Going Back to School with Success: 22 Tips for Adult Learners

February 20, 2024 •

5 min reading

Going back to school with success: 22 tips for adult learners

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Embarking on the journey of going back to school as an adult is a mission filled with purpose and determination. It's a venture that holds the promise of personal and professional growth, but it also comes with its unique set of challenges. In this dedicated guide, we will provide you with a treasure of tips and strategies meticulously tailored to ensure your success as an adult learner.

From setting clear goals to managing your time effectively, we're here to guide you through the intricacies of adult education, empowering you to make the most of this transformative experience. So, fasten your seatbelt and get ready for a rewarding educational journey like no other.

Getting ready to go back to school: The basics

  • Identify your reasons: Delve deep into your motivations for returning to school. Consider whether you are seeking career advancement, a career change, personal development, or pursuing a passion. Clearly articulating your reasons will not only help you make informed decisions but also keep you focused and motivated throughout your educational journey.
  • Assess learning styles: Take the time to understand your preferred learning style. Determine whether you learn best through visual, hands-on, or auditory methods. Knowing your learning style can guide you in choosing the right courses and study techniques, making your learning experience more effective.
  • Select the appropriate degree: Reflect on how the degree aligns with your career goals. Consider whether it will open up new job opportunities, offer potential for promotion, or enable you to pivot to a new field. Ensure that the chosen degree holds value in your desired career path.
  • Pick the right format: Evaluate how education will fit into your current life. Take into account your work schedule, family commitments, and personal time when deciding between online, evening, or weekend classes. The format should accommodate your lifestyle while allowing you to excel academically.
  • Explore accelerated programs: If you're looking to expedite your education, research programs that offer an accelerated path to a degree. However, ensure that the accelerated pace still provides a comprehensive learning experience and aligns with your ability to manage coursework effectively.
  • Find the right program: Compare program curriculums, faculty expertise, available resources, and support services across different institutions. Select a program that not only aligns with your career goals but also supports your specific learning needs and preferences.
  • Research schools: Extend your research beyond the program to the institution itself. Consider factors such as the school's reputation, campus environment, available student support services, and the strength of its alumni and professional networks.
  • Consider career services: Investigate the career support services offered by the school. A robust career services department can provide valuable assistance with job searches, interview preparation, and networking opportunities, which can significantly benefit your post-graduation career prospects.

Stress-free path back to school: Application and financial planning for adult learners

  • Plan your application: Organize your schedule to accommodate application deadlines and preparation. Ensure you have all the necessary materials, such as transcripts, letters of recommendation, and personal statements, ready and submitted well before deadlines.
  • Financial planning: Gain a comprehensive understanding of the total cost of your education, including tuition, fees, books, and living expenses. Explore available financial aid options, such as scholarships, grants, student loans, or employer-sponsored programs, to fund your education effectively. Create a financial plan that aligns with your budget and resources.
  • Organize your life: Strategically plan how to manage your time and responsibilities effectively. Address potential challenges proactively, considering how to strike a balance between school, work, and personal life. Implement time management strategies and allocate time for coursework, studying, work, and personal commitments to maintain a healthy balance.


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Engagement and study: Your road book for smooth sailing while you go back to school

  • Engage with the school community: Actively engage with school counselors, connect with prospective classmates, and seek advice from alumni. Building relationships within the school community can provide valuable insights, support networks, and a sense of belonging.
  • Enrol and prepare: Complete your enrolment process promptly and gather all necessary materials, including textbooks and course materials. Being well-prepared for your classes ensures a smooth start to your educational journey.
  • Create a study environment: Designate a dedicated and comfortable study space free from distractions. A well-organized study environment can enhance your focus and productivity during study sessions.
  • Develop effective study habits: Cultivate strong study routines and utilize tools and techniques that enhance your learning. Explore various study methods and find what works best for you, whether it's taking physical notes, using mnemonic devices, or employing online resources.
  • Integrate learning with work: If you are currently employed, seek opportunities to apply the knowledge and skills you gain from your coursework to your job. Demonstrating how your education benefits your work can add value to your role and reinforce the relevance of your studies.
  • Build a support network: Surround yourself with a supportive network of friends, family, classmates, and mentors who understand and encourage your academic pursuits. A strong support system can provide emotional and practical assistance during your educational journey.
  • Leverage school resources: Take advantage of the various resources offered by the school, including academic advising, tutoring services, career counseling, and extracurricular activities. These resources can enhance your educational experience and help you navigate challenges effectively.
  • Engage in lifelong learning communities: Join study groups, online forums, or professional organizations related to your field of study. Participating in these communities fosters continuous learning, provides peer support, and offers opportunities for networking and collaboration.
  • Be open to learning: Embrace every opportunity to learn, both inside and outside the classroom. Maintain a curious and open mindset, be receptive to new ideas, and actively seek knowledge to enrich your educational experience.

Personal development and care: Beyond going back to school

  • Practice self-care and seek help when needed: Acknowledge the challenges of juggling multiple responsibilities and prioritize self-care. Recognize the importance of maintaining your physical and mental well-being. Don't hesitate to seek support or take a break when necessary to avoid burnout.
  • Reflect on personal growth: Embrace education as an opportunity for personal development, not just career advancement. Continuously reflect on your growth as an individual throughout your educational journey. Recognize the positive changes in your skills, knowledge, and perspectives as you pursue your academic goals.


In fine, going back to school as an adult represents a transformative journey filled with opportunities for personal and professional growth. This comprehensive guide has provided valuable insights, strategies, and tips to help you navigate this path effectively. Remember, you're not alone; adult learners form a diverse and vibrant community driven by unique motivations, enriching the educational landscape. If you are curious, explore more about the trend of adults returning to school, their motivations, and their impact on education.

Despite challenges, such as balancing work and family, these obstacles can be overcome with resilience and support. Armed with these tips, you're well-prepared for your educational journey, demonstrating a proactive commitment to personal and professional development. Embrace the possibilities, as going back to school as an adult opens doors to new horizons and a lifelong pursuit of knowledge.


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