Going Back to College
College advice: Calling mature students! Our going back to college advice will help you return to further education, all smiles and no tears.
Going back to college – break a big task down into little ones
Going back to further education is a huge undertaking – and at first can seem pretty impossible. It’s not. The way to deal with any seemingly vast task is to break it down into little chunks. If you really want to go back to college, it can be done.
I went back to college myself. It was something I really wanted to do, but I had loads of questions – could I cope with college fees? Would I still be physically capable of studying? Would I make any friends at college, or would they be shy of mature students?
Why go back to college?
My reasons for returning to further education were twofold. I wanted to study something I actually enjoyed and I also wanted recognition for my skills.
Other mature students go back to better there job prospects, to change thier career paths or to take some time out and chill. There are a thousand and one different reasons and yours are just as important as any others.
Before you throw your letter of resignation at your boss and prepare yourself for the glories of a student life of late nights and hangovers, consider the following.
There are obvious financial issues that come with full time study. If you’re going back to university, a student loan will help cover most of these costs. For those going back to college or further education it can seem like there is no help out there. But there is! There is a loan for non-university students and you can borrow upto £10k to cover your costs while you’re on the course. There are also grants, scholorships and all sorts of money-giving people that can help you get through.
Your study skills will not be what they were when you first left school, but don’t worry. If you’ve been working or doing other crazy and interesting things, you will have still picked up skills that can benefit you. You may have more confidence when talking to your lecturers, or better time management to help with getting things done. If you apply what you already know, your tutors will be there to help with the rest.
A lot of ‘mature’ students get nervous about spending time with people who could be five or ten years younger than them. They soon realise it’s not a problem. Age is case of mind over matter if you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter!
Get stuck in and have a laugh. You might find that people come to you for help and advice or expect you to become the voice of reason because you’re a bit older. You don’t have to be anything to anyone if you don’t want to be. Just make sure you have some fun while you’re there!
Use college to discover yourself
Take the opportunity to find yourself again. Get back to your roots, your style, your beliefs. You will be free of uniforms and dress codes and surrounded by open-minded people who are also trying to find themselves. The judgement passed at college and uni is superficial and there is no better excuse than leaving your office job to don those New Rocks that have been gathering dust for two years.
It will get tough. Drop-out numbers usually increase in November, February and April. Just because you’re a mature student, going back to college doesn’t mean you get a ‘get out of jail free’ card when it comes to exams and deadlines. Be aware of these times and try to keep everything together. Meet your deadlines! Stress is the main reason you could fall behind and it is completly avoidable.
Going back to college could be one of the best decisions you will ever make. It will improve job prospects, give you proof of your skills to wave at your employers and can teach you new things along the way.
Think about your college fees beforehand. Control your finances.