You don’t have to be an 18-year-old freshman to enroll in college. In fact, adult learners often have higher graduation rates than their younger peers because they’re more focused and diligent about their education. If you’re thinking of going back to school as a “non-traditional” student, here are just a few tips for making the transition as easy as possible.
- Figure Out Your Goals
Why do you want to go back to school? Most people are looking for better career prospects with an advanced education, but some just want the fulfillment and enrichment of new knowledge at an older age. Others may have been specifically asked by their workplace to get a degree or certificate. There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to personal motivation; just make sure that you have your goals in mind when you’re choosing classes and setting schedules.
- Consult With an Advisor
Advisors are there for students of every age, so don’t be shy about pumping them for information on courses, teachers and career paths. It’s their job to give you the best advice that they can. If you’re a working professional, consider them a resource like when you’re networking for a job: They can help you reach your goals by providing a service, but you have to be willing to listen. You can’t just brush off their suggestions because you’re older and think that you know better.
- Get Specific
Instead of going to school with vague plans like “get a degree,” try to nail down exactly what you want and how you can get it. For example, if you need hazmat certification, what courses will most help you with your exam? If you need an MBA before you can get a promotion, what’s the fastest track available to you? Pull out a notebook and start making lists of dates, prices, locations and degree requirements. This is the same thing that high school seniors do; you’re just getting to it a little later.
These are three helpful tips for hitting the books as an adult learner. If you were unable or unwilling to go to college right out of high school, it’s not too late to enroll now! The beautiful thing about post-secondary school is that it’s available to everyone, so whether you’re 18 or 88, you can always get the education that you desire.