Kick My Bucket List

Going Back to School as an Adult: Tips for Getting Started

Whether you started college and didn’t finish, never went to college, or just want a change in career, there are plenty of reasons why adults decide to go back to school for an education. However, there are plenty of challenges that adult learners face when heading into college.

But if you’re wanting to go back to school, rip up your pros and cons list, because adult learners rarely regret getting a degree. Continuing adult education is nothing to be ashamed of, ever! Here are some tips to help you get started toward getting back into school as an adult.

Taking Necessary Exams Early

Depending on what program you’re looking at getting into, you may need to take certain exams to get in. You might need the LSAT for law school, the GRE for graduate school, the GMAT for business school, or even the SAT for certain colleges.

Don’t wait until the last minute to take it right before the deadline. Sign up to take these as early as you can. You will have plenty of time to retake the test if you need to, which will take some of the pressure off. It means you will be less panicked, and more able to focus on doing your best.

Take Advantage of PLAs

PLA is short for Prior Learning Assessment, and it’s used by colleges to evaluate the knowledge and skills you have gained outside of the classroom that can be applied to college credit. If the college you’re looking at offers this option, it can be a great way to shorten your graduation time and save tuition money.

Set Up a Study Plan Ahead of Time

As an adult, you’ve already got plenty of other responsibilities that traditional college students might not, like a full-time job, a partner or children, a mortgage and other important bills to pay, PTA meetings, etc. Balancing life, work, and school are going to prove to be the most difficult part of going back to college.

To make extra time, you may need to cut back on or eliminate some hobbies or fun interests for the time being, like a book club or a sports team. Make sure you inform friends, family members, and coworkers that you’re working on a degree, and that you need time and space for studying and completing coursework.

Most importantly, though, you need to have a place where you can study. If you do not have a dedicated office area in your home, you can set up at the dining table, or even outside on the patio.

Just make sure that your family knows that it’s your time for coursework, and you need time away from the bustle of busy family life. Or, you could even have the kids sit down and do their homework with you.

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