Returning to school? These things might help you succeed

The face of the average college student is changing, with more working adults heading back to school to complete degrees and enhance their careers. Being an adult learner means bringing life experience to the table, but it also means juggling more responsibilities alongside coursework – including working, managing a home and family commitments. That’s why there are five essential elements that every adult learner should have in their arsenal of tools to support educational success.

1. Technology
Whether you’re attending class on campus or obtaining an education through online study, the right technology can help streamline the learning process. In addition to a quality computer and mobile device, it’s smart to brush up on the basic software programs you’ll use regularly in class. Online tutorials and free classes at your local library help ensure that your technical skills are ready when class starts.

2. Tutor
Students may find certain course topics more challenging than others, and having a tutor at your disposal can make a big difference in keeping up with more difficult curriculums. “Hiring an independent tutor can be expensive, so be sure to research colleges that offer tutoring services at no extra cost,” says Tracy Lorenz, president of Western International University. “At West we provide students with complimentary, one-to-one interactive tutoring sessions. These are available online in real-time, 24/7 – which is particularly important to adult learners.” Learn more at www.West.edu.

3. Time-management tools
Adult learners must divide their time between many different demands. To cut the chaos, research smart time-management tools that can keep you organized every day. Apps and online calendars are ideal and many times can be synced with the schedules of other family members, so everyone knows the tasks for the day and you don’t risk missing a project deadline or your child’s soccer game.

4. Writing resources
No matter what field of study you decide to pursue, you will be doing a lot of writing to complete your college degree. Having papers reviewed prior to submitting them can help reduce errors and improve grades. The West Writing Center offers current West students tools for success with their writing. Resources are provided to assist with organization, structure, style, grammar, and formatting guidelines for citations and references. In addition, students can have their papers reviewed during an interactive tutoring session and receive immediate feedback prior to turning in the assignment.

5. Support system
Being a working adult who is also a student can be complex, which is why having a support system in place can make a big difference. It’s important to have family and friends who are encouraging and available to lend a helpful hand – whether that means picking up the kids from school, helping you brainstorm ideas for an upcoming paper or simply offering to listen. Having a solid support system is the last essential component that should be in every adult student’s toolkit.

“Higher education is evolving and more adults are working while attending college,” says Lorenz. “With desire, dedication and the right resources, getting a degree and career-relevant skills can be a fulfilling process that helps boost career and personal fulfillment in the future.”


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