Non-Traditional Students: 3 Tips for Academic Success

Earning a degree can be challenging for anyone, but for the most part, traditional college students have it pretty good. They typically do not have to work—maybe a very part-time job at best — and have few other responsibilities besides their studies. Non-traditional students, however, can have a much tougher road. A lot of responsibilities are competing for your time, such as full-time jobs and children; getting back into the groove of school after being away for so long can be difficult. But people do it successfully all the time, which means you can too. Here are some tips to make the journey to your diploma a bit easier.

Get Clear on Your ‘’Why’’

Remembering why we want the things we want is a powerful motivator, especially during those times when we just want to give up, or are feeling totally overwhelmed. If you have decided to take on the expense and time commitment of getting your degree, amongst all the other things going on in your life, you must have a really good reason why. Maybe you want a better life for your kids. Maybe you are hoping to get a job in a field you really love. Maybe you just want to make more money so you can enjoy a better quality of life. Whatever your reasons are, it is important you know why you want to pursue education. Dig deep to discover your core values and what is really important to you in life. People who are truly living their dreams are the type of people who have already determined their reasoning. Once you uncover this information about yourself, you cannot imagine living any other life. When you have a strong reason and motivation, you will find you complete your studies with greater ease and feel less stress; you will find a way to make things work.

Schedule and Organize

It is easy to feel like we never have enough time, and when you throw going back to school in the mix, we can feel even more of a crunch. While there is no doubt many of us lead truly busy lives, the true issue is really not lack of time, but the fact that we use this precious commodity poorly. I find that many people’s ‘’hectic’’ lives include plenty of time watching TV and surfing the internet. If you want to get everything done that you need to get done, you need to work on making a schedule and getting more organized. If you are simply planning your day in your head, you will be doomed. The simple act of writing out a schedule or a to-do list can literally change your life—I speak from experience on this one. This creates order and greater order leads to better use of time. Write out your schedule for the week in 30 minute chunks of time and you will be amazed at how much time you really have to do your school work with a bit of organization.

Be Willing to Shift Priorities

When you add going back to school to an already overflowing plate, it may be time to examine priorities and see where you can make some changes. If you are finding it difficult to keep up with your studies because you insist on cleaning the whole house from top to bottom every day, you need to ask yourself what is more important—getting a good grade on your next test or making sure the carpets are vacuumed daily? If you take a good look at your daily routine, you will find that a lot of the things you feel you ‘’have to’’ do are simply that way because you decided it so, not because they must actually be done.
About the Author: Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who enjoys sharing tips on how to find balance between your studies and the rest of your life; if you are interested in getting your degree online, check out the variety of offerings now available such as the internet marketing MBA or the finance MBA.