Competitive Advantage

Delivering Tips, Insights and Resources for Success

Get monthly updates of the latest articles

Competitive Advantage

Delivering Tips, Insights and Resources for Success

Get monthly updates of the latest articles

5 Challenges Adults Face Going Back to School


Ever contemplated returning to academia as an adult but found the idea somewhat overwhelming? “I don’t have the money,” “I can’t balance school with family,” “I’m just too old for this.” Are these familiar thoughts?  The uphill battle of adult learning is undeniably real, but it’s far from unconquerable with the right resources, a can-do attitude, and a hint of bravery. Let’s take on five issues and challenges of adults returning to college, dig into the gritty realities, and spotlight some killer strategies to tackle them head-on.

Tackling the Five Biggest Challenges of Going Back to School

So, let’s dive right in and untangle the most common challenges adults face going back to school. From financial constraints to time management, we’ll explore these hurdles and arm you with strategies to vault right over them. Read on to discover how to turn these challenges into stepping stones to your degree and a better future.

1. Fewer Financial Resources To Pay for College

Oh, the financial burden of tuition on top of rent, bills, and possibly the costs of caring for children. Stressful? Absolutely. A roadblock? It doesn’t have to be! There’s an array of financial aid crafted for adult learners. Take a look:

  • Scholarships: Think of these as gifts that keep on giving. Lots of organizations offer scholarships specifically for adult learners. For example, Mississippi State University offers scholarships to non-traditional students.
  • Grants: Yet another form of financial aid that doesn’t need to be repaid. The Federal Pell Grant is a common one. And in Mississippi, Complete 2 Compete (C2C) has a renewable grant that helps returning MS adults who are already struggling to provide for their families and dependent children with tuition assistance. The grant totals $1,000 and is renewable every term until graduation. 
  • Work Study Programs: These are great for earning while you learn. The Federal Work-Study Program allows you to work part-time while in school to earn money for educational expenses.
  • Employer Tuition Assistance: This can be a game changer for adults already working. Some employers offer tuition reimbursement as part of their benefits package. For instance, Service Corporation International offers up to $4000 annually for their eligible employees. Check with your employer’s human resources department to see if they have any tuition assistance programs. 

And guess what?  C2C Coaches will help you find all the state and federal aid that is available, and they also know all the school-specific grants for which you may qualify. Adults going back to school in Mississippi have many more opportunities than they realize. Don’t let financial worries hold you back. The road to your academic dreams is more affordable than you think.

2. Balancing Classes and Family Obligations

You know the drill – school, work, family commitments, and let’s not forget ‘me-time.’ It can feel like a circus act, right? Especially for busy adults!  But guess what? There’s a way to keep all those balls in the air – This is where time management comes into play. Start by familiarizing yourself with digital planner apps like Google Calendar or Trello. They can become your go-to tools for scheduling everything – from intensive study sessions to cozy family movie nights.

“But what about my crazy schedule?” you might ask. Here’s where the beauty of online courses in Mississippi shines. Online education lets you be the boss of your class time. More of an early bird? Tune into a lecture with your morning grits. Night owl? Listen to a podcast lecture under the stars. 

Take, for example, Mississippi State University Online. They offer fully online, self-paced courses, letting you learn whenever you’re ready. They’ve got everything from business courses to educational psychology on the menu.

If you prefer a more structured learning experience, many schools in Mississippi offer synchronous online classes where you have to log in and participate in class at specific times. The University of Mississippi is one example of this. You’ll still have specific class times without the hustle of getting to campus. It’s the classroom experience without leaving your living room!

Like a mix of both? The University of Southern Mississippi’s Online at Southern Miss is another great example of a school that offers flexibility to students. It’s a hybrid model combining scheduled sessions and self-paced work. It caters to folks who crave structure but still need wiggle room for other commitments.

Don’t forget about community colleges. They’re stepping up their game too! Take Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, for example. They’re offering online degrees perfect for fitting education into your busy schedule. This means you get all the perks of a community college – close-knit classes, personalized attention, and now, the flexibility to learn in your pajamas if you want! So, you see, going back to school as a busy adult in Mississippi isn’t just possible; it’s also packed with options to suit your style!

3. Connecting With Other College Students

Older people going back to school often worry about feeling like a square peg in a round hole among younger cohorts. The perceived generation gap, however, is often more of a molehill than a mountain. Dip your toes into study groups, join student communities, participate in online forums – build bridges with your peers. Regardless of age, remember everyone’s in it for learning. Adults returning to college can share their wisdom with their younger fellow students.  Before long, you’ll wonder why you ever had anxiety about going back to school. 

4. Poor Grades in the Past

Fretting over your not-so-golden academic history? Don’t let your past play spoilsport to your future. Remember, as an adult going back to school, you’re now equipped with life and work experiences that can give you a leg up in your academic journey. Programs like C2C recognize this fact and have resources to help you make a triumphant return to school.

For adults returning to college, Complete 2 Compete has a fantastic grade forgiveness program for certain students in the University Studies degree program. If you meet the requirements, those grades can be dropped from the calculation of your GPA. In addition, many colleges throughout Mississippi have their own academic forgiveness programs.

There’s no need to let those past grades scare you away from reaching for new heights. With the right resources and support, like what C2C and various colleges offer, your academic past can become a launching pad for a brighter future. Embrace the journey ahead – it’s never too late to turn those old grades into new opportunities.

5. A Lack of Confidence in Your Ability To Succeed

Fear of failure can be a formidable barrier for adults going back to college. That’s why cultivating a can-do attitude is pivotal. Trust your abilities, and understand that raising your hand for help is okay. You’re not alone in this journey; plenty of resources and support are available, especially for adult learners like you.

Going back to school as an adult and starting a new degree program while juggling families with children – it sounds like a lot, right? Being a student and a parent is a challenge, but with plenty of support, people like you are overcoming those challenges, and you can too. Starting is the hardest part, but you’ll find the rhythm once you’re in. Maybe kick off with a single class, chalk out a game plan, and celebrate the little victories. As your confidence grows, so will your adult learning accomplishments. And guess what? You’ve got a trusty sidekick in this academic adventure – C2C. They’re cheering for you, supporting you, and offering the resources to help you shine. So, how about we silence those doubts and start this exciting journey?

How Does C2C Support Adults Returning to College? 

Are you taking the plunge back into academia as an adult student in Mississippi? With C2C as your pool buddy, you can expect a slew of resources at your disposal – from financial support in the form of a grant to dedicated C2C Coaches who’ll hold your hand through the process. Ready to turn your academic dreams into reality? Click here to find out more and register now.


C2C is a state program that helps Mississippi adults who previously attended college earn a degree and create a brighter future.