Not every college student on campus is coming straight from high school. Individuals of all ages can and do attend higher education classes. For some, personal commitments might have gotten in the way of pursuing a degree when they were younger. Others might simply be returning to academia later in life to go to graduate school. No matter what the reason, adults who have been away from school for a few years may be a bit overwhelmed when they resume their lives as students. Here are a few pieces of advice to help these older learners prepare for the college experience.
- Impress your professors, not your classmates: A student could have years of experience and their own family and still feel the pressure to be accepted by his or her classmates once they are back in school. For these individuals, eHow stresses the importance of being themselves. This includes dressing and acting how one usually would, and not trying to recapture their youth or do what they think their peers would find cool. Some adult students might feel that they will be targets of mockery by their classmates. This might be the case regarding some of the more immature individuals on campus, but is not reflective of all enrollees. However, eHow explains that if an older student shows up to class wearing a sweatshirt or flip-flops in an attempt to blend in, they probably will be targets of mockery. This rule applies off campus as well, so it is best for these individuals to stay true to who they are.
- No one likes a know-it-all: It is a given that an older student will have seen and experienced more than their teenage classmates. However, this does not give older learners a free pass to brag about all they have done and accomplished in their lifetime. After all, if these individuals were so smart, then what are they doing back in school? Though adult learners might be in a classroom full of students their children’s age, this does not give them the right to act like they know better. Instead, these students should strive to be equal to their peers, according to eHow. There are sure to be aspects of the college experience that may confuse older students. If this is the case, one can always turn to their younger and possibly savvier classmates for help.
- Respect your classmates: There will be times when a professor is running late or a student has arrived for class too early. Adult learners may feel the need to pass the time by talking to their classmates, but one should never insert themselves into a conversation out of boredom. Younger students have not lived long enough to gain many of the lessons older individuals might have learned long ago. This does not give adults the right to correct their classmates or try to teach them a thing or two. According to eHow, they will be less than thrilled by this. In some cases, younger students might turn to adult classmates for advice or just a different set of ears. If this is the case, eHow recommends that these individuals learn to listen.
- Make a schedule and get some rest: For many younger college students, attending classes is their whole life. However, older students will most likely have a lot more responsibilities than homework — including a relationship, children, a home or a full-time job. It is very easy for all these factors to weigh someone down and force them to withdraw from school. To avoid this, adult learners would be wise to find a time in their busy day when they can study and know they will not be disturbed, according to About.com. Once this time has been identified, students should make a note of it in their daily planner and commit to it. Though sleep is important for all college students, it is especially crucial for older individuals. About.com states that the human brain requires rest in order to catalog all that it has learned throughout the day. Students will find that a good night’s sleep will go a long way in improving test scores.