5 Challenges Adults Face When Continuing Education
ALICIA LAPERUTA | July 8, 2019
College campuses of today don’t have the same environment as they did several decades ago. You won’t just see the usual types of students populating the grounds of these educational institutions. The National Center for Education Statistics shows that adult learners – aged 25 or older – make up about a third of college-goers. Some colleges even advertise to that demographic. You can expect adult learners to make up 70-80 percent of their student population!
Each year, more of the so-called non-traditional students join universities and colleges. If the enrollment rates keep increasing, we may see colleges dedicated to adult learning in the coming years. But until then, adult learners face certain challenges when aiming for postsecondary education.
Are you one too? Do you intend to become an adult learner? If the thought of facing those issues is stopping you, don’t let it do so anymore! We present the commonly faced problems and their solutions to you:
Challenge #1: Financing Education
Adulthood brings on greater financial responsibility if nothing else. While you’d expect an adult learner to be financially independent, they also spend their wages on fulfilling various obligations. From the expense of commuting to and from work to paying for their kids’ studies, they have a lot of commitments to keep. In such situations, having to finance their education could become an additional burden for them.
We pose two solutions to this problem. Firstly, enrolling at an online school can reduce the cost. Secondly, there are other ways of financial aid.
Challenge #2: Balancing Responsibilities and Education
Postsecondary students know that going back to their studies will take out a huge chunk of their already limited time! They will have to factor in the time they spend commuting to class and coming back, doing their assignments, in class, etc.
Would it even be possible for most adult learners to pursue their education while also working full time? Many of them have familial obligations. In the end, the stress mounting on their shoulders can put them off studies. The solutions are degree programs and diploma courses they can enroll in online. Many courses of this sort are based on study-at-your-convenience timelines. So, it may take you a little more time but finish your studies you will!
You can also take your loved ones in the loop. Ask family members to pitch in some time, such as babysitting your kids while you are studying or taking a class. A supportive network is what you need.
Find a Program for You
Challenge #3: Mindset
Being an adult learner isn’t an easy job. You likely won’t just be worrying about meeting the expenses. You may also face a much greater enemy: self-doubt. Many postsecondary students will give up on their dream because of this feeling. As an adult, we expect ourselves to have all the answers. But returning to school can challenge that way of thinking. Am I really going down this road again, you could be asking yourself?
When doubts plague you, turn to your friends. Sit down for a spell with your loved ones. They can offer you the support you need in such moments. Many colleges also offer counseling as part of their services. Why not pay the school counselor a visit? They may have some affirming exercises that could help you.
Challenge #4: New Technology
Technological advances are great for society as a whole. But for postsecondary students who are already re-learning most things, it can be challenging. Your professor might ask you to submit your assignment online, use various software, or expect you to use the internet for research. It could have you feeling out-of-sorts or out of your depth.
But consider the other side of the technological picture. Even your current workplace keeps making changes based on technology. If you are associated with a specific field that is more dependent on technology, learning the ropes will only help. So, dig in deep, and get to work!
Challenge #5: Inability to Relate
To you, sitting in class with students who are half your age – or at least, much younger – may seem less fun. They could be quicker to answer than you are. Or they may grasp the new concepts with much more ease than you can. At some point, this could begin stressing you out. Don’t give up. You may think you can’t relate to their experiences. But you can form a connection if you work at it.
In fact, with diversity of age, a classroom can become an increasingly richer and more effective learning environment. Just as belonging to diverse backgrounds makes the world more interesting, so will this work in your favor. Reach out and make friends.
Adult learning is challenging, and there’s no denying that. But it can become much more interesting with the right choices, such as your selection of college!
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