keep in mind that you don’t necessarily have to aim for a Master’s degree when you start learning. It’s okay (and encouraged) to keep your goals simple. Start with an Associate’s Degree or a diploma; there’s time to decide how you want to proceed later on down the road. For now, your goal should be to make the jump.