Students returning to school after several years are often concerned about keeping up with academics. Taking tests and writing essays may seem like a distant, and often unpleasant, memory from long ago. Yet when the goal is as important as finishing a degree, many are working hard to brush up on the study skills from the past to keep up with classmates in the present.

The Degree Completion Program (DCP) at ACU is conscious of the concern that many adult students have regarding study skills and collegiate writing assignments. The accelerated, 20-month schedules for the Behavioral Studies, Business Administration, and Christian Ministries Bachelor’s Degrees all begin with a course specifically designed for adult students to set them up for success. This course helps adults sharpen the skills they already have from previous college and workplace experience.

Here are five tips for adult students to keep in mind when preparing to go back to college:

1. Let God be part of your journey. He has made it possible for you to come this far, lean on Him to carry you through to the celebration at the end. Pull together support from family and friends and ask them to pray you through each class and any times of struggle.

2. Be patient with yourself. The more time you’ve spent away from school the more difficult it may be to feel comfortable. It’s possible that it will all come rushing back, but if it doesn’t, be gracious with yourself and keep trying. You are doing something noble and worthwhile, don’t let negativity weigh you down.

3. Adjust your schedule. Carve out an hour or two every day for reading and writing. Can you give up an extra hour of sleep, going out for lunch, or watching your favorite TV show? Should you press pause on an important volunteer area? Our favorite saying in the DCP office is “short-term sacrifice: long-term gain.” Each student must evaluate what they are willing to sacrifice.

4. Make good use of on-line tools. There are several free resources on the internet that will help with study skills, grammar, and writing. There is so much information right at your fingertips. Don’t struggle alone, seek help from the many experts and students who have forged the way.

5. Don’t be shy. Get to know your classmates; they are in the same boat. Ask your professors questions; they are here to help. The more you interact with others, the more comfortable you’ll feel and the more success you will have. This is your time. Own it.

The collaborative community that forms during the DCP cohorts at Arizona Christian University will spur you on during times of stress. When students learn together they sharpen skills and utilize each other’s strengths. The natural encouragement that occurs during the 20-month program sets students up for success and helps them complete their aspirations of graduating with a Bachelor of Science Degree.

The Degree Completion Program is perfect for adults who have two or more years of college credit and at least two years of relevant work experience. Contact Lisa Beaman, Assistant Director of Degree Completion Program at 602-386-4118 to see how a DCP cohort can benefit