Going Back to School as an Adult: Tips and Tricks for Success

Group Of Mature Students Studying In Library

Whether you’re finishing what you started, changing careers, or enrolling for the first time, going to college as an adult can be a big and overwhelming step to take. Most people in this position not only have to manage their studies but their jobs and family obligations as well. Getting an education is an investment in yourself that’s well worth making, even if it does come with some challenges. These simple tips can help you set yourself up for success.

1. Don’t Skip the FAFSA

Many people assume that because they are working adults or have previous education experience that they will not qualify for any type of financial aid or support. However, many working adults qualify for special grants and scholarships that are designated specifically for this unique student population. Regardless of your age, experience, or background, you should always complete the FAFSA prior to your enrollment and every year you’re in school afterward.

Many scholarship opportunities are based on factors other than income, but this information is typically still required. Going through the financial aid process can also help you get the best rates on private student loans for your education if you need them. If you’re not sure where to start, talk with a financial aid representative at your institution so you can get a better feel for all of your options.

2. Communicate Well With Your Employer

Even if your school schedule doesn’t compete with your work schedule, it’s important that you let your employer know the commitments you are making. This is especially true if you’ll need to adjust your schedule to accommodate lectures, labs, or exams. There’s a good chance your superiors will be much more accommodating and supportive if you’re in a pinch and have to take a little extra time to study. Some businesses and companies offer incentives for employees who are enrolled in some type of learning institution, so it’s a good idea to see if there are scholarships or funding opportunities available as well.

3. Schedule In Your Study Time

No matter how organized or dedicated you are, it’s very easy for time to get away from you when school isn’t your one and only job. Take a look at your calendar and consider your typical weekly routine. Choose days and time slots that you can specifically designate for school work and protect them from other events in your life. If necessary, go to campus, a local library, or your favorite coffee shop so you can minimize distractions and focus on your school work.

4. Take Advantage of Student Resources

Most schools, especially community colleges, have plenty of resources available for all students, not just those who are fresh out of high school. When you’re a student, you’ll gain access to all sorts of amenities that can save you time and money and help make your college experience that much better. Get your workout in at the fitness center, print your papers for free at the student computer lounge, or enjoy a meal, snack, or treat at social events throughout the semester. Check out the school calendar on a routine basis to look for upcoming events that might help you get through the semester with a little less stress. Many campuses provide help with meals, stress management, study skills, career placement, and so much more.

5. Prioritize Your Health and Wellness

Learning is very difficult when your other more basic needs aren’t met first. This is true not just for children, but for adults too. Now, more than ever, you’ll need plenty of sleep, good nutrition, and an active lifestyle to help you manage stress, keep your energy levels up, and maintain excellent focus and concentration. Drinking plenty of water, moving at least 30 minutes a day, and getting at least seven hours of sleep each night are all great places to start. Also, stock your freezer and fridge with nutritious meals you can grab in a pinch.

Going back to college as an adult is possible when you take steps to help yourself. The little things can make all the difference in helping you achieve your goals for the future.