Top 3 Tips for Adult Learners Considering Online Degree Programs

February 15, 2021

Deciding to go back to school can be a daunting prospect—especially if you are new to online learning.

We asked recent graduates of Houghton Online for their best advice for adult learners who might be hesitant to enroll in an online degree program. Here are the top three tips from adult learners who have been there:

Tip 1: It’s all about time management

We all have the same 24 hours in a day, so being intentional with your time can help you make the most of your studies. Our students found success by planning ahead, blocking out study time on their calendar, and utilizing their best hours for quality time over quantity of time.

  • The best strategy to balance work/family/studies is to plan ahead. I was able to take as many or as few classes as possible in order to manage time wisely with family and work. Whenever I knew we had a lot of work, I would only take one class. Whenever I knew I would have more time, I would take more than one class.
    —Samuel Martz ‘20, Integrated Marketing and Communications
  • I quickly learned that my studies had to be put on the calendar just like all other activities—and we all had to learn that I couldn’t be interrupted when my study door was closed.
    —Peggy Chroniger ‘20, Organizational Management
  • Read Cal Newport’s book on deep work, then become convinced that it is not about the amount of time you spend “doing school” rather it is the quality of time you spend in study. It wasn’t until I read Newport’s book that I realized morning time was my best time. I rearranged my whole schedule to find 2 hours a day that would give me the most ‘deep work’. I was able to accomplish in two hours what four hours every night was impossible.
    —Ben ‘20, Management

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Tip 2: Hack your studies

Online programs are designed with busy adult learners in mind, so use that to your advantage. Make the flexibility work for you by utilizing helpful technologies, setting aside a dedicated study space and keeping your materials with you so that you can squeeze work in during down time. Don’t forget to keep your professors in the loop; they are there to help you.

  • I found that some of the online texts were “read-aloud” compatible, so I would use that feature to listen to the text while I did household chores or while driving to and from work.
    —Sarah Fleming ‘20, Organizational Management
  • Have a dedicated space for your studies, even it’s a small corner of a room, and only do your work there.
    —Peggy Chroniger ‘20, Organizational Management
  • I did homework when my children were working on their assignments for school. I always carried a textbook with me so that I could read during half time at my kids sporting events or during lunch at work.
    —Michelle Miller ‘20, Psychology

Tip 3: Take the leap!

What is holding you back? Take it from graduates who have walked this path recently; accelerated modules, financial aid options, fully online accessibility, and professors that understand your busy life all make an online bachelor’s degree a reality for working adults.

  • My first advice would be “DO IT!” Taking the first step might be hard, but what helped me was [to realize] that I had been thinking on “going back” for over 10 years. If I had done at least one class a year I would had finish a long time ago. Houghton’s online program is an excellent resource for adult learners that want to use their time and money wisely.
    —Samuel Martz ’ ‘20, Integrated Marketing and Communication
  • I loved Houghton’s program because it could be done 100% online and 100% on your own schedule. It also felt intimate and there were many other adult learners in a similar stage as me.
    —Rachel Hibberd ‘20, Psychology
  • As an adult going back to school after almost 20 years, I was hesitant because I wasn’t sure I could do the work and do it well. Professors for Houghton Online are exceptional. They were always available for any question, no matter how big or small, and they ALWAYS provided encouragement—which helped me in so many ways.
    —Michelle Miller ‘20, Psychology

If you are reevaluating your career and wondering how you can move forward with a bachelor’s degree, let Houghton’s Online Admissions team help. Our goal is to put together a personalized transfer credit evaluation as well as a clear tuition cost for you before you make any decision. For more information about Houghton’s online degree offerings, complete this form, or contact us at online@houghton.edu.