Education, News

The Challenges Of Going Back To School As An Adult

Sometimes, due to life circumstances, education after high school has to be delayed. An individual may have gone into the military or immediately started working. Whatever the reason, the decision to go back to school later in life may offer be a chance to retake control of this aspect of life. Yet, this is a step that can pose many challenges for an adult.

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Three basic challenges

While attending college is a challenge for the average high school graduate, it can be even more so for an adult. In fact, an adult will face different issues than those faced by a teen or young adult.

  1. Balancing Act: Many adults who attend college are currently working. They may also already have a family. These situations require an individual to learn how to balance all components of their life.
  2. Accessibility: Because an adult’s time might be committed to other aspects of life such as a family and work, scheduling classes during the evening or on weekends, for example, might be a challenge.
  3. Cost: Tuition is always a factor for college students. It is a more serious one for an adult who might be supporting a family or have other commitments. This issue can be further complicated if the he or she is ineligible for a student loan or has to quit a job to attend school.

In addition to these practical considerations there are the emotional ones that can hinder an adult student.

Other factors

There are several personal hurdles that might impact how an adult views returning to school.They include:

  • Personal and social fears: The most common question is “Will I fit in?” Being a non-traditional student in a classroom of 18- or 19-year-olds can be a daunting thought. There are also concerns about whether learning is still possible and if the skills required to succeed are still sharp after such a long time.
  • Technology: Technological advances can also impact an adult’s comfort in the classroom. Sometimes even the format of learning has changed, perhaps more group projects or interactive learning than what a student has experienced in the past.
  • Comfort level: Feeling comfortable at school and in the classroom is essential to a successful experience. If the reality of physically attending is overwhelming, online courses or part time classes are also an option. There are even adult-only classes to help decrease any of these fears.

In the end

Going back to school is indeed a big decision. Whether it is to further a career or to start a new one, it is important to make the decision carefully. The program will only end in success if the adult student can manage his or her schedule, and feel comfortable, capable and ready to learn!

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The Author

Mary Brown

Mary Brown

Mary Brown has enjoyed writing about education and finance related topics, such as scholarships, student loans, college, vocational degree choices, and adult education since the early 2000's. She also writes about school budgets, accreditation and fundraising.