Working Adults Going Back to School

Excitement and opportunity abound as children and teenagers get ready to go back to school. But the enthusiasm—and pressure—of this season are also affecting more adults. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), higher education enrollment of students age 25 and older rose 43 percent between 2000 and 2009. From 2010 to 2019, NCES projects a 23 percent rise in college enrollments of students age 25 and older.

Many adults are striving to find the balance between work, family and education; others feel they are too overwhelmed by responsibilities to even consider pursuing a higher degree.

Online education is a great solution for working adults seeking an advanced degree. Online programs enable working adults to accommodate their busy schedules. However, despite the schedule flexibility that online learning offers, adult students must prioritize their responsibilities and commitments in order to complete assignments on time.

“Parents aren’t the only ones who need to understand that going back to school is a time-consuming process—everyone in the family should understand the commitment as well,” says Savitri Dixon-Saxon, Ph.D., LPC, NCC, associate dean of Walden University’s School of Counseling and Social Service. Walden University offers more than 60 online doctoral, master’s and bachelor’s degree programs.

Here are five tips from Dr. Dixon-Saxon for achieving balance:

•    Choose a focus or specialization that you truly care about. The juggling act will be much more challenging for you if you don’t enjoy your field of study. Choose a focus area you are passionate about.

•    Set aside time for your studies. Set specific time frames for studying and completing assignments. This requires discipline and time management, but once you establish a routine, it can help keep you on track.

•    Find a place to do your studies. It’s easy to be distracted, so find a quiet place to study away from excessive noise and interruptions.

•    Ask for help. Make connections early on with classmates and faculty members to set up online study groups and start the term off right.

•    Renew your energy. Take time for yourself as part of your schedule. Spend time with your family and friends to recharge your batteries.

For additional tips for a successful online learning experience, go to

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