Want to build on your past knowledge? Go back to college.

Building on a Solid Foundation


One of the greatest advantages that adult learners have is a level of “real world” experience that college aged students do not have.  Since one of the more common motivations behind adults who go back to get more education is a motivation to move up in their current organizations. They have current employment in the fields in which they are studying.  This can be great for an adult learner’s confidence in terms of getting back in the swing of academia since a lot of the basic course material is something the adult learner could be very familiar with.

On the other hand, this “real world” experience can also lead to over confidence or be a hindrance to the learning process.  I say this because it is easy to blow off material or not pay close attention in a class when the course work is going over a concept in a basic way theoretically when you as a student have complicated practical experience with the concept.  This is dangerous because it can put an adult student in a mind set of just breezing by to get the certificate or degree for the sake of advancement and not really learning and gaining a better understanding of the subject matter.   Keep in mind that some of the younger students will not have the practical work experience that you will so classes maybe frustrating at times,  Also keep in mind that you may be seeking this degree for advancement so you are, in some ways, seeking an edge over others who want the same promotion you do.  Keeping an open mind and trying to find out new ways of looking at an old concept or ways of examining certain processes that may be more efficient are definitely things to focus on when studying for your degree.

Recognizing Strengths


It is important to note your strengths both when it comes to existing knowledge you have as well as recognizing how you best learn.  One of the most important steps in building on something is recognizing what that something is.  As an adult learner it is important to take inventory of your strengths and weaknesses in different areas so that you can better reinforce your foundation of knowledge.  


An Old Dog Learning New Tricks
Having an experience level and an advanced knowledge of a subject area prior to entering the study of it is a great advantage to have.  You will want to maximize this advantage and one way to do this is by sitting down and figuring out what aspects of this area of study you know really well and have improvised on as well as what areas you really want to focus on improving for yourself.  By doing this, you are setting up a learning strategy that best suites you while at the same time developing what questions to ask and specific areas to pursue.  This will also help you target what resources are available to you thanks to your institution that would otherwise not be.  Sitting in a class and absorbing knowledge the professors give is certainly valuable along with the degree or certificate, but building on you past knowledge can be a much more active process.  The more know-how you can pull out of this experience beyond just the degree can have a huge impact on your career advancement.  Even for students who are looking into a new career, there are abilities and skills that experience has given to you that will cross over into any industry so building on those abilities will be a huge advantage.

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