It’s back to school time. Time to set education goals. Time to register for classes. Time to seek academic advising that will make the education path as straight as possible.
Many young students are debating whether or not they will attend classes in person, online, or take a gap year. But, most nontraditional students don’t have that flexibility. They need to attend school now, to complete their degree or upgrade their skills. They need to be successful. Education advising can help make that happen.
Adult students face challenges that are different from those that younger traditional students face. Many of them have families and multiple responsibilities. For many the financial cost of education is a burden. Many have self-doubts that get in the way. Academic advising can help them overcome these obstacles and challenges.
A Strada Education Network survey shows that concrete barriers such as time and money are major barriers for adults. Almost 40 percent said work schedules posed a time conflict. Thirty-five percent said that course times were a barrier. More than 25 percent said family responsibilities such as balancing school work and childcare would be a problem. In an environment where schools are developing remote education because of the coronavirus pandemic, nontraditional students can find many opportunities to have online and virtual education experiences.
Academic advising helps students find multiple additional ways to save time and money on their education completion. Using employer tuition assistance is the first way nontraditional students can ease the financial burden of higher education. TA helps overcome financial conflicts due to multiple home, family and school expenses. Advising will ensure that students take classes that align with employer policies. Tuition dollars will always be used for the best advantage.
Even with tuition assistance it is important find the most practical way to earn and pay for credits. Many schools accept CBE or PLA for credits. Most adult students have gained knowledge and skills through work and life experience. Competency Based Education or Prior Learning Assessments acknowledge that learning and students earn credits toward completion. When students transfer from one institution to another, they may face loss of credits. Academic advising, such as the service that Edcor offers its clients, includes a review of previously earned credits. This helps students find schools that accept the most credits, prevents students from duplicating courses, or taking courses that don’t apply to their career goals. Establishing the most direct path toward completion is an important function of academic advising. Informed decisions save students both time and money.
The Strada survey of adult students showed that self-doubt was a barrier that stopped many nontraditional students from seeking higher education. Almost half of students said they were afraid they had been out of school for too long. Self-doubts about their ability to succeed create an obstacle, but nontraditional students shouldn’t worry about this, says Dr. James Fallon, a neuroscientist at University of California, Irvine. He believes that people reach their maximum cognitive abilities in their 60s. Many nontraditional students need to complete a degree or engage in life-long learning for their careers. Many have previous education and work experience that help them learn.
Nontraditional students also have strong motivation that can help them overcome self-doubt. Academic advising can help students use their motivation to best advantage. A survey from Edcor partner school Champlain College Online shows that:
• 73 percent of respondents what to increase their earning potential
• 70 percent believe it is very or somewhat important to have a bachelor’s degree for jobs in the future
A Pearson study of adult learners also shows that nontraditional students are highly motivated by their work futures:
• 72 percent say they’ll need more education to keep up with their field
• 69 percent believe technology advances will make their job significantly different
Many adults seek advice from their family, friends and peers. However, those who seek academic advising from a resource such as Edcor Advising find greater success. Advisors can help students plan an education path that is relevant to their career goals. A clear direction and sense of purpose matters. Graduates are 64 percent more likely to value their education if they see the relevance of their courses to their work and career development. Even though most nontraditional students have many financial obligations the odds are almost two times greater that graduates will think their education is worth the cost if they had a cost if they had a mentor who encouraged them.
Academic advising such as Edcor Advising makes it possible for students to overcome barriers and use their education benefits in a way that brings the most success.
By Kathleen Eischeid, Edcor Business Development Coordinator
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