Late August in Minnesota is a special time of year. The weather pretends like it’s getting ready for the arrival of Fall. Apple orchards are just about ready for picking. And perhaps one of the most exciting events takes place – the back-to-school frenzy. The excitement of a new school year isn’t just enjoyed by the kids. Adults get their backpacks ready too! The Fall semester ranks as the busiest time for college admissions staff. The second busiest enrollment period is the first semester of a new year after people are inspired by their New Year resolutions. Adults face some of the same challenges that younger students deal with but also have a few unique to adult students. Here are few tips to help you have a successful start to your new adventures in education.
Don’t Worry about Picking a Major
The first question most people are asked when they enroll in college level coursework is, “what is your major?” Maybe you’re one of the many adults who’ve been out of school for an extended period of time and you really aren’t sure what you want to do now that you’ve grown-up. Don’t feel pressured to pick a major immediately. Instead, take a few general education courses first to help you acclimate to the college environment. You’re required to take those courses anyway and it gives you time to explore your career options.
Talk to Your Employer
Many companies offer education benefits to employees, so make sure you’re aware of what benefits are available to you. Benefits could include tuition reimbursement, scholarships, and in some cases, internships if your coursework is industry related. Most employers like to promote from within and enjoy supporting team members who further their education. It’s always a good idea to talk with your manager and let them know you’re taking classes. You need all the support you can get.
Schedule Study Time
Adult students have the unique challenge of fitting school in with work and family. While it’s a challenge, it’s not impossible. You may need to get up earlier than usual or stay up a little later at night. Instead of going to lunch with co-workers you might spend your lunch hour working on assignments. It doesn’t matter when you study. What matters is that you keep those appointments – no cancellations. The time you sacrifice for school work will pay off at graduation.
Learn How to Enjoy Learning
Adults go back to school for a variety of reasons. For some it’s about learning new job skills. Others need the degree or certificate to get a promotion. Don’t get so wrapped up in getting the diploma that you forget to enjoy the process of learning. The pressure is off now that you’re not answering to parents for grades. You don’t have to worry about peer pressure either. It’s just you and your goals. Why not make a point to have fun learning? If you’re taking an art course, go on a family outing to an art museum. Go outside and look at the stars – then talk about what you’re studying in your astronomy class. Let your excitement rub off on your kids, or vice versa.
Remember, it’s never too late to go back to school. Whether your goal is to be able to get a promotion, purchase a home, or be an inspiration to someone else, you’ll never be sorry you furthered your education. Time to hit the books!