Study Tips for Older Students

While college was once a place for brand-new high graduates eager to get on with their education and enter the real world, it has drastically evolved over the last two decades. No longer is college only for the young and the optimistic. College is now for adults who are looking to further their education and their career. There are colleges that offer online courses to fit in with busy lifestyles, and even colleges dedicated solely to the older college crowd.

Unlike 'traditional' college students, however, older students may find it increasingly hard to fit their studying into their daily lives. With full-time jobs, children, and a house to keep up with, not to mention other social obligations outside the home, studying can often get pushed to the side. Practicing these study methods for older students will help you get your education on the right track:

Dedicate Some Time Specifically To Studying

It can be hard to find time to study with a job and a family to worry about, but you need to dedicate some time to your homework every week. The general rule for studying is one hour of study time for every hour of class. If you have two three-hour classes that meet twice a week, that's 12 hours of study time you need to fit in somewhere. Obviously, you can cut back a bit if necessary, but you should still block out your calendar on the weekends and in the evenings to allow at least an hour of study time a week for every course you are taking.

Invest In a Laptop

You are going to need a computer to get through college, especially if you are taking only online classes. Choosing a laptop over a stationary PC can really help you fit studying into your schedule. You can do your homework while sitting through football practice, squeeze in some study time during your lunch break, and sit down with your computer anytime you have a spare moment. Since your laptop is portable it can go with you to class, which will make taking notes that much easier.

Start Small and Work Your Way Up

When you are first starting college after being out of school for an extended period of time, you need to give yourself some leeway. Start your first semester with just one class, and as your studying skills improve, you can take additional classes with each continuing semester. If you take a break through the summer, start over with just one class again in the fall, until you're ready to move up. If you have a need to finish your education sooner, it's always better to take less classes over more semesters, by picking up a class or two over winter break and summer sessions, than it is to cram too many credits into one semester.

College is very demanding, and in order to succeed, you will need to be able to focus at least a few hours a week on your studying to do well. Remove the kids, the house, and any other responsibilities during your study sessions for the best results, and remember not to overload yourself with too many classes. It's better to take longer completing your education and to do well, than it is to take on too much and become overwhelmed.

author: Melissa Nykorchuk

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