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Going Back to School Later in Life – 5 Tips

  • Posted by WritingScale
  • May 26, 2017
Content going back to school later in life

It’s scary. You have been in the world of work for a number of years, and you have decided that you need or want to go back to school. You have not been in a classroom for a long time and you are not even sure.

Diffusing the Anxiety of Adults Returning to College. Going back to school at 30.

  • “25 % or more of the student body on most college campuses is now comprised of adults returning to school after a number of “break” years.
  • My job and/or family responsibilities are going to mean that I will be less successful than the younger “normal” college students. Again, this is a myth. Yes, you will have extra responsibilities, but these will force you to be more organized – probably more organized than the “fancy free” young students without such responsibilities.
  • “I am really rusty being a student. This will really put me at a disadvantage.” You will be surprised how it will “come back” to you. You really have not forgotten how to be a good student.

Now that these myths have been dispelled, here are 5 tips that may make your adult college life more “doable.”

  1. Seek Out Financial Help if You Need It

While many companies offer tuition reimbursement plans, this benefit is declining. And you may be pursuing a degree in a field not related to your current position. At the same time, you do not want to place your family in financial hardship. There are scholarships for older students; some schools offer financial aid; and there is some amount you can get without having to pay it back. Check out all of your options – the college financial aid office will be your “go-to” place.

  1. Finding that Work, Family, School Balance

OK. You have just added another major responsibility to your life. It’s not just the classes to attend. It is planning for your study time. First, you will have to identify those times of the days and/or weekends that you will have an amount of uninterrupted time for coursework assignment completion. Map these out. Put them on your calendar. You now have dates with yourself that you must keep. If others make demands on your time during your “dates,” be firm and polite but decline.

  1. Dealing with Test Anxiety

This is something that all adults returning to school identified as a stressor. They are not that uncomfortable with completing homework assignments; many are even comfortable producing essays and papers. But tests? That is something they have not faced for years. Nothing will fully reduce the stress of exams, except for getting through those first few and developing some confidence. In the meantime, try to study along the way. Organize your notes from your classes, re-write them (that helps to cement the learning), and try to avoid cramming at the last minute. Do a bit of research on test-taking skills too. And practice some stress-reducing techniques prior to taking that test – deep breathing, a bit of meditation perhaps.

  1. Get Enough Sleep and Physical Exercise

Getting enough sleep, especially before a test, has been scientifically proven to be beneficial. You cannot operate efficiently without sleep. Physical activity is important too. You can combine physical activity with some of your other responsibilities – biking or swimming with the kids; going for walks with your spouse of significant other.

  1. Find Support

You are not the only adult returning to school. Seek out others in your same situation; find study groups. The whole phenomenon of adults going back to school has become so common that there are websites dedicated to mutual support. And many schools have organizations for the likes of you. Don’t be shy – get involved and get the support you need.

Going back to school has its challenges. Your life will become busier and almost unmanageable at times. Keep your eye on the goal. You have decided to return to college for a reason – if you keep that foremost in your thinking, you will find the ways to make this all happen.

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