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Walden News // Aug 18, 2011

10 Tips for Working Adults Returning to School

For many working adults, the decision to return to school and pursue an advanced degree is an opportunity to refocus their career, enhance their skill set and increase their earning power. It is also a decision that will affect their family and other personal commitments. Online higher education is a flexible solution for working adults who want to earn their degree without compromising work or family responsibilities.

Walden University students and alumni offer the following tips for a successful online learning experience:

  1. Involve your family in your success. Be open about what it is you hope to achieve and how your education can benefit everyone. Your family will be that much more excited to support your dream if they are a part of the journey.
  2. Document your goals. There will always be reasons not to go back to school: family, work, social commitments, etc. Write out your short- and long-term goals and sign the document. Ask friends, family members, and/or your employer to review and sign off on your goals to ensure their support, provide you with motivation and help you stay focused.
  3. Plan time to do your coursework and set a schedule. Going back to school is a priority equal to family and work responsibilities. Online learners should establish a weekly plan for when they will log into the classroom, participate in the discussion posts and complete other assignments.
  4. Find a quiet place to study, away from excess noise and distractions. Coursework requires discipline and time management in order to meet the requirements of the program. Be sure to identify a time and place where you can concentrate and maximize your productivity.
  5. Take a laptop or download coursework to a smartphone or MP3 player anytime you head out the door. Whether commuting to and from work on public transportation or waiting for your child’s sports game to start, little blocks of time can provide you with an opportunity to work on readings and assignments.
  6. Know what resources are available. You can save time and enhance your learning experience by utilizing resources such as Walden’s Writing Center, library and student-support staff.
  7. Form online study groups with classmates. Form study groups as early as possible in your program and establish peer relationships for studying, developing papers, answering homework assignments, etc.
  8. Build relationships. Take advantage of the opportunities to establish long-term, continuous relationships with classmates and faculty members. These connections may prove beneficial and rewarding long after the term is over—and even after you have completed your studies.
  9. Establish your priorities. Take a page from best-selling author Suzy Welch and evaluate every situation as to how it will impact the next 10 minutes, 10 months or 10 years and prioritize accordingly.
  10. Reward yourself. Take time for yourself as part of your routine. It is important to schedule time between your studies to maintain balance and renew your energy.

For assistance in deciding which online degree program fits your goals, request information or speak with an Enrollment Specialist by calling 1-866-492-5336.