Skip to content

Adults Going Back To School Is Hope For The Future!

Updated: August 31, 2022 | Published: January 3, 2017

Updated: August 31, 2022

Published: January 3, 2017

Tips For Going Back To School As An Adult copy

When you think of college students, images of young people are what likely pops into your head. But there are millions of adults going back to school. Going back to school as an adult can come along with its own set of challenges and obstacles. Older college students often doubt their abilities to return to school. In an effort to help you overcome these hurdles, we’ve compiled some of the best advice for adults going back to college.

Potential Obstacles of Returning to School

For older adults, returning to college looks a lot different than when a student graduates high school and moves on to college. Some of the challenges may be similar, but since age affects various factors of life, older adults may be concerned about the following:

Tuition costs

The cost of higher education and rates of student debt continues to reach all-time highs. In the United States, for example, the average cost of earning a bachelor’s degree is $25,615 per year. When weighing the option to go back to school, many adults may find themselves overridden by financial worry. The good news is that there are financial aid opportunities, as well as affordable educational institutions (such as the tuition-free programs offered by the University of the People).

Balancing work/life/family

Going back to school as an adult may mean that you also have familial responsibilities, a job to maintain, and a broad social life to upkeep. This could cause stress for adults who are wondering how they will fit a rigorous academic curriculum into their already busy schedule. Here’s yet another reason why attending an online university could make all the difference. Along with being the more affordable option, online universities allow for flexible schedules so that students (of any age) can choose when and where to log on and learn from.

Best Advice for Adults Going Back to College

Adults going back to school must remain motivated throughout the process. To be successful and earn your degree, keep in mind this advice.

Set realistic goals and expectations

You may enter college again with a lot of energy and excitement. But, before you get too carried away, manage your own expectations by setting realistic goals. Your degree won’t happen overnight, so pick a few classes to get started with and plan out your schedule accordingly.

Get your finances in order

Before you enroll in college, make sure that you understand all the associated costs. From tuition and fees to living expenses and books and supplies, the figures quickly add up. As you create a budget for the cost of college, you can also select your method of financial aid. There are scholarships based on merit and need. If you are employed, it’s worth finding out what kind of college financial aid assistance your employer may offer.

Plan your schedule

When planning your class schedule, it’s important to keep in mind that for each credit hour, you’ll likely need to plan for 3-4 hours to study each week. So, when deciding how to schedule your coursework, there’s more than just the time you spend in class or online listening to lectures that will count.

Ask for help

Before going back to school as an adult, let the support system around you know of your plans. If you have a significant other, keep them aware of your plans and communicate how they can best support you. If it’s your family or friends by your side (and even your children), everyone should be aware of your goals. If you need help or support from them, let them know to see how they can be of aid.

Start with easy classes

You can build your academic stamina back up slowly by beginning with the easier classes. In most degree programs, students start with general education and add in major-specific coursework over time (typically in their second year and beyond). The pace of your program may vary, but it’s still recommended to start with the less challenging courses.

Prioritize your responsibilities

Again, there will be a lot on your plate. From taking care of children, fulfilling work responsibilities, and studying for your tests, you’ll need to order your tasks in terms of priority. To demonstrate, if you have an assignment due in two weeks, then it’s not worth staying up all night to get it done in one shot. You can work backward from due dates to plan when you have to take care of each task. That way, you won’t have to overload yourself all at once, and you also will avoid procrastinating.

Consider online college

For most adults going back to school, online college helps to solve many of the associated challenges. Take the University of the People, for example. Whether degree-granting or certificate programs, all courses are tuition-free, meaning that you can earn your education at a relatively lower cost than you’d have to pay to attend a traditional college campus.

Additionally, you will be able to set your own schedule as there are no classes that require your attendance in person at a certain time. Given the fact that everything takes place online, you will be able to network with students (of all ages) from around the world.

The Bottom Line

Even though many people attend college upon completing high school, adults going back to college don’t need to feel deterred. In fact, as an adult who chooses to attend college, you actually may have an advantage over your younger self. Since you have more years of experience in life, you have developed a better understanding of your priorities and life goals, which can help to better focus your college experience.

Furthermore, with the option of online university, older adults returning to college have the power to choose when, where, and how they wish to earn their higher education.