Tips For Pro­fes­sion­als Re­turn­ing To School

Riverbank News - - WOMEN IN BUSINESS 2017 -

When a new school se­mes­ter starts, chil­dren and young adults may not be the only ones who are re­turn­ing to the class­room. Many adults re­solve to ex­pand their pro­fes­sional hori­zons by re­turn­ing to school even af­ter they have es­tab­lished them­selves in their pro­fes­sions. Some may as­pire to de­velop skills spe­cific to a par­tic­u­lar job, while oth­ers may want to make it eas­ier to tran­si­tion to a new ca­reer.

The num­ber of adult un­der­grad­u­ates con­tin­ues to grow. The National Cen­ter for Ed­u­ca­tion Statis­tics says 33 per­cent of the 18 mil­lion un­der­grad­u­ate stu­dents in the United States are over the age of 25. Stu­dents over the age of 30 make up 22 per­cent of the stu­dent body in col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties. The NCES also projects a con­tin­ued rise of older stu­dents through 2020.

Go­ing back to school can be an ex­cit­ing time, but one that also comes with a bit of trep­i­da­tion. Many adults may not have been in a class­room in more than a decade. Many things have changed with re­gard to academia in re­cent decades, and adults may need some ex­tra time and help to make their tran­si­tion back to stu­dent go smoothly.

Sched­ule a cam­pus visit. Choos­ing a school is an im­por­tant de­ci­sion, and even though you might not be spend­ing as much time on cam­pus as you did when you were younger, don’t over­look the im­por­tance of a cam­pus visit. A mem­ber of the ad­mis­sions fac­ulty or even a cur­rent stu­dent may be able to of­fer a guided tour, ex­plain­ing the lay­out of the cam­pus, ameni­ties and re­sources. He or she also may point out park­ing ar­eas, study lo­ca­tions and the best way to nav­i­gate the cam­pus. This will help al­le­vi­ate a fish-outof-wa­ter feel­ing the first day of class.

Se­cure fi­nan­cial aid if nec­es­sary. School is ex­pen­sive, but keep in mind that schol­ar­ships and other forms of fi­nan­cial aid are not exclusive to younger learn­ers. Speak with a fi­nan­cial aid coun­selor about pro­grams that might be avail­able to you. In ad­di­tion, check with your em­ployer to see if they of­fer in­cen­tives for re­turn­ing to school.

Brush up on school skills. Start read­ing more to re­fresh your vo­cab­u­lary and other lan­guage skills. Col­lege in­volves crit­i­cal think­ing and rea­son­ing, so ex­plore free on­line cour­ses or games that cover crit­i­cal think­ing skills. Re­fresh your me­mory on ba­sic writ­ing rules if es­says and re­ports will be part of your cur­ricu­lum. Hon­ing your aca­demic skills in ad­vance of re­turn­ing to school can help you start off on the right foot.

Cre­ate a sup­port sys­tem. Go­ing back to school will re­quire you to re­ar­range sched­ules and make cer­tain sac­ri­fices. Such ad­just­ments may re­quire the as­sis­tance of friends and fam­ily. Stop by your school’s stu­dent ser­vices de­part­ment and ask if they have help in place for non­tra­di­tional stu­dents. They may have guid­ance on bal­anc­ing work, life and school. Such de­part­ments may also as­sist you with sched­ul­ing classes at the times of day that fit best with your work sched­ule.

Many adults re­turn to school for per­sonal rea­sons or to ad­vance their ca­reers. Hav­ing a plan in place can make the tran­si­tion go smoothly.

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