Going Back to School Advice

Attending college can be intimidating for anyone, but it could be even more so for someone who has not stepped foot on a campus for years.

Today, more and more adults are heading to college, either for the first time to pursue their bachelor’s degree or for a second or third time to earn their master’s or doctoral degree. In fact, 39 percent of students enrolled in a degree-granting institution in the fall of 2005 were aged 25 years or older, according to the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics.

Despite this growing number, adult learners might still feel a bit anxious as they prepare to return to the world of academia. To help ease this anxiety, here are some tips that can help adult learners head back to school.

Take care of your current responsibilities and develop a plan to fit school into the big picture. Unlike most of their younger counterparts, many adult learners find they have more to juggle when fitting school into their schedules. Often, they need to figure out how to coordinate their education around work and family. Adults returning to school should keep this in mind when enrolling. How many credits could they handle per semester? Would distance learning be a more viable and flexible option?

Remember that college can be intimidating for everyone. Many adults considering returning to school might feel awkward being surrounded by younger students. However, these more mature student should note that even their younger counterparts are probably just as nervous as they are… and perhaps even a bit intimidated by the thought of competing with a more mature and experienced student.

Become familiar with you academic surroundings. Knowing how to locate your next class can go a long way in helping your first day of college go smoothly. If attending a campus-based institution, take a tour of the campus and learn where important buildings and offices are located. If taking online courses, take the time to familiarize yourself with the various online resources offered by the institution. In addition, get to know your financial aid advisor, admissions counselor and academic counselor. Also, some schools might have staff who specialize in working with the nontraditional student.

Get creative with your study time to increase efficiency. Having to juggle work, school and home can be difficult. Adult students face the challenge of finding a way to fit studying into getting the kids to school and finishing that important proposal for work. While it is good to create a solid studying routine, especially if enrolled in an online program, finding hidden gaps of time to study also can be beneficial. How about reading that chapter while waiting for your child’s doctor’s appointment? Lunchtime at work can serve as a great opportunity to review your class notes.

Get college credit for your work experience. Many adult students might not realize that they could receive college credit for their prior work experience. The College-Level Examination Program, or CLEP, offers students the opportunity to get college credit by earning passing scores on special exams. Depending on the institution’s CLEP policy, scoring well on a CLEP exam could earn you three to 12 college credits. Adult students looking to take advantage of their work experience do need to be aware of any schools that offer “credits” simply for reviewing one’s resume. Such schools, often called diploma mills, are not viewed as valid institutions of higher education. While you can receive college credits for your experience, note that you’ll need to prove that experience by taking special tests.

Schooling is very important whether it be online or not, k-12 or college, younger or older, its all education and it all effects your knowledge the same way. Get your online education today and start learning as soon as posible.