Friday, September 26, 2014

Common Problems Returning Students Face and Resources for Overcoming Them

Returning to school is an exciting time for both current and new students alike. But as you may have experienced, the first few weeks may present unique challenges for adult learners who are also managing work and family commitments. These challenges can arise whether you’ve been away from school for a few months or a few years.

Among these challenges there are three that I typically see more often than others. I’ve outlined them below and provided resources that will help you not just during the first few weeks, but throughout your entire academic experience.
  1. Preparedness – Naturally in the beginning, students aren’t always sure of what to expect and may become overwhelmed. In some cases, this can lead to lower participation and engagement in class. Unfortunately, this only adds to their challenges as it puts them further behind.
  2.  Attendance – It’s very important for students to start off on the right foot with participation and attendance. Stats show that students who miss class have a much higher risk of failure while those who attend every class and participate are typically successful. Keep in mind it’s not just that you are at every class, but that you are engaged in the class.
  3. Time management – A large population of students at Peirce also work and are raising a family. This can make managing those commitments and schedules especially challenging.
Fortunately, Peirce understands these issues that many students face. As a result, we offer many different free resources to help you overcome them. Understanding the resources that are available to you will help you thrive during those first few weeks and beyond.
  • Tutoring – You can request individual appointments or group tutoring. You can even get tutoring by phone or on Saturdays to help accommodate your busy schedule.
  • SMARTHINKING – Smart thinking is an online tutoring service available to students. You can connect with a live tutor, called an “e-structor” and ask questions. You can also to submit your papers and essays and receive feedback on mechanics and different things you can work on for improvement.
  • Workshops – Peirce students are encouraged to attend workshops held at the Walker Center for Academic Excellence and the Career Development Services Office. These workshops will provide you with valuable tips and advice for succeeding both in the classroom and in your career.
  • Academic Advisors - Get to know your advisor and the different ways they can assist you. Your professional Academic Advisor that has been assigned to you will help you plan out your academic program and make the best use of the services available.
  • Faculty - Taking the time to speak to professors before class, after class, and during office hours has many different benefits. Faculty can offer different perspectives and may know of additional resources in that field that can help you overcome challenges.
  • The Peirce Connections blog – Our blog provides plenty of tips and guidance from our academic, advising, and career development experts. By browsing the blog you’ll learn effective tips for networking, interviewing, financial aid, upcoming workshops, and much more. Also keep an eye on our social media channels where we regularly update the latest posts and provide additional tips. 
A last piece of advice I’ll leave you with is strive to have continuous enrollment. Students who take courses year-round – fall, spring and summer – typically do better because of the consistency. One reason for this is because it keeps you continuously focused on your academics.

Another reason is because so many of your courses will build upon previous coursework. Keeping the principles from previous courses fresh in your mind makes advancing right into the next semester that much easier. Continuous enrollment students are more successful and complete their degree quicker than those who take time off, and it’s a lot easier to stay engaged and on top of classes

Most importantly, become an advocate for yourself and take ownership of your education. We want to help every student but we need to know when you need help and how we can assist. If you have any questions about the resources available and which will most help you to succeed, feel free to set up a meeting with your advisor and visit our the My Advising and Student Services tabs on my.peirce.edu.