blue graphic design with text overlay 7 tips for adults going back to college

Tips for Going Back to College

Staff Writer
Mar 29, 2022

As an adult, going back to college presents a different set of challenges compared to recent high school graduates. It’s never too late to begin or complete your college education. Here are 7 tips that will help you prepare for going back to college.

1. Have a Clear Goal

Most adult learners aren’t going back to college “just because”. You should be no exception. Even if your reason is for personal enrichment, your goal should be clearly articulated and meaningful enough to help you endure challenges ahead.

2. Prepare Your Schedule

We don’t mean this in the generic sense. Get specific. At Joyce, our curriculum and schedules are defined in advance. Speak with your student advisors about your schedule and understand the amount of time you’ll have to devote to study and class. As an adult learner, you have plenty of things going on in your life. Begin adapting your schedule now to ease your transition as classes begin.

3. Get Your Finances in Order

You should understand the hard and soft costs associated with college prior to enrolling. If you have children, this may include additional costs for childcare. Be sure to budget accordingly. Speak with your admissions or student advisor to see if you qualify for any scholarships or financial aid to assist with paying for school. They are there to assist you through the process.

4. Leverage Your Life Experience

At this point you’ve lived a little. Use it to your advantage! Life experience teaches you lessons that cannot be learned in school. Apply these lessons to your future life as a college student. It will pay huge dividends as you navigate towards earning your degree.

5. Make Social Connections

Much of college is about the connections you build with your classmates, instructors, and alumni. Find outlets to connect with these people. Grab a coffee to pick their brain. Leverage Linkedin student and alumni groups. This is one of the most helpful steps you can take to prepare yourself.

6. Set Realistic Expectations

If you haven’t been to school in a while, it’s reasonable to assume it’ll take some time to get into the swing of things. You may be setting yourself up for disappointment by expecting to hit the ground running without any hiccups. Understand that setbacks happen and it will take time to get up to speed.

7. Have a Positive Attitude

We often see students’ optimism fade quickly as the reality of going back to college sets in. This is perfectly normal – change is tough. You might have to force a smile at times, and it’s certainly acceptable to vent (we’re good listeners), but take time to look on the bright side and keep your eye on the prize. A positive attitude will go a long way towards having an outstanding college experience.


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