Two out of three high school students graduate with a diploma and move on to a four-year college, but this isn’t the path everyone chooses. One in 20 students don’t even graduate, although nearly half of high-school dropouts do eventually attend college. Whether you didn’t finish high school, immediately entered the workforce or started a family right after graduation, here’s what you need to know about going back to school after taking time off.
Adjust Your Lifestyle for College Success
The college experience is geared toward students fresh from high school who can focus a lot of energy on their studies. This is harder for people who’ve taken a break and need to care for a family or work full-time while taking classes.
Prepare for a return to school with a lifestyle adjustment. This may mean downsizing or moving back in with family for a time to keep expenses low. For many, it will mean giving up hobbies or entertainment for the short-term, knowing the benefits of a college degree will pay off.
Ease Into the College Lifestyle
Recent high school graduates often get thrust into college life with a welcome week, orientation and dorm activities. For non-traditional students, things will be a little different. It might even feel like the system has left these students to figure things out on their own. Consider easing into the college lifestyle to avoid a major shock to your system.
1 Take a single class during the first semester to reorient yourself to studying and campus life.
2 Join a study skill support group or class to learn an important skill for academic success.
3 Meet with an admissions counselor who helps non-traditional students manage their schedules while balancing a job and family.
4 Make friends in class and taking time to get together for studying outside of class hours.
Be Gracious When Things Are Difficult
Returning to school after taking time off may not be easy. It’s important to head into the experience understanding that it will take time to adjust to being a student again. When things get difficult, whether that means less-than-perfect grades or struggling to balance your responsibilities, be gracious with yourself! Learn from your mistakes and get back to work.
This is a big change that will teach you so much more than what is in class textbooks. Whether you never finished high school or needed some time after graduating to find your way to college, the transition back into student life can take some time. Be patient with yourself and ease your way back into student life. You’ve got this!
~Here’s to Your Success!
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