The Do's and Don'ts of Taking Summer College Courses as an Adult Learner

Beth Dumbauld

summer_studyingTo advance in your career, you'll need to regularly upgrade your skills. This may mean taking a class or two this summer - or you may find that you need to earn a degree. Continuing your education online is particularly attractive to adult learners. Online education allows you to learn anywhere, anytime – and at your own pace.

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Before you enroll in classes this summer, here are several of the important do’s and don’ts of taking college courses that adult learners should consider:

DO:  Think about how your existing job or career could be enhanced by completing college courses this summer for credit.

  • Could a couple of college courses be standing between you and a promotion?
  • Could earning your degree make a significant difference in your take-home pay, job satisfaction, and career trajectory?

Whether you are looking to advance your skills in business, communications, or in a health care related field, taking summer online college courses can help set the stage for career advancement – and personal growth.

DON'T:  Assume that the online college courses you take will be less challenging or rewarding than courses taken on a campus.

These days online courses and online colleges and universities are a critical part of higher education – and must go through the same rigorous evaluation process as their on-campus counterparts. According to data from the 2013 Survey of Online Learning study from Babson, 90% of academic leaders believe that it is likely that a majority of all college students will be taking at least one online course in five years time.

DO: Recognize you can earn an associates, bachelor’s, or master’s degrees completely online. You don’t ever have to step on a campus.

According to the Babson study, over 7.1 million students took at least one online course during the fall term – and 33% of all higher education students now take at least one course online.

DON'T: Assume there is a limit to the type of degree you can earn online.

Every day, online students are earning degrees in fields such as nursing, teaching, business, technology, psychology and engineering. Many of these students start college by taking the general education courses they need for their degree through low cost online college course providers – and then transferring them into their degree program of choice.

Want to know how to get started? Get your free personalized degree plan today!

DO: Recognize it may have been a while since you’ve last been enrolled in school.

Things may have changed since then; particularly the role technology plays in education. Taking classes online not only allows you to refresh your academic credentials, upgrade your skills, and earn college credit – it also brings you face-to-face with interactive technologies. From online blackboards to virtual tutoring to at-home online test proctoring – you can take the lessons learned from your online learning experience and apply them immediately at home and at work.

DON'T:  Think going back to college has an age limit.

Midcourse career corrections and reassessments are common these days. You don’t have to settle for the status quo if your career is not working for you. If you have always felt that a healthcare field would be a good professional fit, why not check out courses that can lead to an online nursing degree or a career in healthcare support and administration ? Likewise for accounting, business, or engineering – you can find courses online that can help take you wherever you’d like to go.

DO:  Continue to work while taking online college classes for credit.

The advantages of taking online courses that can earn you college credit over the summer are many, including:

  • Flexibility and convenience
  • Cost and affordability
  • Transferability into degree programs

The courses you complete this summer can have a long lasting impact on your professional and academic future.

DON'T:  Forget that if you are a parent, you are the ultimate inspiration for your children.

Instead of telling your kids that education is important, show them. Going back to college and earning your degree is beneficial to you, your career, and your family network.

Taking your summer college courses online offers the ultimate summer break – a break from the cost and constraints of the traditional education system. Who knows? If you enjoy taking online classes over the summer, you may find out that you do have what it takes to earn a degree without ever stepping on a campus.

Need to know how to get credit this summer? Download our free Quick Guide to Online Summer Courses

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