By: Deb Peterson, Continuing Education Expert

1. Get Financial Help

Unless you’ve won the lottery, money is an issue for almost everyone going back to school. Remember that scholarships aren’t just for young students. Many are available for older students, working moms, non-traditional students of all kinds. Search online for scholarships, including FAFSA (Federal Student AID).

2. Balance Work, Family, and School

You have a full life already. For most college kids, going to school is their job. You may very well have a full-time job plus a relationship, children, and home to care for. You’re going to have to manage your study time if you’re adding school to your already busy schedule. 

Choose the hours that make the most sense for you (Early morning? Noon? After dinner?) and mark them in your datebook or planner. You now have a date with yourself. When something comes up during those hours, stay strong, politely decline, and keep your date to study.

3. Manage Test Anxiety

No matter how hard you’ve studied, tests can be stressful. There are lots of ways to manage your anxiety, assuming you’re prepared, of course, which is the first way to reduce test stress. Resist the urge to cram right up to test time. Your brain will function more clearly if you.

4. Get Your Forty Winks

One of the important things you can do when learning is to sleep! Not only do you need energy and revitalization that sleep provides, before a test, your brain needs sleep to catalog learnings. Studies have shown that people who sleep between learning and testing score much higher than those who haven’t slept. Get your forty winks before testing and you’ll do much better.

5. Find a Support System

So many non-traditional students are going back to school that many schools have websites or organizations set up to support you.

  • Get online and search for “non-traditional students”
  • Stop at your school’s front office and aske if they have help in place for non-traditional students
  • Introduce yourself to other students like yourself and support each other

Don’t be shy. Get involved. Almost every non-traditional student has some of the same concerns you do.