forward back
Jun 10, 2015

Ways to Make Sure You’re Prepared for Classes

Ways to Make Sure You’re Prepared for Classes

You've decided to improve your life and go back to school as a working adult. Congratulations! Now that you're a busy adult with obligations, you can't just go to class and assume that everything will work itself out. To get the most out of your adult education, take responsibility for your schooling and make a plan to succeed.

Organize YourselfiStock_000064946623_Full.jpg
When you went to high school, your day was organized for you. Your school day was mapped out, you didn't have to worry about how to pay for everything, and the most difficult decision you had to make was what to have for lunch. As an adult learner, however, you need to take charge of your own organization. You'll have multiple deadlines to juggle, from class assignments to financial aid applications, and your work responsibilities will need some attention as well. Whether you prefer paper planners or smartphone apps, it's absolutely essential to take steps to keep all of your obligations under control. Organization can also help you keep your class notes in order and separate from the rest of your life. You won't be amused if you spend all night studying for a class, only to find out that the last page of your notes has been replaced with a grocery list!

Create a Study
Trying to read and finish classwork while your spouse watches reality shows is a losing proposition. Find a quiet spot in your home that you can turn into your workspace. Stock it with everything that you need for your studies, including comfortable chairs, lighting and a computer. If it has a door so that you can muffle the noises of everyday life from the rest of your family, so much the better. If your home doesn't offer a secret space that you can turn into a study, you can hide out in your local library or coffee shop to find a quiet space to study.

Research Financial Aid
If you need financial assistance to pay for your schooling, start researching what you need to do before school starts. Reading information on the Institute of Technology's website can help you get started on your paperwork. If you need more assistance, a friendly faculty member will be happy to help you.

Prepare Your Devices
If you plan to use a smartphone or tablet to help with your classes, load it with some helpful apps before the first day of class. Basic office software, such as a word processing program, can give you a more powerful writing environment than your smartphone's basic note app. You can also use a variety of specialized note-taking programs to help you visually organize your class notes, and virtual flash cards can help you study for tests. Recording apps can be useful if you're a slow writer; recording your lectures will allow you compose your notes at home at your own pace.

Plan Your Transportation
Create a transportation plan ahead of time so that you'll be ready for your classes. If you have a car, research parking and travel routes, including alternate routes in case of traffic or construction. If you don't have a car, find out if public transportation will be an option for you. You may be able to come up with some carpooling options with other students as well.

Adjust Your Life Away from School
If you work full-time, you may need to tweak your work schedule to better fit your class load. Work with your employer early to adjust your schedule. If you have children, research childcare before classes start. Don't simply assume that grandma will be happy to watch your kids for hours every day; make sure that your children will be taken care of while you're studying, even if you have to put them in professional childcare.