Ashworth College Blog

5 tips to get you started when you’re going back to school

Written by Ashworth College on Monday, 27 August 2018. Posted in Life Hacks, Online College

5 tips to get you started when you’re going back to school

You got the kids back to school, now what about yourself? What are you hoping to accomplish this fall?

Put a diploma, career certificate, or degree in your future by making a commitment to furthering your education. You’ll be setting an excellent example for your children (or grandchildren) and advancing your career at the same time.

Going back to school as an adult doesn’t have to be intimidating. You can achieve success with online learning by using these five tips to start off on the right foot.

1. Plan Your Study Time and Place

When you were in high school, you may have studied primarily in your bedroom in the evening. Or perhaps at the kitchen table before dinner. You may not have called this “creating a study schedule,” but that’s exactly what it was. Now, as an adult, you likewise can structure your study periods for maximum effectiveness.

The most successful adult online learners create a dedicated study schedule and share it with family members to minimize distractions. Pick a time frame that works well (let’s say Monday-Wednesday-Friday from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m.) and write it on your family calendar. Then choose a quiet location where you can shut the door and focus. Maybe your home office would work well. Or the public library. Committing to a study schedule helps you get into a rhythm with your educational program and makes the best use of your time.

2. Set SMART Goals

Online learners sometimes make the mistake of setting broad goals, like, “I’ll complete one module per month.” That might sound good in theory, but it may not be realistic or achievable because so many factors – subject matter, time available for studying – can affect your pace.

The better way to set goals? Use the “SMART” criteria:

S = specific
M = measurable
A = achievable
R = relevant
T = time-based

Here are a couple of examples: “I will complete one [measurable, achievable] assigned reading [specific, relevant] per week [time-based].”

Or: “I will use two hours of study time [measurable] this week [time-based] to write the assigned paper [specific, relevant] and then turn it in [achievable].”

Using the SMART criteria helps you study efficiently while being able to adjust your goals based on how difficult the subject matter is or how often life interrupts your academic journey.

3. Enlist the Help of Your Family

Earning an online degree, diploma, or certificate takes time. To create the time necessary for you to study, you may need to rely on family members to shoulder more responsibility around the home.

Before you begin your degree program, hold a family meeting. Talk about the types of support you’ll need (like uninterrupted study time) to achieve academic success. Also discuss how to reallocate chores and other tasks to free up time for you to study. If you have younger children, identify age-appropriate responsibilities they can accomplish, such as picking up their toys to keep their rooms tidy. Older children can take on more family cooking, laundry duties, and other helpful tasks that used to fall to you.

By involving your family in this way, you allow them to participate in your success. When you graduate, they can feel pride in having helped you achieve your goal.

4. Surround Yourself with Supporters

You need not feel isolated or alone just because you don’t take classes in a bricks-and-mortar building. You should take the time to gather supporters and keep yourself surrounded by others who want you to succeed.

Start by building good rapport with your academic advisor and faculty members. Spend time “meeting” other students in the online community. You might be surprised at the strong bonds you can form with people you only know through message boards! And socialize regularly with local friends and family members who can provide moral support and be your biggest cheerleaders.

5. Celebrate Small Victories

Don’t save your celebration for the big commencement ceremony. Instead, take the time to celebrate the “small” accomplishments, from passing a tough exam to finishing a class. Treat yourself to lunch, reward yourself with a family getaway, or buy yourself some new career clothes to mark your academic milestones.

Celebrating the smaller successes acknowledges your dedication and motivates you to pursue the next goal.

Request Free Program Information

Learn more about online learning for adults and how you can take your career to the next level with a diploma, career certificate, or college degree: Request free info today!

About the Author

Ashworth College

Ashworth College

Our community is full of independent, motivated, growth-focused students. Dive into our blog to explore diverse stories from our students, friends, experts, and executives. From tips & tricks to student experiences and alumni stories, the Ashworth Blog is all about celebrating our community's accomplishments and passions.

Browse By Category
Recent Posts
What Kinds of Jobs Can You Get with an Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education?

Career What Kinds of Jobs Can You Get with an Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education?

An online Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education is designed for aspiring educators who want to develop a career focused on teaching children age 4 and younger. Though you may have stayed at home with a sitter or guardian, or attended a loosely-programmed preschool or play group at that age, it’s now the 2010s and expectations for life pre-K now include structured education by teachers who have earned degrees specifically for this field.

Become a preschool teacher

If you have a heart for little kids and patience to boot, consider earning your online Associate Degree and preparing for a job as a preschool teacher! The main goal of preschool is for toddlers to gain language, motor, and social skills while having lots and lots of fun.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for preschool teachers is projected to increase 10% between 2016 and 2026.* That’s a faster-than-average growth projection for all occupations during the same time period. Since the typical requirement for launching a career as a preschool teacher is the completion of an Associate Degree, that leaves plenty of time to get started, graduate, and secure a position in this growing field.

Positions for preschool teachers are available through Head Start programs, private early childhood education centers, churches and faith-based schools, as well as through tutoring, nannying, and at-home childcare services.

The need for preschool teachers is projected to increase 10% between 2016 and 2026—a faster than average growth for all jobs!

Bilingual or want to be? Teach ELLs or become an au pair

As more school systems throughout the U.S. enroll first-generation citizens from non-English-speaking homes, there’s a growing need for trained teachers who can help the youngest of students learn English. Becoming a preschool teacher who works with English Language Learners (ELLs) is a unique way to apply your passion for ECE to a demographic of children who can greatly benefit from your language skills.

If private childcare and teaching is more your style—and you have a sense of adventure—use your ECE degree to become an au pair for a family outside the U.S., or nanny for a foreign family that’s recently moved to the U.S. In both situations, your training will bolster the children’s English-speaking skills and you’ll gain a world of knowledge about another culture.

Ready to learn how to play with purpose? Check out the curriculum of our Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education. Or practice your ABCs and enroll today!

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Preschool Teachers, on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/preschool-teachers.htm (visited October 31, 2018).

Personal trainer and fitness client with dumbbell sitting on weight bench.

Career Why Ashworth Online personal training courses for NCSF-CPT prep

Look at you! You got swole and you loved it so much you’ve decided to help others get swole. What’s your next step? Professional certification! You already look the part of a legit personal trainer and that’s excellent for marketing your skills. But it’s a professional certification that really shows your potential clients that you’re qualified to train them. In other words, it gives them permission to trust you right from the start.

Get your brain in shape in as few as four months

Don’t worry, training your brain for certification won’t take as long as training your body into the best physical shape of your life. You also don’t have to go anywhere to get it done; you can learn everything you need to know with online personal training courses at Ashworth College. Our Personal Trainer Career Diploma program can be completed in as few as four months and you can study at your own pace.

The program curriculum aligns with the standards set by the National Council on Strength and Fitness and helps prep you specifically for their Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) certification exam. Because of the NCSF mission to promote high levels of professional competency, ethics, and safety, their CPTs are considered highly-reputable industry wide.

Why the NCSF-CPT certification exam?

There are nearly a dozen well-known certification programs available for aspiring personal trainers. They feature a range of costs, time commitments, and reputation levels. Here are some reasons why Ashworth College chose to base our program on the NCSF-CPT exam:

  • It’s accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA).
  • The pass rate is about 57%. It’s not an open book test like the ISSA exam which has an 89.9% pass rate, but it is passable.
  • The NCSF requires fewer Continuing Education Units than other CPT certifications which means ongoing recertification requirements will take less time and money.*

By the way, when you enroll in the Personal Trainer Career Diploma program at Ashworth College, you’ll also have the cost of the NCSF-CPT exam, practice test, study guides, and a 1-year membership covered by tuition! Once you graduate, you’ll be ready to sit for your exam without jumping through hoops. We’ll help you get prepped and get done so you can start pursuing your passion for personal training with confidence.


*https://www.fitnessmentors.com/best-personal-trainer-certification/

How can I change careers as an established adult?

Career Why Ashworth Changing Careers to Find Success

If your job no longer excites you as much as it once did, you may need to consider changing careers. It seems like an intimidating idea at first, but no matter where you are in your work life, making a career change could be the solution that leads to a happier, more successful you.

How do you know what to change?

Before you can find success tackling something new, you have to understand what you’re leaving behind. Acknowledging that you are not happy with your current job–and figuring out why–is the first step to making a career change. Many people who are unhappy at work fall into one of these categories:

  1. Contentment with role and responsibilities, but lack of enthusiasm about industry.
  2. Enthusiasm about industry, but a desire for different responsibilities and opportunities.
  3. Lack of fulfillment with position, industry, and everything else that relates to work.

Feelings of discontent are extremely common when it comes to the working life and nearly everyone feels them to some degree at one time or another. But if you’re feeling unhappy at work more often than not, for your own health and well-being, you need to be proactive about making a change on your own terms.

Step one of finding a new path is homing in on what exactly you want to change and why. Write down your "wants" and your "don’t wants” about work. You’re not signing any dotted lines here, you’re just making notes for your own personal reference. Put everything on the table no matter how selfish or outrageous it seems because drawing hard lines between what you want and don’t want makes every step towards a new career much more likely to result in success.

If you need some guidance thinking through your feelings about your work, take this quick quiz to find out what kind of a career change might best suit your needs. You may benefit from a little tweak or you may be inspired to tackle something totally new.

How do you achieve change?

One you figure out what kind of career change will inspire you, you can start taking steps toward it. In some cases, you may just need to ask the boss for a new opportunity or project that will challenge you without taking you too far from your current role. That could require a refresh of your skills, or a few steps into a new subject area. Earning a career-specific certification can be a smart investment here. You can expand your opportunities at work by digging deeper into a creative skill, business skill, trade, or something totally new.

If you’ve determined you need to make a drastic career change, you may need to start a new degree, or finish one you didn’t complete. Don’t worry! Returning to college is not as scary as it seems. The right school can be affordable and flexible to fit into your already busy schedule.

Check out the opportunities here at Ashworth College. We provide online diploma, degree, certificate and career training programs that give you freedom and flexibility to pursue additional education on your time, from your own home, and without the need for Federal student loans. You may find yourself in that dream career a lot faster than you thought possible.

 
Connect With Us

Ready to get started?

Let's talk about your educational goals. Call 1-800-957-5412