advice for adult students

Posted : May 3, 2001
Last Updated : May 17, 2017

advice for adult students

Returning to college may help you switch careers, get a better-paying job, or climb the corporate ladder within your current company. However, going back to school as an adult may seem intimidating. To help you through the process, review these myths about returning to college and tips on making the transition.

Myths About Returning to College

  • Myth 1: College is only for extremely intelligent people. College students are of normal, average intelligence.
  • Myth 2: College is only for particularly creative people. College is a place to learn, not invent.
  • Myth 3: College is only for the young. College is a place full of diversity and includes all ages. The average college student is 27 years old.
  • Myth 4: College is only for those with a lot of free time. Colleges offer many opportunities for night classes, part-time enrollment, and weekend classes. Some schools also offer distance learning and online classes.
  • Myth 5: College is only for the rich. Colleges offer many ways to finance an education including loans, scholarships, and grants.
  • Myth 6: College programs will take too long to complete. Four year schools offer summer classes which will help speed the process. Associate degrees only take two years.
  • Myth 7: College is only for those who pass college entrance exams. Colleges often require that you take the exams, however, they may not require a certain score. Many schools do not require entrance exam scores after a certain age. Make sure to check with your school.
  • Myth 8: College is only for the people who know what they want to do. Colleges generally have two years worth of general requirements which will keep you busy until a decision is made. Many students change majors numerous times. Career counseling services are usually available on campus.
  • Myth 9: College professors tend to get agitated with older, non-traditional students. College professors are there to teach and to help you succeed. They are on your side no matter what your age. When you show an interest in learning, they become more inspired to teach.
  • Myth 10: College is only for those without children. College bound parents balance school and family every day. Some colleges even offer day care services on campus.
  • Myth 11: College graduates don't really earn more than non-college graduates. Average college graduates earn about twice as much as average high school graduates.

Tips on Making the Transition

  • Be patient, relaxed, and focused when dealing with school related people and situations.
  • Do not be intimidated by the idea of returning to school as an adult student. Remember: you are not alone.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. Take a campus tour and learn where buildings and offices are located.
  • Become familiar with school administrators. It will help you to know your financial aid advisor, admissions counselor, and academic advisor. Some schools have personnel who specialize in nontraditional student populations.
  • Ask about your educational options. Many schools offer night and weekend classes. Classes may also be offered at more convenient off-campus locations. If you have young children, take time to find out if a day care service is available on campus. You may consider online degree programs offered by many colleges and universities with traditional campuses as well as schools that specialize in online degree programs.
  • Get involved. You can meet many of your fellow students by attending orientation programs specifically for nontraditional students. Take advantage of study groups and labs.
  • Be efficient and creative with your study time. Utilize shorter time spans to study rather than trying to set aside two hours at once. Review your notes at lunch or while waiting for a doctor's appointment. The amount of possible study time will surprise you.
  • Be flexible with your normal routines. Don't get stressed out over a dirty house or an overgrown lawn. Ask your family or friends to help you out.
  • Be positive and enthusiastic about your educational adventure. Everyone can succeed!

For more information about returning to college as an adult student, read Thinking About Returning to School?

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