How to Succeed in the University as an Adult Learner

How to succeed as an adult leaner

Let’s face it it – being an adult learner is a challenge quite different from being a teenage student. And here are things that make you different:

  • You probably have a full-time or a part-time job
  • You may have children, and children need attention
  • You probably pay for college from your own pocket
  • You don’t sleep in hallways
  • You don’t join fraternities or smoke weed on campus

In other words, you may not feel that you “belong.” That you are part of this institution called the University. And while your younger counterparts seem to be totally enjoying their college experience, you feel left out.

Your problems and frustrations are weighing down on you, and your energy is not at its highest level. “Gosh, am I cut out for this?” – you may think.

Answer: Yes, You Are!

I’d like to open your eyes to some major advantages that you have over youngsters that you may be overlooking. These are:

  • Life Experience
  • Strong Motivation
  • Clear Focus

Life Experience

Experience – the child of difficult mistakes! Over the years you have befriended this harsh educator. And I want you to acknowledge this education as probably your most valuable possession.

First, it helps you make better decisions as to what you want to study and pursue professionally. You may have met people who helped guide you towards your profession of choice.

Or you may have worked in an environment you liked and decided to become a part of it. Or you worked at a place you hated and decided to change in view of this new information. In any case, you now have what will take your teenage fellow student years to find out.

Second, an adult learner’s brain simply contains more information that can be used in studying. The more information your brain has, the more neuro-connections it will make, enabling you to perceive information with more maturity, which leads to more sensible papers and exams.

Third, don’t forget that being an adult learner puts you in better touch with your professors, who are adults themselves. It’s just easier to identify with them and create lasting academic relationships and friendships. This one is big!

Strong Motivation

Hey – you know that if you don’t succeed in college – after all the money and time invested – your spouse will not be very happy with you. Heck, you will feel pain from other family members, including your children. And you will be quite unhappy with yourself.

I don’t mean to paint a gloomy picture – after all, I am here to help you succeed. But your motivation to do whatever it takes to do well and get that career-launching diploma is just way higher than your fellow teenager’s. You are much more likely to stick it out and end up with that all-important scroll in your hand.

Clear Focus

Being an adult learner, you know exactly what you’re after. You are after a diploma in Nursing. Or Accounting. Or Public Health. Or Psychology. And you know why you’re after it. And you are not likely to change course if faced with unforeseen obstacles.

No – you will get what you want just because you have such a precise idea of it! Many of your younger academic colleagues will be coming back to the university in search of a new degree. But you are ALREADY here! You are way ahead in the game 😉

So, I hope you see that you are in a great place. Take advantage of it. And if life throws you a problem that is trying to throw you out of the seat – use it to strengthen your advantages – your Experience, your Motivation, and your Focus!

Talk soon,


Tutor Phil

Tutor Phil is an e-learning professional who helps adult learners finish their degrees by teaching them academic writing skills.

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