adult learningMaybe you’re considering going back to college or you just signed up for your first classes ever. You might be nervous about the new demands on your schedule or your wallet. Whatever the case, there are several ways to prepare before you enter a classroom.

The good news is that you’re not the only one going through this — the rates of adult learning have been steadily rising.

The National Center for Education Statistics projects the number of college and graduate students who are 25 and older to increase to 43% by 2020. The enrollment of students over the age of 35 is also expected to increase to 19% by 2020.1

Here are some steps you can take to help prepare yourself for adult learning:

Set Up Your New Routine Early

Once classes start, you’ll have to adjust your current schedule. The National Survey of Student
Engagement found that the average full-time student spends approximately 17 hours a week doing class-related work.2

You should plan to spend anywhere from three to six hours per credit hour studying and preparing for the course each week.3 This could include reading, writing essays or studying for tests.

Before classes begin, spend a few weeks pretending you are on a new class schedule. Take the time to research or prepare for your courses. The goal is to see if your schedule can accommodate the time it will take to engage in adult learning, and make you feel prepared to balance the new changes.

Prepare Your Pockets

College is not cheap. Just ask anyone who has taken a college course in the last several years. And there are many expenses that can apply to adult learning, such as tuition, course supplies, personal expenses and transportation4 … and at least we can remove the last one from the total cost of online learning.

The average price of online tuition is around $282 per credit hour5, but Grantham University has not changed its cost of just $265 per credit hour at the undergraduate rate in many years. Better yet, military students only pay $250 per credit hour. Those savings can really add up when you’re working toward a degree requiring 120 credit hours.

There are scholarships and grants that can help with the cost of college. However, you should still prepare yourself for added expenses as soon as you start to consider enrolling in college.

At Grantham, we strive to be affordable for all students looking for a good option in adult learning. If you want convenient courses that will help you thrive in a new career without breaking the bank, check out our programs and financial assistance opportunities!

Learn that Studying Happens Anywhere, Anytime

Before your classes begin, try a sort of “mock studying” in different places. Take a book to a café, restaurant, library and anywhere else that may be a convenient place for you to study. Try to concentrate in each place for at least an hour and see how you do.

In addition to practicing concentration, get in the habit of being prepared to do schoolwork when you have a few minutes to yourself.

Have your laptop or tablet fully charged, and make note of convenient places with free Wi-Fi.6 This will help you if you are ever in a pinch.

Establish a Support System

Adult learning can be challenging, especially when you have a career and/or family to balance on top of your coursework.

Having a support system to encourage you and help fill in the gaps of your schedule when you need to study can be a tremendous help. Your support system can be family, friends, classmates, faculty or even a playlist of songs that make you feel motivated.

If you find yourself stressed about your schedule or schoolwork, remember that your efforts can pay off in great ways. Many people who go back to school find they have more job opportunities, higher salaries or even feel more satisfied in their career.7

Now that You’re Prepared, Apply!

Adult learning can seem intimidating — especially if you are already settled into a career. However, more and more adults are enrolling in college. Some want to develop new skills and change careers, while others just want to give their current position a boostvii.

If you’re looking to gain the experience and education you need for an exciting career field, Grantham has a variety of accredited online degree and certificate programs from which to choose.

Apply at Grantham

For more information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who completed our programs, and other important information, please visit