Tips for Adult Students
How to prepare for going back to school
- Take inventory. – What skills and previous educational experience do you have that could work toward your final goal?
- Determine your goals. Write them out, and then remember them. – Whether you seek a degree or job advancement, you need to know what you want and in what field.
- Chart your course by asking about your educational options. – Discover what kind of collegiate programs are out there and which would be the best fit for you. Look to see if the school you are considering has night, weekend, and online courses for you to take. What about location? Schools often have multiple locations in which they offer classes.
- Outline your academic plan. – Make plans as to your next steps based upon the goal and program you have chosen.
- Set realistic goals. – Whether your goal is to earn a degree or obtain a better job, you will need to prioritize all of your responsibilities, which means that you may have to postpone household chores, for instance, in order to concentrate on your studies. Be flexible with your normal routines. Postpone tasks or routines that can be put off until school work is finished.
- Consult with your immediate family. Discuss your plans with your significant others. – Collaborate with them on how they can best support you and the household while you are working toward your educational goals. Your family members are an important part of your support system. Get support from family and friends.
- Be organized. – Prepare as far in advance as possible. Plan to use your time wisely. Schedules or calendars of your regular routines can help you stay on top of things. Prepare to plan.
- Update your technical knowledge. – Higher education relies heavily on the use of technology, so ensure you are up to speed by taking some computer classes.
- Take care of yourself. Make your well being a priority. – Eat and sleep well so that you can better focus on your studies.
- Manage your time effectively. – Develop or plan for blocks of study time. Whenever set blocks of time are unavailable, be efficient and creative with your studying by fitting it in whenever you can.
- Find out what amenities your school has to offer, including career counseling, childcare, technology assistance, discounts on purchases, etc.
- Attend new student orientation so that you can become aware of processes and procedures, take a campus tour to learn your surroundings, meet fellow classmates, etc.
- Broaden your social network by introducing yourself to other students in each of your classes. It’s always helpful to have someone in your classes with whom you can commiserate or get notes from if you have to miss a class.
- Take baby steps. – Going back to school can be a challenging transition, so take a lighter load of one or two classes to begin with. Once you are accustomed, you can always build up to a full load from there.
- Stay professional on the job. – If you plan to keep working while you go back to school, try not to let your school work interfere with your performance on the job. Experts suggest that if you want to study during your lunch hour, you should leave your desk in order to do so because remaining at your desk sends the wrong impression to your employer.
- Be patient, relaxed, and focused when dealing with school-related people and situations. Most adults feel apprehensive about returning to the classroom, but you don’t need to be. Do not be intimidated by the idea of returning to school as an adult student. Remember: you are not alone.
- Become familiar with school administrators, such as your admissions counselor and academic advisor, and establish a good rapport with your instructors/professors. They can better support your goals and situation by being on your education team.
- Get involved, including taking advantage of study groups and labs with your fellow students.
- Most times success is all in the attitude so be positive and enthusiastic about your educational adventure. Remember why you are returning to learning, and keep those goals in your sight.
- You have transferable skills from your life experiences, so bring them into the classroom. Don‘t forget that from the classroom you will also be acquiring knowledge in the form of content and more skills that you can then apply back to many other facets of your life, including your career.
- Take an active role in planning, monitoring, and evaluating your education.
- Discard any myths you have about the collegiate experience. These notions can act as barriers to your success.
- Choose what you can relate to, such as subjects and courses that are not only most relevant to your occupation or personal life but that also fit into your academic plans.
- Develop an awareness of how you learn or have learned best in the past so that you can apply those study techniques to your education now.
- Schedule weekly reviews and updates. – For better retention and comprehension, experts suggest reviewing notes and readings just before class and lecture material immediately after class.
- Prioritize assignments by starting with the most difficult subject first because it will be the most time and attention consuming.
- In order to finish an assignment or your educational goals, you first need to start. – Begin with a plan or overview. Then, move forward on filling in the details.
- Sometimes it’s all about location. – Develop alternative study places free from distractions.
Tips on college preparation, study skills, and more!
The following tips are provided by The Ohio State University. Please note: the following links are audio files only.
- Ohio State Students Offer Advice on Preparing for College (mp3)
- Importance of Time Management (mp3)
- Getting Organized to be Successful (mp3)
- Too Cool to be Smart? Think Again! (mp3)