You’re not the same person you were when you left college. And that’s a good thing. You have acquired maturity, skills, and experience. Colleges and universities have changed as well. They have adapted to the needs of returning adults. See how these changes will help make your transition back to college smoother than you might think.
You now have experience
This is probably your biggest asset. The last time you were in college, you were younger and less experienced. Since then, you’ve faced much bigger challenges and decisions – with work, family, etc. Passing a math class is nothing compared to some of the things that you’ve been through. Now that you know more about the world and the people in it, you are much better prepared to succeed in school.
Technology is your friend
Depending on your age, technology probably didn’t play a huge part in your previous college experience. But now, with cell phones, tablets, and laptops, learning is quite different. You’ll find that today’s technology can make it much easier to take notes, study, organize yourself, manage your time, collaborate with other students, and more.
Possibly the biggest advantage technology gives you is the opportunity to take some or all of your classes online. All of Mississippi’s public colleges and universities offer online classes, and most of them offer the opportunity to complete your degree entirely online.
Online classes are very convenient if you have a very busy schedule to balance (work, family, school, other commitments). You might also consider taking online classes if you are tentative about entering a classroom with younger students. You might feel more comfortable participating online instead of in a face-to-face classroom environment.
You know how to manage your time
Here’s another area where your experience will pay off. If you are working a job and/or raising a family, then you are perfectly equipped to establish a college routine and stick with it. Apply the time management skills you’ve developed in other areas of your life to college. Establish a study routine - set aside a regular time when you can read and complete assignments. It will become a habit and greatly improve your chances for success.
You know how to ask for help
When we’re young, we tend to think we can do it all ourselves. But as we go through life, we realize that we all need a little help from time to time. And hopefully, we learn that it’s not a sign of weakness to ask for help. If you have an area you’re struggling with (either at home or school)—simply ask for help. From friends, family, professors, co-workers, or anyone else on whom you can rely. They want to see you succeed almost as much as you do.
You understand resources
This ties into asking for help. Before, you probably thought you could do it all yourself. But as you navigated through your life since then, you learned how to identify resources to make your life easier and better. Now apply this new skill of yours to college. First, build a network of resources for your personal life – babysitters, handymen, transportation, etc. Then, look for as many educational resources as possible – library services, sources for buying books (see our previous article on buying books) (link to book buying blog), refresher classes (especially if it’s been a long time since you took classes), study locations, and more. In a previous article, we talked about apps designed to help students succeed. (link to app blog article) You can also find a lot of helpful resources online that can make your transition back into college life smoother (i.e. AdultStudent.com, Back2college.com, Google, Wikipedia, YouTube, Kahn Academy, etc.).
You are determined
Making the decision to complete your degree is a powerful move. It shows your commitment to improving your future. Forget what sidetracked you the first time and focus on why you want to complete your degree. Keep those reasons in front of your mind as you head back to college. Remember to acknowledge your accomplishments, throughout the process and as you cross the stage with your diploma.
The most important thing that has changed since you left college is this:
You now know you can accomplish anything you set your mind to.
Where to start
The first, and probably the best thing you can do to ease your transition back to college is exploring the Complete 2 Compete (C2C) program. C2C is a program that helps Mississippi adults return to complete their degrees by helping to eliminate the barriers they encounter. The program even provides a C2C Coach that provides support and will help guide you through the process of completing your degree.