There's no doubt about it: going to college as an older adult student comes with its own challenges. So I'm offering some timely advice, whether you're about to start your freshman year or heading into your sophomore terms.
1. Stop thinking about your age. That’s easier said than done sometimes; especially when you’ve got a good twenty years on everyone in the class – including your professor. But no one cares as much as you do, and if you give it a chance you may even make some new friends.
2. Take online courses. As adults many of us remember when the first online college courses cropped up and seemed a little… scammy. Now even Harvard has online course options. While you probably won’t be able to complete your whole degree online, there are enough options at Vol State to give you a good start. You’ll be able to attend class on your own schedule, making the transition to college a little easier on you and your family. One word of advice, however: don’t expect to study less than you would for a physical class. It still takes discipline and dedication.
3. Embrace your village. Sure, you’re strong and independent. But getting through college when you have children and other responsibilities is not a one-person job. Remember those friends who are always saying “call me if you need something”? Identify which of them are serious, and call them. Sometimes you need a little extra help watching the kids so you can get that essay written.
4. Use your resources. Need help with math? There are instructors waiting at the Learning Commons in the library, and they’re pretty good at explaining the tough stuff. Does the thought of writing essays make you want to hide under your bed? Tutors in the Language Center are ready to help. They even have Rosetta Stone for those taking foreign language courses. The staff at Vol State work extra hard to make sure their student’s succeed. Check out Vol State's College Success Zone for a more comprehensive list of academic help.
5. Take the time, make the time. No doubt about it, going back to school takes a commitment. It takes times out of your already busy life. But as you feel the crunch, remember that this isn’t forever, but a degree will last forever. It’s for your future, and your children’s future. Keep your eye on the prize and don’t give up!
Have you found your own keys to success? Please share them in the comments!
You might also enjoy: 10 Reasons You Should Consider Community College Today!
Gaynell Buffinet Payne