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Returning to school as an adult can leave some students biting their nails from not knowing how they’ll fit in on campus. Worried about what to expect? We’ve got you covered. Irene Robles-Lopez, Vice President of Student Affairs at Pima Community College in Tucson, AZ, shares her tips on how adults can easily transition back to life as a student.

1. Attend orientation 

If your child was attending a new school, wouldn’t you encourage them to attend orientation? Don’t discount the value of obtaining information pertinent to your education first-hand.

New student orientation is an essential learning experience to start your first year off right. In orientation you will learn what classes to take, how to register, and the resources available to help you succeed at the college. Additionally, you’ll receive personalized advising at orientation,” said Robles-Lopez.

2. Take advantage of career counseling services

Meeting with a career counselor on campus can help you sort through options for courses, majors, and potential careers.

“When we meet with students, we also encourage them to meet with one of our counselors for career counseling if they are unsure of their program of study. Students may choose to enroll in a Career and Technical Education program for direct employment or may choose to pursue a transfer degree to transfer to a university.”

3. Brush up on the basics

“We also offer student success courses that can help students learn how to be successful in college.” 

Need to polish your skills as a student? Some schools, including Pima, can help you get back into the rhythm of life as a student through skills-based courses. At Pima, students can enroll in basic math and reading workshops to boost their confidence and prepare for advanced courses or exams like the GED

4. Try an online course

Don’t let a busy schedule hold you back from returning to school. Many colleges offer a variety of course delivery options, including online, to accommodate all learners.

Pima offers courses in person, online and hybrid. We also offer several start dates within the semester. This provides flexibility for our students who may need to take work and family obligations into consideration.”

5. Reach out to your professors

Keep an open line of communication flowing with your instructors. Their goal is to help you succeed academically.

“Our professors and instructors are friendly and care about their student’s success. We encourage students to ask questions and to reach out to faculty during their office hours. Faculty look forward to meeting with students outside of the classroom to answer any follow up questions or to provide additional guidance or information.”

6. Don’t think you’ll be the only adult learner on campus

The average student age at Pima Community College is 28 years old. We have students of all ages that take courses at the college. Faculty members foster a respectful learning environment where students are encouraged to learn from each other and their life experiences.” 

7. Establish a support network of peers

Don’t be afraid to make connections with other adult students from your classes. They are likely experiencing the same challenges that you are, and can provide support from a place of familiarity. Coordinate study groups or arrange time to grab coffee together. Having a support network to lean on may improve your productivity and academic success.

Have you seen our new Adult Learner Resource pages on Petersons.com? As a member of Peterson’s adult learning community, browse our free college and career resources designed specifically for adults returning to school.