School isn’t easy for anyone, but it can be especially difficult for adult learners who are juggling other responsibilities like spouses, kids, pets and jobs. If you’re interested in going back to school even though you’re older than the average freshman, here are just a few tips for making it work.
- Know Your Goals
Young people have the luxury of attending college without knowing what they truly want to do. As an adult learner with a more limited schedule, however, it’s best to figure out right away what you hope to accomplish with your education. Are you trying to change careers? Do you need a special degree or certificate to get ahead? Are you hoping to gain proficiency in something specific?
- Look Into Financial Aid
It isn’t just for graduating high schoolers! Financial aid packages are available for older students, too. In fact, there are some grants, loans and scholarships specifically designed for “non-traditional” students who might not qualify for everyday tuition packages. Talk to the school’s financial aid office and see what they can do for you.
- Get Online
Online courses can be a big help for active adults who don’t have time to sit in a classroom eight hours a day. While they might have deadlines for specific assignments or readings, they’ll give you the freedom to complete your work at whatever hours of the day that you’d like. You can squeeze them in before the kids go to school or after a late-night shift at work.
- Teach Yourself How to Study
If it’s been awhile since you had to take notes or cram for a test, it might be necessary to re-learn the art of studying. You don’t want to find out in the middle of your first class that you have no idea how to record and organize what your professor is saying! Give yourself a little extra time or a few “practice runs” to get back in the groove.
- Find a Balance
While going back to school can be quite exciting, you don’t want to neglect the other things in your life as well. You might need to budget your time in order to fit everything into your new schedule. For example, you could give yourself one hour each night to do homework, or you could only take one class per semester to make sure that you’re still available for soccer games and school plays. As long as you give yourself time for everything important, the details are up to you.
- Reach Out to Others
Building a support network of other adult learners can help you manage the stresses and challenges of going back to school. You can even trade favors with other people who understand your struggles! For example, if you need a babysitter for the kids while you’re in a financial seminar, maybe the other single moms in the group can help out. You’ll never know unless you put yourself out there and try to connect with others like you.
Whether you’re obtaining a bachelor’s degree in Florida or looking at a real estate school of Nevada, these are just a few tips to help you succeed as an adult learner. Remember, it’s never too late to get an education!