Tips for adults returning to college

Manage Your Time

Adult students may want to dive in and take two or three night classes a week, in addition to working full-time and managing family obligations. Keep in mind, there are only 168 hours in a week. For a college class, figure two to three hours outside of class for every hour spent in class. That number will increase for online classes. For one three credit hour class, that means six to nine hours on your own. Figure your schedule and how much time you have to contribute, then plan accordingly.


Be flexible and organized. Utilize a calendar, whether on a computer, an app on your phone, or a written calendar, to block out time for class, homework, family, work, shopping and more. Also, plan long-term; knowing what classload fits with your work and personal life, how long will it take you to reach your degree? Jackson College’s JetStream software can also help in planning.

While it may take a little longer to reach your goals as an adult with other commitments and priorities, you will still reach your goal!

Fitting in?

Adults returning to college can be considered about “fitting in” with younger, “traditional” college students. However, the reality is, today so many adults are returning to college that they can’t be considered “non-traditional” – they are more lifelong learners, something very important in today’s constantly changing economy. At Jackson College, 33 percent of students are aged 25 and over. You definitely won’t be the only lifelong learner in your classes! The College offers flexible scheduling and a Child Care Center on Central Campus.

Embrace the experience

Don’t forget, you bring some important knowledge that you’ve learned along the way. Starting a new job, getting married, having a baby – all involved shifting priorities and planning. Going back to college is no different. Embrace the experience to learn and to improve yourself and your future. You’ve got this!

Change as needed

Plans may not work forever. Review your plans, schedule and commitments and adjust as needed. Tweak or overhaul as needed whenever your schedule or life circumstances change. If life events happen that may seem to derail your larger plans, be sure to speak with a student success navigator; they can help!