6 Survival Tips for Going Back to College

man studying on computer

Going back to school as an adult can be very exciting yet overwhelming at the same time. Taking the leap to continue your education brings on a lot of new challenges. However, if you’re prepared, you can easily overcome any obstacle that stands in your way.

To make the transition back to school as smooth as possible, try using this checklist to ensure that you’re prepared and ready to return to class. Let’s take a closer look at six survival tips for going back to college.

Gather Information

Before you start a new endeavor, it’s important to gather as much information as possible. Going back to college is no different. Before you start your first day of class, you’ll want to make sure that you’re setting yourself up for success.

Speaking with a college advisor is one of the easiest and quickest ways to gather information before heading back to school. Advisors are prepared to assist you with questions pertaining to financial aid, transfer credits, high school and college transcripts, life experience credits, military benefits, entrance requirements, classroom experience, and they can also walk you through the application process once you’ve decided to make the leap.

Reach out to the school in which you’re interested, and provide them with your information. Many schools prefer this approach because it allows prospective students to be quickly contacted by a school representative.

Budget Accordingly

College is an investment in your future, but in order for you to see any return on that investment, you’ll need to contribute. As a college student, one of the ways you’ll be contributing to your investment is through your tuition.

As you begin to structure your financial options, it’s important also to create a household budget to help reallocate your expenses to include your college tuition. Start by writing down your monthly expenses and see if you can find any “money wasters.” For example, eating out at restaurants, buying new stereo equipment, or even your daily trip to the coffee shop could all be considered money wasters. Try cutting back on things that you don’t truly need and save that money for your education.

Refresh Your Skills

It has probably been a while since you’ve opened a textbook or written a research paper. Going back to college will draw upon a lot of skills that you haven’t used in a while. That’s why it’s important to brush up on your student skills before returning to school.

Time management, study sessions, assignment deadlines, and classroom etiquette are all things that you’ll be faced with when you return to school. Do your best to prepare for these situations and maybe even practice a few before your first day in the classroom.

Organize a Study Space

A cluttered desk is a cluttered mind, so they say. As you begin your transition into the life of a student, it’s imperative that you create a study space where you can be free from major distractions. It’s best to find a place that is clean, quiet, and organized.

Your study space could be a room in your house, a corner in the library, or a peaceful setting outdoors. Wherever you decide to organize your study space, be sure it’s in a place where you can dedicate your attention to your coursework. This designation can potentially increase your success with future assignments.

Create a Schedule and Stick to It

Time management will play a big role in your success as a college student, especially if you’re returning after a long break. One way to make the transition back into the classroom easier is to create a schedule. Take a look at your calendar and block out specific time periods to dedicate toward your coursework.

It’s also a good idea to let your family know that your schedule will be changing. Discuss how this change will affect everyone else and try to develop a schedule that fits best with the entire family. Once everyone is on the same page, sticking to your new schedule will be much easier.

Ask for Help

Don’t be afraid to seek assistance if you ever find yourself confused. Returning to college can present new and foreign experiences. It’s totally normal to not understand things completely the first time you experience them. But you shouldn’t feel apprehensive about reaching out whenever you need help.

Be aware of your resources when you return to college. Once you know where to find help, you’ll be more inclined to use that support system. This support may come in the form of a college advisor, a specific department, or a professor within the classroom. Just know that you can always ask for help if you need it.


Written by Ben Cummings, Digital Marketing Specialist for Bridgepoint Education.

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Are you currently a licensed RN?

This program requires you to be a current licensed registered nurse. Please check out other programs to reach your education goals such as the BA in Health and Wellness.