Most people probably don't imagine themselves going back to school later in life. However, that's exactly what scores of adults are forced to do; either that, or struggle in tough job markets. Some adults go back to finish degrees, while others take classes for the first times. Making that decision to go back to school can be difficult, especially since so many adults have more to worry about than just their classes. Also, returning to school takes a serious financial commitment, and that alone is enough to dissuade most adults from going back.
Here are the top five reasons why adults struggle with returning to school:
Adults Have Too Many Commitments
Adults returning to college have more commitments than just their school work. Outside of the classroom, most adults have work, families and other commitments that take up a lot of their time. This is one of the biggest fears adults have when considering returning to school. They wonder if they are able to meet the demands of a college schedule and still be able to earn a living, raise their children and spend time with the family.
In the beginning it may be tough to balance everything out. However, over time, the returning college student will develop a schedule that accommodates everything he or she needs to focus on. Online college courses can be a huge help for adults who lack the time for set class schedules.
Adults Feel Out of place
Some adults returning to college are several years older than their traditional college student counterparts. This can sometimes lead to the older students to feel out of place, isolated and uncomfortable. Many adults who have returned to school are finding that they are actually more motivated to learn and succeed more than they would when they were younger. Plus, once back in the classroom, the feelings of being out of place should subside as they start to fit in with the rest of their classmates.
Older Students Lose Their Confidence
Adults often lose confidence in their abilities to learn new things. The lack of confidence should not stop someone from returning to college. While some adults may struggle more with certain subjects (for example, learning foreign languages is easier at young ages), adults are also more likely to understand the importance of research, study groups and office hours with professors. Even those who struggle to learn can make up for it with hard work, and most adults have advanced work ethics when compared to typical teen and young adult students.
Many Adults Can't Afford Tuition
The topic of money and paying for school goes right along with the commitments many adults have. Because adults have to pay to maintain households and other financial commitments, it may be difficult to also pay for college. With many adults wanting to return to school without going further into debt with student loans, some non-traditional students are finding it difficult to fit it in their budget. Those wanting to return to school, but are unsure of the costs and affordability, should take time to speak with the financial aid office at the school to discuss options. Financial aid in the form of scholarships and grants may be available to help pay for costs of tuition and books.
Adults Can't Deal with the Changed Classroom Culture
Much has changed over the past 10 to 20 years, especially in terms of campus technology. How lectures are handled, how work is turned in and how students interact with each other is nothing like back in the old days. These changes can be intimidating for adult students, but there are many counselors and resources available to help non-traditional students make their transitions back into college life.
Adults students who are reluctant to go back to the classroom should focus instead on the numerous benefits that would result from getting a degree. Finding the right school for the adult's needs is just the beginning to returning to college, but with a little patience and some hard work, the fears will subside.