Achieve your goals at school by setting yourself up for success! This help for adult learners and mature students includes tips on improving study skills.
If you’re going back to school after a few years — or a few decades — in the workforce or at home raising kids, you may feel a little nervous about going back to college as a mature student…but sometimes all it takes is a few weeks to adjust.
Before the tips, a quip:
“College is like a fountain of knowledge – and the students are there to drink.” – Anonymous.
If you’re a mature college student, chances are you won’t be there to drink – but you may be surrounded by students who are. Ah, the good old college life. These tips for mature college students will help you navigate your academic world, whether you’re in a big university, small local college, or a high school upgrading program.
For more tips on improving your study skills, read The Mature Student’s Study Guide by Catherine Dawson.
Help for Adult Learners and Mature College Students – Plus Study Tips
1. Connect with other adult learners. As a mature college student, you may feel lost in a sea of fresh young faces. The best way to achieve your academic goals is to find people you connect with. Join the student associations, clubs, or study groups that most interest you; chances are you’ll connect with other adult learners who are interested in the same things.
For more tips, read How to be a Successful College Student.
2. Don’t compare yourself to other students. Accept that you’re an adult learner — which means you have valuable experience, and you probably have a healthier and wiser attitude about life! Don’t compare your appearance, support system, or sense of fashion to the students around you. You’ll come up short in some ways and strong in others…but it’s pointless to compare yourself to others – and comparing yourself doesn’t help you earn better grades as a mature college student.
3. Expect your family to take time to settle in. Getting your kids, spouse, and self accustomed to a new routine could take weeks or even a couple of months…so don’t get frustrated if it’s the end of September and you’re still feel like you’re not succeeding. You will succeed and achieve your college goals – but it takes time.
If you’re losing your motivation to go to school, read 5 Ways to Stay Motivated to Go to College – From Bored to Inspired!
4. Make sure you understand the academic assignments. If you aren’t clear about what the essay requirements or project guidelines are, get clarification from the professor or teacher. You may feel awkward or embarrassed that you have to ask, but that’s better than struggling with an assignment you don’t understand and failing later.
5. Aim for excellence, not perfection. If you’re not earning the A’s you crave – or that you earned 20 years ago when you were a university student the first time – don’t beat yourself up. A huge strategy for earning better grades as an adult learner is to study hard and pay attention in class, but don’t expect perfect grades.
6. Rewrite your essays and assignments after they’re graded. I found that rewriting my university essays made me a far better writer, researcher, and student. If you get a poor grade, ask your professor or teacher if you can re-do the assignment. Even if you don’t earn extra credit (which you could also ask for), you’ll learn how to be a better student.
7. Study with your kids. Do your homework at the same time and in the same space as your kids or spouse (if he’s lucky enough to be a mature student, too!). This will create “homework time” in your family, which is a success strategy for both adult learners and young students.
If you’re struggling with student loans, read How to Get Money for School – From Passive Income to Sharper Vision.
If you have any questions or thoughts about adult learners or mature students, please comment below…
I'm glad you're here! My name is Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen; my husband Bruce and I live in Vancouver, BC with our critters. We can't have kids, and are learning to accept whatever life brings - both good and bad. I have an MSW (Master of Social Work) from UBC, and degrees in Education and Psychology. I hope you say hello below - I can't give relationship advice, but writing can bring you clarity and insight.