Hodges helps adult learns manage school and life.

The Top 10 Obstacles Adult Learners Face


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Are you considering going back to school? Congratulations! Furthering your education is a great way to improve your life. It’s important to be aware, though, that it’s not always easy to do. When you know the challenges you’ll face, you’ll be better prepared to overcome them. That’s why we’ve compiled this list of the top 10 obstacles for adult learners.

  1. Memory challenges. Adults have a lot on their minds. Fortunately, adults typically understand their own minds and know their own learning styles. Awareness of your own learning style can be the key to remembering the facts you need to know to succeed in school.
  2. Trouble seeing instructors as authority figures. Sometimes it can be difficult to view instructors as being in charge when they are your age or younger. It’s important for students of every age to view those in charge as leaders, rather than peers.
  3. Anxiety about being older than the other students. Adult students may be concerned about connecting with their fellow students, especially when there is a significant age difference. In fact, the life experience older students have can make them a valuable asset to other students. The best thing to do is to join study groups, participate in community service opportunities and find other ways to build connections and commonalities that will help you succeed.
  4. Problems grasping new technology. Technology can be daunting if you’re not accustomed to it. However, if you’re open to trying new things, you’ll soon find that you can become comfortable with the technology you need to improve your learning experience.
  5. Fear of the unknown. Making the decision to go back to school can be frightening. You may worry you’ve been out of school for too long or you won’t be able to keep up. Talking to an adviser can help you find the courses that are right for you as well as the program that will help you succeed.
  6. Feeling it’s too late to try something new. After you have spent years gaining workforce experience, you may feel as if you’re too old to go back to school. Your age will be the same whether you go back to school or not, but going back to school will improve your future at any age.
  7. Not enough time for education. With today’s busy schedules, it can be hard to carve out time for school. If you look at your schedule and prioritize your time commitments, you will probably find there are adjustments you can make in order to fit school into your schedule.
  8. Lack of support. Unlike traditional students, adults are often on their own when it comes to school. Without the financial and physical support of parents and family, they often struggle. Some adult learners are single parents or have a limited support system. If you’re ready to go back to school, it’s time to have a serious conversation with friends and family, asking for their support as you undertake this endeavor. It may also be beneficial to find a mentor, as is connecting with other adult learners who understand what you’re experiencing.
  9. Difficulty finding the financial resources to pay for education. The financial aspect of paying for an education can be a struggle; however, it can also be easily overcome. Many institutions have generous financial assistance. Talk to a financial aid counselor about various loans, grants and scholarships to help you pay for school.
  10. The number one obstacle facing adult learners is striking a work-life balance. It can be hard to get everything done and feel like you’re giving the right kind of attention to work, school and family. Talk to your advisers, and find ways to organize your time. It may be prudent to go to school part-time at first. Make a list of your goals and stay focused on reaching them.

As you travel the pathway to higher education, you may encounter some obstacles along the way. In the end, the journey will be worth the challenges you had to overcome. At Hodges University, we understand the struggles adult learners face and have developed a curriculum uniquely suited for adults balancing academic obligations while maintaining full-time jobs and familial responsibilities. Call us at 833-510-1915 to learn more about flexible schedules, online classes, our unique learning environment and supportive faculty, or contact us at www.hodges.edu.