October 21, 2018

5 Tips for Working Adults Going Back to School

The internet is full of memes that 20-something college kids share when they feel overwhelmed, trying to balance homework, part-time jobs and their social lives. (Totally fair and funny.) Working adults who go back to earn their degrees work all day and often have to maintain a household and raise human beings. We compiled our top tips for adults who want to make it happen.


  1. Explain what you’re doing and why you’re doing it to your kids.

Or at least try to. “I have a toddler who doesn’t understand that attending school will be better for our family in the future,” said Jamie Smith, a financial aid advisor and technology forensics student at UAT. Use examples that they can understand, such as comparing you going back to school to your kid doing chores for an entire year to save up for a new bike.


  1. Ask for help.

Make it a team effort. When Kathy Newallis, a logistics and warehouse manager (and my mom), went back to school, she had not taken a math class in more than 10 years. My stepdad helped her get through algebra, quizzed her and edited her papers. I did more dishes. If you don’t have a supportive partner, older children or other family members who can help out, then find a friend or peer whom you can at least vent to.

Befriend the career services team on day one. Your student and financial aid advisors want to help you too. Meet with a tutor. And remember to communicate with your professors.


  1. Create a plan and stick to it.

Especially with the little ones. “They are going to want to stay up with you and will demand your weekend attention,” Smith said. Here’s how she does it: “I spend time with my family until 8:30 pm on weekdays, and then bath time and bedtime by 9. I work on homework until about 11:30. On the weekends, I do housework first thing to get it out of the way, take my toddler out to the park or somewhere to wear out some energy. Then I work on homework during nap time and again after bedtime.”


  1. Make the most of your lunch break.

Can you claim a quiet place at the office where you can consistently bunker down during lunch to crush out some homework? Everyone knows where they can find Jamie at noon!


  1. Get involved. But choose wisely.

If you just go to class and do the homework, then you’re missing out on some of the best benefits of going to college. Anime club probably isn’t worth your time, but organizations such as ISACA have invaluable resources for students, including networking opportunities, certification prep and access to research and white papers.

When professionals take the time to come to campus, for a lunch & learn or seminar, they want to connect with, mentor and hire students. These events present excellent opportunities to form relationships with influencers who can help further your career. And a lot of them prefer candidates with real-world work experience. For example, Damian Chung, the Director of Cybersecurity Engineering and Development at Dignity Health, has hired multiple interns who have 20+ years of experience in the military and other industries such as auto and finance. (Then he offered them full-time jobs!)

Are you ready to advance your career, your life and your family’s future by earning a top-notch technology degree? You can find more information on applying to the University of Advancing Technology here.


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