Competitive Advantage

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Competitive Advantage

Delivering Tips, Insights and Resources for Success

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Going Back To School at 30: 5 Tips You Should Consider


Hitting the Books Again at 30: 5 Genius Tactics

You’re playing around with the idea of going back to school at 30 and feeling overwhelmed. Maybe you want to fulfill a lifelong dream, or maybe you want better job opportunities.

You aren’t the only one. Many adults are coming to the same conclusion as you: they want something more out of their life, and now is the time to go get it. Whatever the motivation for adults going back to school, navigating this new journey can seem tricky, especially when you’re balancing work, family, and life in general.

That’s where these five tactics come in. They’re your toolkit for the road ahead, packed with practical strategies like acing time management, finding financial aid, and even earning credit for life experiences. So, whether you’re just considering a comeback or ready to enroll, these tips can pave your way to success.

30: Past Prime Time or Learning Time? 

Is it too late to go back to school at 30? Definitely not!

Your age can be a powerful asset. Don’t underestimate all those skills and life lessons you’ve picked up in the last decade. Plus, as an adult learner, you’ve got that clear focus and gritty determination that many younger students are still figuring out in their first college experience.

As the number of older and non-traditional students enrolling in college increases, schools like Mississippi State University are developing programs specifically to serve adult learners like you. Educational options for adults returning to school are growing all the time.

5 Top Tricks for Your School Comeback

Starting school again is achievable, but it does have some unique challenges. Check out these tips for going back to school as an older student:

1. Grants Galore: Grab Your Golden Ticket Back to School

Coming up with the money for your tuition and fees might seem like a make-or-break problem that could kill your dream, but resources are out there. There are even scholarships and grants for adult learners.

Many schools have their own financial aid. Check out C2C’s resource page for a wealth of resources available within Mississippi’s community colleges and public universities, including school-specific financial aid. Your golden ticket to education might just be a few clicks away! There’s plenty out there to lighten the financial load and make your back-to-school journey smoother.

If you’ve got dreams of hitting the books again, the C2C Grant can help. It’s designed for adult learners in Mississippi who want to pick up where they left off. It can provide money each semester to qualified applicants, and the easy online application can be submitted from your smartphone.

C2C’s program and grant are your passport to a brighter educational future. With C2C, continuing your education feels less like a dream and more like a plan.

2. Degree Decision: Do Your Homework First!

Before you set foot back in a classroom or log onto an online course, do your homework. When going back to school, it’s helpful to research degree programs and choose one that aligns with your career goals.  If you have some college credits, you can research ways that they can be applied toward either an associate degree or a four-year degree. C2C can help with tailored degree plans.

Imagine a degree plan crafted just for you, taking into account your past credits, current lifestyle, and future aspirations. Your C2C Coach will listen to your goals and circumstances and review your transcripts to find the fast path to a degree. C2C makes the road to graduation clear, smooth, and achievable.

3. Commandeer Your Calendar

So, you’re diving back into school and have work and family commitments on your plate. Sound like a lot? Honing your time management skills is one of the top tips for going back to school, both for academic success and your well-being.

Start by embracing digital tools to schedule and track tasks. Tools like Asana can be a lifesaver, helping you visualize your schedule. Asana breaks your tasks into manageable parts, sets reminders for deadlines, and can even integrate with your email. Tools like Trello and Google Calendar offer similar functionalities. Explore and find what resonates with you.

Next up is the art of prioritizing. A strategy like the Eisenhower Matrix method helps you categorize tasks based on urgency and importance, ensuring that your energy is focused on what truly matters. It’s about working smarter and learning to say no.

A weapon that’s basic but powerful is the Pomodoro Technique. This method encourages you to work in focused sprints (typically 25 minutes) separated by short breaks (about five minutes). It’s a proven way to enhance productivity and reduce the risk of burnout.

Try to carve out some “me time.” Taking a breather can do wonders for your focus and energy. Need more advice on managing time effectively? Check out the Plan to Succeed resources from Complete 2 Compete.

4. Capitalize on Your Catalog of Experiences

We all pick up a thing or two from the school of life. Those skills you’ve acquired over the years can do more than just help you get through a regular day. You can use this wisdom to propel your academic journey forward.

Your real-world experience can translate into college credit. Many schools offer prior learning assessments (PLAs). These PLAs can convert skills you’ve picked up into academic credit. For instance, say you’re a whiz at video editing because you’ve been running your own YouTube channel for years. Through a process called “portfolio assessment,” many institutions might allow you to showcase these skills, and if they align with the course objectives, you could receive academic credit. To make the most of your life experience and fast-track your degree, C2C Coaches are ready to guide you through this process.

5. Summon the Strength of Your Squad

Going back to school at 30 can seem tough, but it’s also a great chance to bond with your family and friends.

  1. Team up: You know that saying, “No man is an island”? We all need each other sometimes, so don’t be shy about reaching out.
  2. Use their talents: Your buddies are good at all sorts of things. Got a friend who’s a grammar guru? Ask them to check your essays. If you know a math master, ask them for help with your calculations.
  3. Keep them posted: Let your loved ones in on your schedule.  You could even share your Google Calendar or Asana schedule with them so they can easily see when you’re swamped with school stuff and when you’re free for a catch-up or movie night.
  4. Learn together: Why not make your studying a group thing? You could study while your friends work on their own projects, or even get your kids to help.
  5. Be clear about your needs: Sometimes you just need quiet for studying, or a hand with the housework. Let people know what you need.
  6. Find a school buddy: If you know someone else going back to school, pair up. You can support each other since you’re in the same boat.
  7. Say thanks: A little gratitude goes a long way. Regularly show your appreciation for their help. This keeps you, and them, motivated as you climb the hill of academic success.

The main thing is to communicate well — share your experiences, be clear about what you need, and say thank you. After all, this school adventure isn’t just about you — it’s something you and your loved ones can share.

Achieve Your Educational Goals With the C2C Program

With your decision to go back to school, you’re opening yourself up to a huge number of career options. Whether you’re looking for an associate’s or a bachelor’s degree, resources like the C2C Program can support you. If you’re wondering how to go back to school at 30 in Mississippi, C2C offers academic guidance, financial support, and more.

For an adult going back to college, the best advice is to believe in yourself and seize the opportunity. It’s never too late to learn and grow. Whether you’re going back to school at 30 for the best career or for the simple joy of learning, school can be the key that unlocks your potential./


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