Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Adult Students' Guide to Success in College

The Adult Students' Guide to Success in College

By Linda Aragoni

Heading for college to improve your job skills or train for a new position? You are not alone. First time "nontraditional students" -- those who are not coming directly from high school -- are enrolling in colleges in record numbers.

Most of those students say they have the skills, motivation, and desire to succeed in college. Yet according to the Survey of Entering Student Engagement released in March, 2010, a third of those students had already set themselves up for failure in the first three weeks of their college experience.

You don't have to be one of those college failures. Here are three ways you can increase the likelihood of getting your college diploma.

Deal with deficiencies.

If your placement test or previous academic record shows you are not ready to do college level work in a core subject like English or math, bring your skills up to college level before you tackle other college classes. Taking "Introduction to Accounting" is foolish if you don't have the necessary math skills. Likewise, taking a class in which your term grade depends solely on two essays is foolish if you are deficient in writing.

Instead of waiting until you get to college to begin remedial study, look for alternatives that you can do immediately, such as online tutorials or attending community adult education classes. Such alternatives are cheaper than college courses, and they may be all you need to avoid having to take remedial college classes.

Go to class.

Showing up for class is the first step toward your diploma. If you miss a class early in a term, you may miss directions for something you need to know later.

At least your first term, aim to have only "cast or casket" absences -- those that are unplanned and unavoidable. If attending your daughter's soccer games is a priority for you, don't take a class whose meetings conflict with scheduled games.

Do your homework.

It is imperative that you manage your time so that you get your work done on time. Failure to turn in homework or turning it in late marks you as unmotivated or irresponsible. Those are not descriptions you want instructors to associate with your name.

Many students scramble to get written assignments done, but fail to keep up with reading assignments. As a result, they may find themselves unprepared for final exams. Keep up with required reading right from your first day of class.

Following just these three simple rules will start off on the right foot. If you run into a problem later, you'll find college instructors will be very willing to work with you because you have shown you are serious about your education.

A writing instructor who taught adult college students in online classes for five years, Linda Aragoni continues to support students embarking on college careers through her e-book Grammar Abusers Anonymous which teaches study skills for turning error-riddled papers into grammar exercises. She also offers free essay help in an on-line forum at website, Copyright 2010, Linda G. Aragoni. You may reprint this article provided the whole text, the author's name, the links, and this copyright notice remain intact.

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