Okay, so you have decided on going back to study.
It’s a big decision considering the amount of time, effort, and cost over several years.
There’s also the sacrifice with time normally spent with your friends and family.
Being a mature-aged student, generally means you haven’t picked up a textbook or sat an exam for many years.
For some, it’s since they left high school. For others, it has been a while since they have finished an undergraduate degree.
Going back to university can be quite a shock and can create anxiety.
The anxiety is caused by not knowing what to expect. How hard will it be?
Will younger students be receptive to me?
All these concerns are legitimate.
To reduce these concerns and improve your chances of success I have put together some tips on how to prepare for the university as a mature-aged student.
- Choose the right educational path
- Set Realistic expectations
- Plan your time effectively
- Write a to-do list
- Use your time effectively
- Find a dedicated place to study
- Take notes and review them regularly
- Sort out your finances
- Check out child care
- Take regular breaks to keep fresh
Choose the right educational path
It’s important to select the right course and course subjects that are aligned with your career plan and goals.
This is important as you do not want to add additional time or cost by having to change courses or subjects.
Most colleges will provide you the option of studying part-time, but keep in mind it will take longer to complete than full-time.
Some subjects are compulsory while others are elective. Be sure to choose one of interest and obtainable. For example, some subjects are a lot more difficult than others.
If these subjects are not of interest and won’t provide you with the advantage best to swap it out for a more aligned subject.
Set Realistic expectations
Going back to college with taking some getting used to.
Give yourself some time to get used to college life, having to study and attend lectures and classes.
If you have family or work commitments take time to get the right balance with college.
Where you need to update your skills the college likely to offer assistance with refresher and assurance programs.
Seek out other students, and build a support network of mature students.
You might not find some of the subjects easy, and others might also find the course challenging.
So having students who can work together can make the world of difference.
Plan your time effectively
Time management is a challenge or adult learners, especially if they are having to juggle family, friends, and work.
Hence, time management plays an important role in achieving a harmonious balance between studying and your other commitments.
Write a to-do list
There is satisfaction when striking out items on your to-do list at work.
So why not have a to-do list for studying and your other commitments.
Focus on the priority ones, marking them off as you progress.
Will noticeably be able to track your progress, providing you are a great sense of achievement.
Use your time effectively
Creating a schedule of when you are going to study and when not to study.
So when it comes time to study this will help you focus on studying.
In the schedule, it should include taking time out to relax.
So when you have scheduled time to watch your favorite Netflix show you won’t feel guilty.
Find a dedicated place study
Finding a place where there are no noises, bright lights, people, or kids to distract you.
Having a dedicated place to study will allow you to be fully focused on studying.
This might be your bedroom, Spare bedroom, or library.
Take notes and review them regularly
Taking notes is a great way to learn. It’s like stamping information into your brain.
In the end, the lecture or class takes a few moments to read over the notes.
If there are any updates or improvements this is the time when the information is still fresh in your mind.
In the coming days and weeks, continue to read your notes. This will help solidify the learning in your brain.
Sort out your finances
Start to work out a budget. Understand your main expenses, the outgoings. Rent, mortgage, food, and utilities, etc
If necessary cut out any nonessential spending like Netflix, coffees, alcohol, take away food, etc.
This will help determine how much money you require to cover your main expenses over a week, month, and year.
Then compare this to how much money you have and how long it will last you.
If you do not have enough funds to cover your expenses then you will be restricted on how long you can study until the money runs out.
You could however get a casual or part-time job that will help supplement the funds you have.
This may support you through covering whilst you focus on studying.
Don’t forget for each subject you will need to buy a new set of books. An added expense that needs to be budgeted.
If you are planning on studying on campus you will need to factor this into your costs. Keeping in mind costs do vary greatly between colleges.
Lastly, unless you receive a scholarship and do not have the funds to pay for the fees upfront, you may need to obtain a loan.
Finances are a challenge for all students, regardless of age.
One of the main reasons for mature-aged students dropping out of college and not completing their course is due to financial hardship.
Check out child care
If you require childminding services, check out the services on offer. Spots can be scarce, so be sure to check out availability.
It’s also good to check out the hours crèche or childminding services.
Do they provide the hours to cover you whilst your studying?
Lastly, check out the childminding costs, factoring this into your budget.
Take regular breaks to keep fresh
It’s easy to get consumed with studying and everything else in life.
But as we get older, we gradually get better at understanding ourselves and what is needed to feel good.
For me, it’s taking regular breaks in between work and study.
Going for a brisk walk for 1/2 hour clears the mind, more positive thoughts, and improved focus.
If you are having trouble at work it can be taxing on your mental health and overall well-being.
During this difficult time, it’s important to take extra care in looking after your well-being.
If you’re always thinking about work when you’re away from work, It’s always good to find activities that keep your mind distracted.
Taking long weekends or vacations can have a positive effect on your health.
Breaks throughout the day can clear the mind. Practicing mindfulness will also assist.
Regular exercise will also help or spending extra time with family and kids will also help.