Deciding to Enter or Return to College

Adult learners have a different approach to learning. Adults are most likely responsible for their own success and are capable of making decisions once they have the information they need. Most adult learners are women, aged 25-69. Adults are the fastest growing educational demographic. They may have stopped their college education because of military issues, marriage, starting a family, job and family responsibilities, divorce. They seek re-careering options, personal enrichment and job credibility, to be a role model, and make more money. Malcolm Knowles, a pioneer in adult learning, observed that adults learn best when they know why something is important. Below is a list of resources that may help you on your journey of continuing education.

Recommended Books

  • The Adult Student's Guide to Survival and Success, 6th Edition by Al Siebert, Ph.D and Mary Karr, M. S.
  • New Beginnings: A guide for Adult Learners and Returning Students by Linda Simon.
  • Newer Too Late to Learn: An Adult Student's Guide to College by Vicky Phillips.
  • How to Earn a College Degree When You Think You are Too Old, Too Busy, Too Broke and Too Scared by E. Faith Ivery, Ed.D.

For Veterans

Tips for Succeeding

  • Don't be intimidated by your professors. E-mail them and contact them in a way they tell you to. They really are there to assist you.
  • This University offers tutoring, counseling, academic advising and career advisement. Use these services. You know how much each of those services cost in the real world - here they are part of the package.
  • Introduce yourself to the staff at the libraries. They have all sorts of information on everything! The Bartle Library Information desk is now my to-to place for anything I might be wondering.
  • If you have a break between classes, find the Commuter Lounge and the Memorial Courtyard. They are great places to relax for a few minutes.
  • Say hello to other Non-Traditional students. It can be intimidating sitting in a classroom where you are the only or one of a few adult students.
  • Check out the B-Line, it isn't just for campus residents. There are a lot of events and lectures that allow you to network with the faculty.
  • Stop lugging your laptop around! Check out the PODS or borrow a laptop from the library. I carry a thumbdrive or USB.
  • Be proud of yourself! It is really difficult to go back to school, and you are balancing school, work or family as well as your day to day life. Give yourself a pat on the back!
  • See the Non-Traditional Student Blog.

Attitude is everything! We are here because we want to learn new information and skills, to become better equipped for life. Success is often a choice we make.  Make your education count. Decide you will be open to learning; open to new ideas; open to fully engaging with the information, professor, and students. When here, as well as required classes and topics of interest, select one or two classes in subjects you know nothing about. Get outside of your comfort zone in learning.  Choose to have a positive attitude. It really is your decision in whether you have a positive or negative experience. We have a tremendous opportunity that very few people get, just by being Binghamton University students. We are investing money and time, so  make it count. Gain everything you can gain while you are here.

Take time to rest and play. If all you do is read and create papers, life is passing you by, and you will quickly crash and burn. Life has to contain moments of fun, enjoyment and love also. Obviously the week before the major project is due is not the time to go on vacation - unless your project is completed and you are celebrating. But working every day 10-12 hours a day is also not good. Take a break now and then from studying. Get up, stretch, move around. Get enough sleep.  Try to take one day a week to not do schoolwork or employment duties. Take time to enjoy life!

Last Updated: 6/17/14