Tips for Succeeding in College as an Older Student

Most normal kids fresh out of high carry on their legacy in a 2 or 4 year college to obtain the job of their dreams. If you are like me, you weren’t one of those kids. Tired of school and looking for adventure, I chose the military route and boy, has it served me well since my exit. 

The hardest part of coming home and applying for college was that I was 4 years behind my graduating class. I knew no one and my outlook on life had changed, but I knew I needed a degree. 

I am still currently a student but I wanted to share a few tips that helped me adjust and get past the difficulties you sometimes face in the classroom! 


1. Age and Maturity Difference

THE most difficult thing for me entering community college at the age of 22 was this. Our local community college is also host to the “Early College” so ages range from 14+ and holy cow, it makes a difference! I was past my immature ways and truly ready to learn while it seemed like everyone around me could have cared less. Play fights, spitballs (yes, that’s still a thing), endless texting, gossiping while the teacher talks, it is incredibly distracting and rude! So how do I cope with it? I moved to the front of the class, turned my phone off, and stayed involved. Basically, call me the teachers pet, but it’s worth it!


2. Catching Up

Unfortunately, most teachers expect you to start where you left off in high school. For instance, I took chemistry my junior year of high school 8 years ago. This semester I took the most basic chemistry course and my teacher expected me to remember what I learned way back when. IT WAS HARD. The only tip I have for this is to study extra and take notes. I would learn the lesson, then read the book on my own time, do the extra problems she would offer us, and google EVERYTHING. I passed with a B! It isn’t impossible, but it does require extra effort if you don’t have an insane memory


3. Get on Your Teachers Good Side

One of the worse things you can do is get on your teachers bad side. It is okay to voice your opinion, but I’ve been in classes where students have badmouthed and backtalked (again with the immaturity levels) teachers and it’s ended badly for the entire class. If you don’t like your teacher you can always see if your college offers online classes or has someone else that teaches the course. Most of the time if you participate, do your work, and show respect, it will get you far.


4. Making Friends

This can be very difficult but it is likely you will find at least one person in each class you can connect with. They don’t have to be your best friend and most of the time you never speak to them again after the course is over, but it’s good to have someone to have as a crutch in each class. Finding a friend helps when you are assigned group projects, have to check each others papers, or when you are lost and just need help, etc.


5. Find Your Learning Style

What I mean by this is, find what works for you to help you learn and study. Personally I am a note taker and a flash card freak and I can memorize an entire deck of flash cards in an hour or less. Writing and working out problems is what helps me to learn. If you are a visual person, hands-on person, a verbal person, find a way to apply that! 


This month I make the transition from Community College to University as I pursue my Business Degree online, but in the time I had to take physical classes I had to figure out how to look past the small annoyances and focus on my goal of being the first in my family to get a degree. 

It is not always easy being older in classes and it often has more disadvantages than not, but the end degree is worth it! I may be 25 and still in school but the end is in sight and for that I am so thankful! 



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