Whether you’re wrapping up your first semester or starting up in January, balancing work, family, and school is difficult for non-traditional students.

The college experience was not designed for you, and even though community colleges, vocational and career schools, and even traditional four-year universities are beginning to accommodate students like you, non-traditional students are still at high risk of drop out.

Completing your degree is worth the juggling act. Here are some tips for how to make it easier on yourself, your family, and your job.

Create a Balanced Course Load

When you’re registering for classes, make sure you balance coursework in areas you are familiar with alongside challenging classes. It’s important to finish your required courses, but make sure you have extra time to focus on the harder classes, including going to study groups and office hours to make sure you get the hold you need to succeed. Practice this each semester, but also over the course of your entire college career. If you just finished an especially challenging semester, give yourself a break next semester to build your confidence back up. If last semester was a breeze, tackle a tougher class next in a field you’re unfamiliar with. Just make sure to be honest with yourself about the time you will have, and your time management.

Make a Detailed Schedule of Deadlines

Get out your calendar when you get your class syllabi and mark down every due date so you know how to prioritize your projects. For larger projects, write in your calendar when it’s due in a week so you’ll have that reminder before crunch time.

Orient Your Work and Class Schedule to Accomodate Each Other

Make sure you give yourself enough time to get from work to school and vice versa. Think about your personal needs for rest, family time, and time to yourself. If you work and go to school on the same days, be aware of your energy levels. You may want to concentrate all of your obligations into some days of the week, or you may want to spread your obligations out over all seven days.

Sometimes you can do all you can to make life easier in college and still feel exhausted, overwhelmed, and overworked. If you haven’t decided whether or not to enroll again next semester, you may not have to. With work experience and college credit, you may already have an Associates or even Bachelors degree equivalency. For an academic consultation, visit www.thecareerpeople.com.


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