Adult Learning Tips

Going back to school can be overwhelming.  Here are some tips to help keep you on track.  

Speak up if you are confused or uncomfortable

If something comes up either in class, or on Blackboard, that is unclear to you, speak up!  Make sure you communicate with the instructor and get all of the information that you need to be successful.  Our faculty members want to see you do well, and they will work with you to make sure that happens.  Your academic advisor is also a very good resource if you are struggling in a class and need some advice.  If you are feeling uneasy about anything, your academic advisor will do everything he or she can to help you stay on track and make you feel comfortable. 

Set a realistic study schedule

As a part-time student, you will have a lot on your plate!  Work, family, chores, etc.  Make sure you add homework, and study time into your schedule.  If you have children who are in school, maybe you could do your homework when they are doing theirs!  Just make sure you are carving out time in your busy schedule to stop and focus on your school work.  You may need to make adjustments as you move through different courses, and as things change at home or work.  In order to be successful academically, studying must be a priority in your schedule. 

Your study space

How do you like to stay organized?  And in what type of environment are you able to focus? It is important to ask yourself these questions and make sure you are studying in an environment that allows you to be focused and productive.  Do you have an area where you live that is well lit, where you can spread out your work, and where you will not be easily distracted?  If not, maybe you would work well at the Wentworth Library, or at a local library closer to where you live, or maybe you would like to do your work at a coffee shop.  Try different venues to determine which works best for you. 

Maximize free time

You will most likely have reading materials that you will need to stay on top of whether it’s from a text book, or articles that your instructor hands out in class.  Carry those materials with you if you can, and read on your lunch break, or read on the train in the morning if you commute, or maybe read while you are in the waiting room for an appointment.  Finding pockets of time to catch up on reading assignments can cut down on time you’ll spend doing it at night or on the weekends. 

Taking tests

Almost all students have some anxiety around taking tests.  Making sure you are properly prepared can ease this anxiety.  Give yourself enough time to study; do not procrastinate! When you have the test in front of you, read over all of the questions before starting.  If you are taking an exam in a classroom, and the instructor is present, feel free to ask him or her questions that you might have along the way.  Breathe! Take a few deep breaths and relax.  If you are well prepared, you will be able to go into a test with confidence.

Learn how to say no

Becoming a student again is a big commitment.  In order to be successful, you may have to give up some other things while you are in school.  Let your friends and family know that you are in school, and that you might not be as available.  Ask them for their support and understanding.  You may have to explain to your family that you are unable to attend a particular dinner, or game, because you have to study for an upcoming test.  Or you might have to say no to friends if they ask you to meet up for a night out, or if they ask you to take a day to help them move.  Saying “no” doesn't make you a bad friend or family member!  You have made a commitment to your academics, and you are setting a good example for others by following through on your commitment.

Use campus resources

Your academic advisors, your instructors, the career center, student services, and other offices on campus, are all here to support you!  Make good use of them!