3 Strategies for Successfully Returning to School
Whether you’ve been out of school for just a few years or for decades, taking the plunge and committing to furthering your education is a big undertaking. Here are three useful strategies to help your return to college be as successful as possible.
Choose a Fast Path
Few things can be as daunting as completing a college degree, especially if you’re eager to put it to good use by getting back into the workforce as soon as you graduate. If that sounds like one of your concerns, then choosing an accelerated degree program may be a smart move to get you to the finish line faster.
Whether you seek an associate’s, bachelor’s, or master’s degree, many online universities have designed programs to help you achieve your goal in as little as half the time it would normally take. From criminal justice to nursing, there’s an accelerated path to graduation in almost any discipline. Just carefully assess your personal and work demands before committing to a fast-track program, so you have adequate time to devote to your studies without burning out.
Going slowly may sound contrary to the first strategy, but returning to school after a prolonged absence can be overwhelming if you dive in too quickly. It can also prove to be too great an imposition on your time, particularly if you have a family, plan to continue working, or want to maintain an active social life.
Rather than taking on more than you can handle and quickly running out of steam, starting slowly can give you time to adjust and create the right balance in your life. Take just one or two courses to get your feet wet, and look for an online university that offers flexible scheduling. If you find you’re easily keeping up with your coursework, you can always take more classes in subsequent semesters.
Create a Support System
It can be easy to doubt that your decision to return to school will be as beneficial as you hope, and even easier to question your choice if others around you don’t back you up. Be honest with your friends and family about what you want to accomplish, and let them know how important their support will be when it comes to achieving your goals.
If you’re the primary caregiver in your household, it’s also wise to have plans in place for those times when you’ll really need to buckle down. Whether it’s writing a paper or studying for final exams, getting a helping hand around the house to prepare meals or keep an eye on the kids can help you focus on your schoolwork when it’s crunch time.
A successful return to college can be much easier to accomplish if you strategize ahead of time. By evaluating how much, or how little, time you have available to devote to your studies and ensuring you’ve got support in place, you’ll be setting yourself up to do as well as possible when you go back to school.