Guest Blogger - Carleen Moore
Many people decide to continue their education as adults, which can lead to expanded career opportunities and increase their earning potential. It can also be challenging when you're working at a job and/or raising children. Brandy Over 40 explains that a bit of pre-planning and foresight can help make this a smooth sail.
Making the Decision to become an Adult Student
What is driving you to continue your education? Is it because you want to start off on a new career path, launch a business, or increase your skills in your current role that will allow you to be more effective, earn more, or vie for management positions? Once you decide your motivation, you can start looking at different programs that will suit your needs. You'll also want to ensure you're looking for a college or university that is accredited and offers competitive tuition rates. Having an online option can also be incredibly beneficial, particularly if you have other personal and professional obligations.
Going the Professional Development Route
You should also consider completing a professional development course instead of going for a degree. This makes the most sense if you have experience in a specific field. This can also be completed online. For example, if you're knowledgeable in healthcare concepts, you can check out the best online medical coding courses for medical billing. This can kick start your medical coding career as you learn how to assign the correct codes and correctly identify medical procedures and services claims. At the end of the course, you can take an assessment to validate your skills.
If it's been a while since you've been in school, things have changed significantly. Even if you aren't taking a fully online program, there are still a number of components that will need to be submitted online, so according to Education Week, you'll need to bring yourself up to speed on whatever type of software programs your school utilizes. You may also have requirements for the type of computer and camera you'll need to complete assignments and participate in group work. A private workspace will also be essential, so if you’re able to carve out a portion of your home and use it as a study space, preferably a room with a closed door, you'll be well-positioned for success.
Managing Your Time
ThriveMyWay points out that managing your time will help ensure that you are getting the most out of your education while still not dropping the ball on other personal or professional responsibilities. Consider apps that help you schedule and manage time. Carve out blocks of time where you're working with focus, and if you’re in a classroom setting, consider arriving early or staying late so you can utilize the campus library and other tools without being interrupted. Your family should understand what you're doing, why you're doing it, and what you need from them in terms of additional assistance around the home, or even by giving you the time and space to study as necessary.
Starting a Business?
Many people decide to advance their education with the goal of starting a business. If this is in your plans, you’ll want to start with creating a business and marketing strategy and forming an LLC, or limited liability company, or another appropriate business structure. An LLC provides limited liability, tax advantages, more flexibility, and less paperwork. You can pay an attorney to do this work for you, file yourself, or use a formation service to handle the details. States have different regulations around forming an LLC, so learn about your state’s rules before proceeding.
Institute Self Care Measures
Balancing a career, family, and continuing education can be overwhelming, but hopefully this has helped you to see that you can become an adult student and succeed. You may feel tired, pulled in numerous directions, and potentially even be subject to depression and anxiety. Make sure you’re practicing healthy self-care during this time. Get adequate rest, eat well, exercise on a regular basis, and resist the urge to run on caffeine and energy drinks. Also, take advantage of your college’s resources, whether it’s tutoring, time management, mental healthcare, or long-term career planning.
In addition to the logistics of starting a new educational program, there's also the cost to consider. Check into different loans and scholarships that are specifically focused on adult continuing education. This may allow you to offset or reduce your tuition obligation. Fortunately, online options that lead to completion of credits for professional development courses or a degree are much more affordable (and convenient) than traditional campus classes.
Brandy Over 40 is a midlife blog covering everything from travel and health to self-improvement and business. Read more informative articles today!