Whether you’re preparing for a career change or simply seeking to expand your academic credentials, a return to study as an adult can be a transformative experience. You certainly won’t be on your own – more than half of students studying vocational course are over 25 years old. While many returning students of a mature age experience anxiety about re-entering the educational environment, there are a variety of tips and tricks to help you succeed in your studies.
Here are a few to get you started.
Create Good Study Routines…
While your life is undoubtedly more scheduled and complicated now than it was as a younger student, you still need to set up good study routines when possible. Regularity and consistency will improve your academic productivity, especially if you make use of study tips relied on by younger students.
…But Stay Flexible and Seek Support
While a routine is always ideal, don’t feel pressured to ignore your family, friend and work commitments. Staying flexible when it comes to competing priorities helps minimize family friction, and a strong support system at home and with friends is worth its weight in gold (and high marks).
Prioritise Studying When Necessary
You should receive a thorough schedule for every course you take, which will let you clear up space on your calendar for big events like exams and other significant deadlines. Stay flexible in your day-to-day, but always make sure that your family and friends understand when there’s a notable event coming up, and that you’ll need to set aside time to prepare for it accordingly.
Find a Study Buddy
Finding a partner who can study with you — or simply help you study — goes a long way. Whether it’s an adult friend, a fellow student, or even your own child engaged in their own coursework, having a buddy to run drills with and empathize with can boost both your confidence and your classroom performance.
Make the Most of Services Available to You
Returning adults are a firmly established phenomenon by now in tertiary education, and most universities and institutions have a variety of support services geared specifically toward older students. Whether it’s dedicated library services, counseling programs or simply after-class teacher consultations, always take advantage of the help that’s waiting for you on campus.
Remember Why You’re Studying
Take time to remind yourself why you returned to education, and what rewards you’ll reap come graduation. Whether it’s the fact that earnings are 23 percent higher for those with a tertiary education, or simply a drive to expand your pool of knowledge, always keep your objective in mind.
If you were the type of student who obsessed over perfection in your younger years, now’s the time to loosen your expectations a bit. A flawless grade average is not expected or required, and nobody’s going to be poring over your results once all is said and done. Of course, do you best but getting it done is the key. Remember that as a busy adult, “good enough” is often good, full stop.
Use TAFE to Meet Your Goals
A TAFE certificate, diploma or degree is a great way to get job-ready for new opportunities, especially as an adult. With flexible scheduling, a robust support network, small classes and the chance to learn invaluable practical skills, a TAFE course can ensure you reach your goals with room to spare.