Returning Adult Students

Adult learners face challenges that many traditional students do not. While being out of school may increase the difficultly in transitioning to life as a student again, adult learners often bring valuable experience and diverse skills to the classroom.

Many adult learns have had previous careers, while others may be joining the workforce for the first time after graduation. Either way, many of these students will have the added pressures of balancing work and family commitments, increasing computer literacy, and regaining the confidence needed to excel in their classes.

As an adult learner, you may find the transition to a student stressful, and at times overwhelming.


Here are a couple of tips to keep in mind:

  • Be patient, relaxed, and focused when dealing with school-related people and situations. Do not be intimidated by the idea of returning to school as an adult student. Remember: You are not alone.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. Take a campus tour and learn where buildings and offices are located. Get a copy of a campus map!
  • Become familiar with school administrators. It will help you to know your financial aid advisor, admissions counselor, and academic advisor.
  • Take advantage of on-campus child care!
  • Ask about your educational options. Your program may offer night or weekend classes. Get to you know your advisor!
  • Get involved. Check out organizations with similar professional development goals or special interests. There may be people in these organizations that can offer support. Center for Student Involvement
  • Be efficient and creative with your study time. Utilize shorter time spans to study rather than trying to set aside 2 hours at once. Review your notes at lunch or while waiting for a doctor's appointment. The amount of possible study time will surprise you. Check out other strategies offered by Learning and Assessment Services!
  • Be flexible with your normal routines. Don't get stressed out over a dirty house or an overgrown lawn. Ask your family or friends to help you out.
  • Find more information about the services offered at the Career Services Center! Meet with professional career counselors, enjoy access to job posting services, on-campus recruiting fairs, internship programs, career workshops and an extensive career resource library.
  • Try to remain positive and enthusiastic about your educational adventure.

Still feeling overwhelmed?

If you still feel like you are struggling and/or not receiving the support you need, please contact CAPS to schedule an initial consultation appointment to discuss your concerns. Trained professionals can provide support and unbiased advice on how to best manage your daily stressors. Check out our FAQ page to find out how to schedule an initial consultation appointment.


Additional resources