5 Things That Make It Easier to Go Back to School as an Adult

Adult students worry about paying for school, finding time in their day for classes and studying, and managing the stress of it all. These five tips will make it easier to go back to school as an adult.

Get Financial Help

Paying bills

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Unless you've won the lottery, money is an issue for almost everyone going back to school. Remember that scholarships aren't just for young students. Many are available for older students, working moms, non-traditional students of all kinds. Search online for scholarships, including FAFSA (Federal Student Aid), ask your school what kind of financial aid they offer, and while you're there, ask about work on campus if you've got a few extra hours available.

Balance Work, Family, School

Quality time

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You have a full life already. For most college kids, going to school is their job. You may very well have a full-time job plus a relationship, children, and a home to care for. You're going to have to manage your study time if you're adding school to your already busy schedule.

Choose the hours that make the most sense for you (early morning? noon? after dinner?), and mark them in your datebook or planner. You now have a date with yourself. When something comes up during those hours, stay strong, politely decline, and keep your date to study

Manage Test Anxiety


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No matter how hard you've studied, tests can be stressful. There are lots of ways to manage your anxiety, assuming you're prepared, of course, which is the first way to reduce test stress. Resist the urge to cram right up to test time. Your brain will function more clearly if you:

  • Arrive early and relaxed
  • Trust yourself
  • Take your time
  • Read the instructions carefully
  • Answer the questions you know easily first, and then
  • Go back and work on the harder ones

Remember to breathe. Breathing deeply will keep you calm and relaxed on test day.

Get Your Forty Winks

Taking a nap

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One of the most important things you can do when learning anything new is to sleep. Not only do you need the energy and revitalization that sleep provides before a test, but your brain also needs sleep to catalog learnings. Studies have shown that people who sleep between learning and testing score much higher than those who haven't slept. Get your forty winks before testing and you'll do much better.

Find a Support System


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So many nontraditional students are going back to school that many schools have websites or organizations set up to support you.

  • Get online and search for "nontraditional students"
  • Stop at your school's front office and ask if they have help in place for nontraditional students
  • Introduce yourself to other students like yourself and support each other

Don't be shy. Get involved. Almost every adult student has some of the same concerns you do.

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Your Citation
Peterson, Deb. "5 Things That Make It Easier to Go Back to School as an Adult." ThoughtCo, Aug. 13, 2021, thoughtco.com/back-to-school-tips-for-adults-31451. Peterson, Deb. (2021, August 13). 5 Things That Make It Easier to Go Back to School as an Adult. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/back-to-school-tips-for-adults-31451 Peterson, Deb. "5 Things That Make It Easier to Go Back to School as an Adult." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/back-to-school-tips-for-adults-31451 (accessed June 7, 2023).