8 Tips for Adults Going Back to College

By Shannon Gurnee
In College
January 10, 2021
1 Comment

Today, on Redhead Mom, I’m sharing a partnered blog post about 8 Tips for Adults Going Back to College.

Hand typing on laptop with books

I graduated from high school in 1997. I graduated from college with my Bachelor’s Degree in 2002. I was a stay-at-home mom, owned my own business, and have made the decision to go back to school to become an Elementary School Teacher. It’s been quite some time since I’ve had college classes and I was both excited and nervous about heading back to college. With the COVID-19 pandemic, college courses (as well as many other grade levels) throughout the nation have been changed to a digital means. It is definitely a bit different than sitting in a lecture hall for classes (I’ve already done that), but it is what it is at this point. For my classes, the majority of them are online anyways, with hours of reading and completing assignments throughout the week, accompanied by a weekly meeting for lecture with the professor and other students through Zoom.

I am so happy about the decision I made to go back to college to earn my Master’s Degree in Elementary Education and Teaching Credential. I’m also super thankful to have a supportive husband and family who are there to cheer me on throughout the process. Jumping in and going back to college in my 40s might seem cut and dry, but there was definitely some preparation involved in the process. Here are some of my tips for adults who may consider going back to college.

1 – Apply – As soon as you know that you want to go back to college, fill out an application for the college you want to attend. You may need to order transcripts from high school and/or colleges you attended previously to submit with your application. You may also need to submit proof of test scores. I had to prove that I passed the CBEST test and then had a date where I need to have the CSET passed. I also had to provide letters of recommendation to the college I am attending.

2 – School Counselor – As soon as you know what college you would like to attend, set up an appointment to meet with a school counselor. With the pandemic, it’s likely to be on Zoom. Have a list of questions prepared that you have for the counselor and your college education plan. I met with my school counselor on my laptop in the comfort of my own home. It was pretty cool!

3 – Have a goal – What do you want to major in? Are you looking to get a certificate or credential? Set a date for when tests will be passed or your educational goal will be completed. The school counselor can also assist you with this.

4 – Financial – As soon as you know you’d like to start college classes, be sure to go online and fill out the FAFSA form. This will let you know if you qualify for financial aid or student loans for your tuition, fees, books and supplies for your college classes. I did it quickly and easily in the comfort of my home.

5 – Classes – Once you have a major or educational goal selected, take some time to check out the classes you’ll be taking, as well as any prerequisites you may need to complete before enrolling in classes. Visit sites like https://www.calc.edu/ to see the programs and classes they offer.

5 – Books – Once you’ve registered for your classes, find out what books or materials are needed for the class. Do NOT leave ordering your books and materials to the last minute. Consider that there may be delays in shipping of the books or materials, or that you may run into the issues of shortages. I found a number of my books on both Amazon and eBay. I have NOT purchased any of my books directly from the college bookstore. If you don’t buy directly from the bookstore, be sure that you order the books with the same ISBN numbers. You don’t want to show up with the wrong book.

6 – Computer – If you are taking classes from home, it is super important to have a laptop or desktop computer you can work on. With the pandemic, it may prove to be very difficult to access public computers. Having your own computer will make it easy to complete assignments and attend your virtual classes online.

7 – Make connections – As I have been taking my teaching classes, I have noticed a few students who are taking the same classes. Honestly, it’s really nice to see a friendly face that you recognize when starting a new class. Be friendly and participate when you have breakout sessions with your classmates. If working on projects together, make sure that you exchange phone numbers and email addresses. Enjoy the new connections you’ve just made in your classes.

8 – Keep a positive attitude – While it can be exciting to have an educational goal, it can also be frustrating and stressful at times. Remember to look at the picture and what you are working for. It will all be worth it. Enjoy your college experience as an adult and do the best you can. Remember, YOU CAN DO THIS!!

What additional tips do you have for an adult going back to college?


About Has 2240 Posts

Shannon Gurnee is the author of Redhead Mom formerly "The Mommy-Files", a national blog with a loyal following. She has a Bachelor's Degree in Marriage, Family, and Human Development with a Minor in Business Management. Shannon and her husband, Frank, have a large family with 6 awesome kids and love living on the Central Coast near San Luis Obispo, California, as well as traveling around the world. A full-time Social Media and Professional Blogger, Shannon also serves as a National Brand Ambassador for many well-known companies. Her blog focuses on motherhood, family fun activities, traveling, fashion, beauty, technology, wedding ideas and recipes while providing professional opinions on products, performances, restaurants, and a variety of businesses.

One Response to “8 Tips for Adults Going Back to College”

  1. monique s says:

    Great tips. There is so much to consider in going to school as an adult vs. as a kid with households to manage.

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