Planning For Success

Planning for a Successful Return to School

The prospect of returning to school, developing new skills and improving their ability to compete in the workplace is an exciting possibility for many returning adult students. Tempering that excitement is the reality of balancing new academic responsibilities against the continuing life responsibilities that adults face. Having a plan in place can help the adult who is returning to school to maximize his or her opportunity to have a successful academic experience.

Being motivated is a good start, but personal motivation alone is no guarantee to achieving your educational goals. Having the support of those around you is an important component of success.

Many adults returning to school face situational barriers such as the cost of education. Fortunately, the Union Education Trust Tuition Assistance Plan can help offset the cost by providing up to $3,500 per fiscal year. But there are other barriers that require consideration and planning.

Points to Consider

  • Is your family, spouse or partner supportive of your returning to school and prepared for the time that you will spend in class and studying? Have you talked through and planned for the amount of time that school will require?
  • Do you have a plan that will enable you to be a student and feel comfortable with your family obligations?
  • Childcare is a concern for many adults who are returning to school. Does the school have a program for children? Are there childcare facilities available in your neighborhood? Are there family members who could assist with your children?
  • Transportation must be reliable. Do you have a means of getting to class? Is public transportation available? If you plan to drive yourself, is there adequate parking and is it safe? Will the cost of driving and parking make going back to school too difficult? How long will your commute be? Is it realistic? Are there alternatives?
  • To be a successful student you need time to study and complete assignments. Have you put a realistic schedule together? Have you identified a place that minimizes interruptions? Will you have access to a library where you can do the research many courses require?

Increasing numbers of adults are returning to school and having success. The key is to be aware of the barriers and to have a plan in place to overcome them. Colleges and universities are becoming increasingly responsive to the needs of nontraditional-age students who work full time. Consider looking into any programs or assistance your school offers returning students.