Advice for Adults Returning to College

Just like so many adults, I have agonized over the decision to go back to school and finish my degree in Economics. I spent months sorting out my professional life and jumping hurdles in order to boost my self confidence enough to check that dialogue box stating that I wanted to be enrolled for the fall quarter. I thought to myself, that only if I have a mentor to guide me through my unique situation, that I would have done this a lot sooner. Though I can’t produce a mentor for you, I can give you some quick and simple ways to navigate the thinking process; hopefully to help you get over the fear of returning to school.

How Much Will It Cost?

In the current economic state, everyone is trying harder to make ends meet than ever before. With many facing unemployment, more adults are returning to school, but are finding it difficult to budget enough money to do so. Keeping this in mind, it is very important to weight the cost of returning to school with its benefits and plan accordingly.

How Much Time Will It Take?

When we were first in college, the concept of time was nothing like it is now. When we were younger we had only a few obligations that called for our time; that being attending school and eating. Now that we are adults, there are several other aspects of life that call for more of our time. You may now have Little Annie who not only needs to be picked up from school, but has a dance recital at 6pm, not only that; you have to budget time to do the grocery shopping as well as cooking dinner for the entire family. Not to mention your social and neighborhood obligations that all seem to chip away at your time during the week and the weekend. So it is paramount that if you make the decision to dive back into school, that you make sure that you are able to allot a sufficient amount of time to your studies to make it worth your while. For every 3 credit hour course, you should plan to not only set aside travel and class time, but upwards to 6 to 9 hours of at home study time. If you are pretty rusty in your studying techniques, you may want to add an extra hour for good measure.

You are not as Spry As You Once Were

You know the saying, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks”? Well that is not the case for adult learners. Most of the studies which have been conducted on the subject state that there is little to no difference in the learning ability of an older student compared to that of a traditional aged college student. So you can put that lie to rest.

I Will Be the Oldest One in the Class

Well this is a no brainer. You have to expect that you may be the oldest person in your classroom. In most cases, you may even be older than the professor. By expecting this, you will get over the initial shock when you first enter the classroom. In addition, your age may, in fact, be an advantage amongst your fellow classmates. In our society, age signifies experience and intelligence, and this little tidbit is not lost in a classroom setting.

The Wrap Up

I am sure that you could name a dozen of other reasons why it’s not the right time to return to college. When you are beginning something new, there will always be some reason holding you from jumping off the ledge into the world of the unknown. As most of you know, change is an unavoidable part of life, so take it with a grain of salt and leap until your heart is content.