Going back to college as a mature student is intimidating. It may have been decades since you were last at school, so the thought of sitting in a classroom surrounded by teenagers is likely to make you feel a bit faint. All is not lost, however, and there are plenty of great reasons why going back to school to study for a further education qualification is a smart move.
Why Go Back to School?
People with a degree or a master’s enjoy a better income and greater career success. Higher qualifications open doors and the more educated you are, the better. Let’s say you are a state registered nurse. You probably have a good career with excellent job prospects, but if you want to move into administration, you need an MSN in nursing administration. The same applies to the corporate world – without an MBA from a prestigious university, it will be much harder to move in executive circles.
Once you have decided to go back to school, the next step is to choose the right course. Many mature students opt to do an online course rather than a course in a brick and mortar college. This gives them the extra flexibility they need to work towards a degree whilst maintaining a full-time job or taking care of a family. An online RN to MSN program is one such example, but there are many others out there if you look.
Now you have enrolled on your course, it is time to get into the studying mindset. This won’t be easy. Back in the day, writing essays involved paper and pens. These days, technology lets us type out an essay and submit it online. Most universities expect their students to submit work electronically. This is great if you are used to working with word processing software, but for anyone who has an aversion to computers, there will be a steep learning curve.
Learn the Basics
If you are unfamiliar with word processing, internet and email, or computers in general, take a beginner’s course at your local college. This will give you the basic skills you need to start writing essays and submitting them online.
Create a Study Timetable
You need to get back into the habit of studying again. For the duration of your course, studying is going to have to take precedence over everything else. You won’t be able to carry the full burden of chores and childcare, so ask your partner to help out more. Create a study timetable that allows for an hour or so most days, but be prepared to put more work in if your course is intensive. If in doubt about how much study you need to do, check the course notes for the minimum required number of study hours per week they recommend.
It will take time to get into a routine, but try to be as consistent as possible. The more you study, the easier it will get. Eventually, reading textbooks and making notes will feel completely natural. You may even begin to enjoy it!