Whether you are starting fresh or returning to college after a hiatus, it can be a little daunting. Most people think of “college” as a place filled with 18-22 years old and if you are older, yikes.
While college is still a straight-out-of-high-school endeavor for many people, more and more adults, or “non-traditional students“, are going to college each year and the trend is rising as a college education becomes more necessary for really good jobs.
Whatever your motivation and reasons for going back to school – to start a career, change careers, or just to take some classes in an area that interest you – the following tips can make your experience smoother and the transition back to college easier.
1. Do less than the maximum.
Unless you have to, do not take the maximum load of classes in your first semester. Most students take 15 hours, but even with a student loan, the minimum requirement is usually only 12.
Start out a little more slowly to give your self a chance to really get used to school. This may seem like a waste of time, but even if you go a little more slowly, you will find that you are not as stressed and can do better when you don’t overload yourself.
2. Take breaks.
Don’t spend all of your available study time studying! You may really need to study a lot, but chances are that by taking 30 minutes to take a walk or spend time with your kids can really rejuvenate your brain and help you absorb the material you are studying once you go back to it.
3. Be a part of things
Most schools have student associations, maybe even a group for adult students. There are many other clubs and groups as well that you can be part of. You may find your time limited, but take part in as much as you can because you will find that you enjoy your time in college much more if you spend part of it making friends and being involved on campus.
4. Take the classes you dread
In fact, take them first. It’s like the old saying if you have to eat a frog each day it’s better to eat it first thing in the morning.
Take the classes you think you will hate and get them out of the way. You may find that they were not as bad as you thought but if they are, at least you have them over and done and you don’t have to worry about them for the rest of your time at school.
5. Enjoy every minute
This is the most important tip anyone can give you. Whether you go to college at 18 or 81, enjoy it! College is not just about learning.
That is the main point of course, but it is also a time to enjoy the activities, the people, the community and everything it has to offer. Spend your time in college enjoying college, no matter how old you are.
Congratulations on your decision to return to school. It may be the biggest step you have taken in a while but if you follow these tips, you will do just fine.