Considering Returning to Education? Here Are 6 Tips for Returning Adults

Usually when working adults and parents consider going back to college to gain or finish a degree, they’re faced with an important concern: Can I manage it all?  Here at SPS, we will provide support, content and the guidance.

1. Consider online degree options

Before enrolling on to a course or degree program, you should get a feel for the different options that are available. By comparing several different programs, you can illuminate different key factors such as scheduling flexibility, career development and opportunities. In addition, online courses and degree options can be an important consideration for adult learners, as these programs offer a flexible method to balance work, life and school.

2. Evaluate your schedule in advance

Before you start your school journey, take inventory of your schedule. You’ll likely be busier than you think, so be sure to list all the activities you take part in during a typical week. Specifically, consider your current work and family obligations, and then reflect on how you will find the time to read assigned materials, attend classes, complete assignments and study for exams.

3. Make a plan

What’s your goal? How many credits will you need to complete in each term to reach that goal? Are your classes available each term? Is your program in a cohort format or do you have more flexibility? These are all factors you will need to consider when making a long-range plan.

graduate we spoke with completed her degree while she was working two part-time jobs by finding creative ways to maximize her time. She recalled, “I would get up in the morning, go to the gym and be reading as I was on the elliptical – basically, looking for any pockets of time I could study.”

4. Designate a study space 

Reserving time and a comfortable place to study can be a challenge when you return to school as a working adult. Find a quiet space that you can set apart for studying, whether that’s a home office, a desk in the attic, a peaceful back porch or a favourite table at the local library or coffee shop. Be sure to keep your designated area as clean and clutter-free as possible to minimize study-time distractions.

5. Develop a support system 

Have a few people in your corner to help, like trusted family members, friends or even fellow classmates and mentors. Being able to count on people to help you manage responsibilities and even tackle household chores, especially during exam time, can be a big plus.

6. Brush up on your study skills

If you’ve been out of the classroom for a few years, you may worry that your study skills are a little rusty. This may not actually be the case, as many mature students find that they are better equipped for the classroom after some time away.

Just remember, it’s never too late to learn. In fact, the percentage of students over 25 who pursue higher education is set to increase over the next ten years, accordin­­­­g to the National Center for Education Statistics. With the right commitment and attitude, school can be both fulfilling and invigorating – no matter when you return.