Building up the willpower and dedication to go back to college to complete a degree is a major accomplishment. It’s easy to go in on day one and feel as if you’re going to conquer the world. But what happens after school starts? How do you get back into the swing of things?
The challenges adults face after returning to school (or in some cases starting for the first time) vary. Many universities have student services departments to address these needs and help students navigate the inevitable bumps in the road en route to their goals. Here are three things to prepare for when you re-enroll:
1. Working with Technology
Let’s face it. It’s not just the elderly who struggle with technology. People in their 30s can remember a world before Internet or cell phones. Considering many programs are partially or entirely online, there’s a quick learning curve for working effectively as an online student. When you’re also dealing with taking on new course concepts, this can be incredibly intimidating. But, between student services and the IT help desk, there’s plenty of aid. Many universities also provide training on how to navigate their learning management systems.
2. Academic Preparation
When returning to the classroom after being out for a while, many people discover that their brains need a little boot camp. You should talk with an advisor to map out your course schedule and jointly determine what course load you can reasonably handle in the beginning. In addition, advisors can guide students through best practices in studying, test-taking, and effectively communicating with instructors. If things get challenging throughout the term, advisors are also there to help connect students with tutors and motivate you through academic struggles.
3. Time/Life Management
We all know it’s difficult to juggle family and work alone. Add school into the mix, and you may be looking at a recipe for disaster. Fear not. Student services advisors can help students manage their time from the get-go. If students run into problems with personal issues, they can turn to student services for help with solving common problems and connecting with resources. Advisors can even serve as an intermediary between students and instructors to make sure students are getting the support they need in difficult times.
Making a major life change is scary. Everyone needs support when attempting the enormous task of improving their lives and careers. Rest assured that the university you choose to attend wants you to succeed, and utilizing the support they offer through student services is one way to make sure that happens.
Jenna Sims Gray is a Student Services Specialist who supports students taking online classes through Herzing University’s Akron and Orlando campuses.