Kaplan University School of Professional and Continuing Education Kaplan University School of Professional and Continuing Education

Tips for Adults Who Want to go Back to School

Tips for Adults Who Want to Go Back to School

Posted by: Ted Highland
Updated: January 29, 2019

It’s time for your kids to go back to school, but they may not be the only ones returning to the classroom this fall. According to the National Center for Education statistics, more and more adults are returning to school as well. It seems like once parents send their children off to school, they start investigating what going back to school may mean for them as well.

Many adults consider going back to school to develop specific knowledge that they will use to obtain a new job, or to train for a new career. Others want to gain skills that will result in them making more money. Still others go back to school because they think they will enjoy the learning experience. Real estate, appraisal, home inspection, and contractor classes are some of the most popular that fulfill these objectives.

Along with the positive and exciting aspects of returning to an academic environment, there also come some worries and concerns. Some people feel that they might not fit in with potentially younger students, and perhaps even younger faculty. Others may worry that they might not get passing grades because it has been so long since they have been in school. Returnees quickly find that these fears are unfounded. What is required is a willingness to study and put in the time and effort to be successful. Instructors know that returning students are some of the hardest working and best students they teach.

In addition to the educational concerns, it is also appropriate to analyze the effect on your work, social life, and family life. Most people have other commitments in addition to just studying. How will you balance the necessary time for classes, studying, and assignments with your family’s need for time and attention? For every hour a person spends in class, they should allow two to three additional hours of studying. Time management skills are crucial to your educational success, as well as your overall success as a person.

While live, instructor-led classroom courses are still available, online course offerings are definitely becoming more popular. So, compared to the school experience that many returning students remember, today’s students have many more choices. Online classes are can be a great option for many students. Having education available to you at home in your living room can be extremely convenient for individuals who work full-time. Schools like Brightwood have online, on-demand programs that can duplicate the classroom experience for online students through engaging video presentations. These courses are also supplemented with additional tools like Interactive Study Groups, where students can communicate with each other and faculty members who are subject matter experts.

Here are some tips to assist those considering returning to school to make the best decision possible:

1. Talk to professionals in the field you are interested in about their experience in returning to school.

Others have gone before you and survived to tell about it. Ask them what their experience was like, and if they have any advice that might make it easier for you. They are also an excellent resource to find out which programs are the best.

2. What will it cost to return to school?

Find out in advance how much it is going to cost for your education, and then ask yourself if it is worth spending the money to achieve your educational objectives. After all, many individuals would love to have a Harvard degree, but few would probably be willing to pay for it.

3. What will it cost you if you don’t return to school?

Investing in education is one of the smartest things a person can do. If education is going to increase your opportunity for more income, can you accept the consequences of not getting additional education?

4. Managing performance anxiety.

Most people have some fear of not doing well in an educational environment, particularly when it comes to taking and passing tests. A lot of people think this is an affliction that only they suffer from, but is very common among all types of students. As educators, we have techniques to deal with anxiety that we know are as important to communicate to returning students as the content of the courses we teach. We prepare students to understand the curriculum, but also how to study for and pass tests.

Ultimately, your decision to return to school should come down to one question: “What else could you do with the time and money that you are going to invest in your education?” Several years after you have completed your educational experience, you will most likely look back and say, “It was worth it!”


Looking for more information about going back to school and starting your new career?  Visit our Career Toolbox for the information and inspiration you need to get started. When you choose a career path and you're ready to enroll, visit our website or call our Career Consultants at 800.636.9517 to reserve your seat in an upcoming course.