We’ve looked at some very good reasons for going back to college, addressed some questions you should ask before you choose your course and talked about why we want you to choose NCI as your educational partner. Let’s assume your mind’s made up. Now what?!
Well, whether it has been two, ten or fifty years since you were last enrolled in college, there are a number of things you can do to ready yourself for your return to education.
Face your fears
All students face challenges, but yours will be different from those faced by students who are starting college straight from school. The biggest barriers are often psychological: the best way to defeat them is to acknowledge their existence, and plan for how you will beat them.
You might be concerned about the time commitment involved, and how you will balance work, family and your studies. You may be concerned about adjusting or readjusting to academic life and how you will cope with assessments and academic writing. Or perhaps you’re just concerned about being back in the classroom environment.
Whatever your concerns are, acknowledge them. Write them out. Then consider how you can face them head on to achieve your goals.
Put a plan in place
Forward planning and preparation is so important to the returning student. Put together a comprehensive schedule that you can share with your loved ones and that accounts for all your commitments: work, college hours, study, rest and family time. Don’t forget the more mundane responsibilities you have, like food shopping or housework, although it’s an idea to delegate some of these if you can.
Update your initial schedule when you can with assignments and exams. Check with your course advisor about how many hours a week will be needed for independent study, and try to keep to a regular study schedule from the outset. This will make life much easier when exam time rolls around.
It’s good to talk!
Talk to your family, friends and employers about your return to education and the changes this will require. Discussing these changes from the outset will help them to feel involved and provides an opportunity for them to offer their help, advice and support.
Check with your chosen educational partner about the support services that are available to you. Do they offer workshops or study groups that you can take part in?
Ease the transition
It makes sense to be as organised as you can be to ease the transition as you readjust to academic life. Be kind to yourself and try to minimise other pressures and distractions, at least for the first few weeks of college life.
Before you set foot on campus for your first class, set up a quiet study area at home where you will have comfort and privacy to revise your notes and do your assignments. Invest in some fancy new stationery that you'll look forward to using - it's amazing what this can do for your outlook.
A few hours in advance spent on meal preparation can mean a few weeks of dinners in the freezer, ready for the microwave when you get in from class. Another way you can get a bit of a headstart is to ask for your reading list in advance, and dive in before lectures commence.
Have you returned to college after a break from education? Do you have any tips to share in the comments?