They say that it’s never too late to learn. As a result, you can return to university to study at any age. Maybe you have been thinking about heading back to university. You might have a yearning to broaden your experiences and gain new knowledge, or you might be looking to either further your career, or move to a new one. Whatever the reasons for your desire to return to university studies, there are ways to make your time as a student easier and more fulfilling.
In this article, we’ll share some of the top tips for returning to a university education.
- Pick a Subject That You Are Passionate About
The first thing that you should do is to ensure that you choose a subject that you are passionate about. University studies are hard work and you will need to be motivated to study. So whether you are looking at taking music production courses or studying to become a vet, you will need to be sure that you are taking a subject that you care deeply about.
Before you take on the course, ask yourself whether you are willing to spend three years reading intensely about the subject. Ask yourself if you are going to be able to sit through countless lectures and write essays and dissertations on the subject. If the idea of any of this bores you, then this is not the right course for you.
- Choose a Mode of Study That Suits You Best
There are several different ways that you can study and you should choose the mode of study that will suit you best.
You could choose to study online. This will mean that you don’t have to move away to university. You can do your course in your own time, and you may be able to work your studies around your current job.
You may want to immerse yourself in the student experience and study at university. This may mean moving away to somewhere further afield.
Decide on whether you want to study full time or part time. Think about how much time you actually have right now that you can give over to your studies.
- Find the Right University
There are lots of factors to consider when it comes to finding the right university. Firstly, you should ensure you pick an establishment that is renowned for excellence in the subject area that you are studying.
Take a look at the facilities that are on offer for your subject at any potential universities that you are considering. You will want to find a university that has cutting edge resources available to all students.
Your choice of university may also be bound by geography. If you are unable to move away to university because of work or family commitments, or because of your financial situation, then you should look at the options within an easy commute of your home.
- Find Out What Support is On Offer
Student support is important. Before you start on your course, you should find out what support there is available. This support could come in the form of assistance with learning difficulties. There should also be a well staffed learning resource centre with different departments where there is support on hand to help you finding access to the right course materials or equipment to help you to complete you studies.
- Connect With Your Peers Before the Course Starts
Your studies will bring you into contact with lots of new people. In fact, it can be quite overwhelming to meet so many people at once at the start of your course. Especially when you are trying to orientate and learn everything there is to know about being a student while actually starting your studies.
Make it easier on yourself to meet people and form friendships by connecting with them via social media before the start of your course. By getting to know others in this way, you will be able to save yourself time and effort meeting people when your course starts. You will already have friendship and support to help you as you start your course.
- Connect With Your Tutors
Get to know your tutors, find out who can help you when you when you need it. Ahead of your course, get in touch with them online. Once your course starts, take advantage of their office hours and get their help and advice. Talk to them about any worries or concerns you have over the work that you are completing. Tutors will all have time allocated to seeing students, take advantage of this fact.
- Start Reading Books From Your Reading List Early
Don’t wait for your course to start before you start your learning process. The earlier you can start your learning, the better.
Before you start your course properly, you should receive reading lists. Take advantage of any head start that you get given and go out and buy or loan copies of all of these books.
University study is very much about self-directed learning. The sooner you can get into the habit of researching and studying off your own back, the easier it will be once your course starts.
- See Your Time At University As An Opportunity to Make Connections
You may not hold your university peers in much regard when you are studying alongside them. While they may be brilliant students, you probably don’t look up to them. However, it is important that you understand that these people could be the industry leaders of the future. They could be vital connections that you will need to call on professionally in the years to come.
For this reason, you should make sure that you see university as a chance to network and make valuable connections that will serve you well for the rest of your career.
- Balance Your Home and Work Life With Your Studies
When you are studying hard, it can be very easy to lose sight of what is important in your life. You may have other commitments which you are neglecting because you are so busy. For instance, you may have a job or you may be in a relationship or have a family to think about.
Try and balance your time between your studies, you work, and your home life. Create a strict timetable that allows for all of these areas of your life and stick to it. Have a day each week where you do nothing but spend time with your nearest and dearest.
- Join or Form a Study Group
You are far more likely to succeed in your studies if you get support from others. A great way of getting support in your studies is to join or form a study group. Once you have finished your studies, your study group can become a job search group.
- Look After Your Physical Health
University life can take its toll on your health if you are not careful. Make sure that you are eating well and taking plenty of exercise. Schedule in a session at the gym or go for regular walks or runs.
- Take Care of Your Mental Health
Similarly, the stress of university life can have an effect on your mental health. Make sure that you take the time to check in on how you are feeling. Get plenty of sleep and meditate whenever possible. Emotional burnout can affect your academic performance so it is vital that you look after your mental health.
Image Credits: Engin Akyurt