Top 9 Tips for Adult Learners
Going back to college is exciting and terrifying all at once. You now have to work, take care of your family, and take college courses at that same time. It’s overwhelming trying to manage it all. On top of that, it’s been years since you had to study and you’re a little rusty on how to do it effectively. The good news is that there are more ways than ever before to help you study and succeed in college. With technology, it gets even easier if you know how to leverage the tools at your disposal. Here are 10 study tips to help adult learners go back to college.
Don’t Overload Your Schedule
It might sound great to take a linear algebra online course at the same time you’re taking a mechanical engineering class alongside 3 other electives. However, when you’re just getting started, it’s better to pair a challenging course with a low to moderate difficulty class. This will help you have the time you need to complete assignments, take tests, and work through all the course materials.
Write Things Down
We’ve become so accustomed to using technology for everything, that we forget that the simple act of writing something down can commit it to memory in a way that technology cannot. When you’re studying complex topics or practicing math problems, writing them down in a notebook or even on a tablet is more effective than typing it.
Record Your Lectures
Do you have an hour commute to and from work each day? Record your lectures, then listen to them during the drive. They may not be as exciting as your favorite song or podcast, but it is an effective way to commit the material to memory. Additionally, you can record yourself talking through material and explaining it in a way that you understand. Then listen to those recordings on the drive.
Don’t Wait Until Last Minute to Study
College courses go through a ton of material in a short amount of time. If you wait until the day before a test to study, you’ll find it more difficult to perform well. Study each subject a little each day so that come test time, you only have a little to review to be ready.
Make it Practical
Find a way to apply what you’ve learned to your job or to your life. Even if it means you share the information you’re learning with a friend or family member. Try to explain things in a way that a novice would understand. The ability to break complex information into more manageable bites is one way to show you understand and have mastered the material.
Manage Your Time
As an adult learner going back to college you have more responsibilities than the average college student fresh out of high school. Managing your time well means that you need to schedule blocks of time to study and focus on coursework. Think about school like a work project with certain milestones and prepare for each class the same way you would for an important work assignment.
Create Study Groups
Your schedules may be all over the place but it’s still important to study with others. Do study meetings via zoom or at a specified time once a week with a handful of classmates. It’s a great way to set aside study time and gain accountability. When you know others will be there, you’re more likely to show up. If they don’t come, you can still study alone, and you’ll have the time to do it.
Don’t Take Classes You Don’t Need
College is an investment. If you’re going back to school, it’s likely you have a career goal in mind and you want to get to it as quickly as possible. Make sure you’re only taking the classes that are essential for the degree or certification you are working toward. It’s a waste of time and money to take college classes you don’t need.
Keep Positive People Around You
It may be a struggle to go back to school because of your previous educational experience. Maybe you did poorly in high school and you’re afraid you’ll do bad in college as well. By staying near people who have a good attitude, you’ll have a good support system. It’ll also help you keep a can-do attitude, so you know you’ll succeed no matter what.