Adult Learners

When people delay going to college or return after some time, their lives are often much more complicated and involved than they would have been at age eighteen.  This is only a disadvantage until they gain some experience in time and stress management skill development, and get rid of the rust on their study skills.  Generally, there are more incentives to succeeding later in life.  Older students often have clear goals and objectives for their future.  They have more of a consumer mentality in approaching their education, and seem to feel more free to interact with professors.  The success of many mature students is reflected in their commitment, enthusiasm, and vast life experiences.  They realize that education is a life-long process.  They already know the value of an education and that knowledge opens many doors of opportunity. 

Begin by gathering basic resources.  Get the college catalog and read it!  Make an appointment with your academic advisor and instructors.  Learn to network with other students.  Do not let yourself become isolated.  Become involved in extracurricular activities on campus.

Time management is a necessity when you add becoming a student to your existing life.  Ask yourself, "What is the best use of my time NOW?"  Develop a time management plan.  If you need help, please see a counselor or the Psychological Counseling Service Office for individualized assistance.  Identify a time and place for study.  You may have to train yourself and others around you that study time is as real as your other responsibilities.  Designate some study time while you are on campus.  Once you return home, there are too many interruptions.  Don't waste extra time.  Carry texts with you and study between classes. 

Learn how to maximize your study habits, test taking skills, writing skills, and reading skills.  Work regularly with the staff at the Academic Success Center  and attend workshops on these and more topics to sand away the rust!

Cope with stress in healthy ways.  Identify your stressors and plan to confront them more effectively the next time they pop up.  Establish at least one hour a day that belongs to you.  Consider learning to engage yourself in relaxation therapy.  Institute boundaries.  Learn to say "no" and deal with problems in a calm, rational manner, and only one at a time.  Take frequent vacations from your routines.  Add variety to your life in subtle ways such as listening to different kinds of music or by taking alternate routes for your commute to school.  A counselor at the Psychological Counseling Service Office will work with you to design an individualized stress management plan upon your request.

Special Topics for Student-Parents :

  1. Give your child attention, then ask for cooperation.
  2. Designate "homework time" for everyone and do it together.
  3. Plan study breaks with your children.
  4. Establish early bedtimes.
  5. Network with other student-parents and take turns caring for each other's children.
  6. Quietly entertain children with their favorite movie while you study nearby.
  7. Make use of friends and family members.  Establish support networks in advance of needing them.
  8. Schedule your classes at times that work best for you.  Coordinate your class schedule to work well with your "real world" commitments.
  9. Attempt to make wake-up, bedtime, study hours, and meal times predictable.

Be realistic.  The house may get messy, the lawn may get too high, and you may not be able to turn in perfect assignments.  Set practical and attainable goals for yourself.  If you need assistance in establishing down-to-earth goals, please see a counselor at the Psychological Counseling Services Office.  If at any time you find yourself having serious problems, seek help at the Psychological Counseling Services Office.

If you need further information, please contact Psychological Counseling Services by telephone at (304) 788-6976 or simply stop by the office located on the base floor of the Health Center.