Returning to college to attain a degree after an absence from the academic world can be intimidating.  Even the most confident individuals can find themselves second-guessing how successful they will be at balancing home, career, and class schedules. Preparing yourself with some strategies may help ease your transition into “college life” while maintaining balance in your “real life.”

Refresh your study skills.

Many schools offer study skills courses that help refresh your memory on good notetaking, active reading, test preparation, and research skills, all of which help prepare you for challenging courses and make your study time more efficient and effective.  

Time management.

Time will become an even more precious commodity. Protect your time by learning to say “no” to non-essential volunteering jobs, event invitations, travel, or activities that will occupy much of your time and put a crimp on your family and school life.   Stay focused on your goal, and be prepared to make the time sacrifices necessary to achieve it.   For more tips on effective time management, click here! 

Support system.

There will be times when you will need to bury yourself in projects for an entire afternoon or even longer, so it is wise to have a support system identified, especially if you have children.  Being able to drop your kids off at a family member or neighbor’s house for the day, or even hire a neighbor kid to do the yardwork on the weekend, can help you delve deeper into your projects and work more efficiently so you can get back to your family and career life. 

One step at a time.

Don’t let the list of course requirements for your degree overwhelm you.  Focus on each class and remind yourself with each class accomplished, you are closer to that diploma! Take only the number of classes than you can reasonably handle—it’s better to pass a class the first time than spending twice the time and money if you have to re-take it.  When considering what course(s) to register for, request the syllabus so you can gauge how much time will be needed to successfully complete it.  When faced with a large workload in a class, choose to take it at a time of year that you will not already be strapped for time (like the holiday season).  

Reward yourself!

While the big goal is graduation, you are working hard and making sacrifices with each class you take, so you’ve earned it!  Treat yourself when you complete a course to keep your motivation up.  You may even want to daydream about the big reward you will gift yourself once that degree is in hand.

The journey to a college degree isn’t a short path and it will likely have a few bumps, but it’s a worthy one to travel nonetheless.  No matter how far away the destination looks, keep pushing towards it.  If you have to take one class at a time, you will still arrive at your goal!  As Confucius said, “It does not matter how slowly you go, as long as you do not stop.”

If you’d like more information on how to begin your return to college, visit our website.