Adult learner

Looking to finish your degree but don't know how to start? Check out our tips for getting "unstuck" as an adult learner.

Life is full of ups and downs, patterns and ruts, surprises and challenges. Years ago, during a summer spent performing odd jobs and fieldwork in the farmlands of Nebraska, I assisted in repairing fences for a farmer who owned several sheep. As we moved along the fence line, we came upon the first of several sheep that poked their heads through the fence trying to reach greener grass on the other side. As a result, their heads got stuck. Have you ever been stuck?

While I waited for some instructions on what to do, the farmer simply said “do something about it.”  No five-step plan. No warnings. Just, “do something about it.”

I work with many adult learners who have stopped working on their degrees. Many of them seem stuck, unsure of how to proceed or if they can restart their academic plans. My advice? Do something about it.

Tips to get “unstuck” an adult learner

Whether you are returning to finish your degree through Concordia’s accelerated programs or at another college, you can use these tips to get “unstuck” and accomplish your goals.

Do something

This begins with a new application. University systems make changes often, therefore submitting a new application will help get you started. When you apply to Concordia’s adult accelerated programs you will be connected with an admissions counselor (like myself) who can help resurrect or start your file.

Locate your records

While not required, digging out your old records and communications with advisors and other staff will help you become familiar with your academic standing. Many times, we remember things differently than they actually are. Therefore, this process will help you pick up where you left off. Some students may even have unpaid balances that must be resolved before being re-admitted.

Understand the evaluation process

Concordia’s degrees and programs are routinely updated to reflect current trends and requirements of the professional community. The records of returning students must be evaluated first. Then, degree plans may need to be adjusted if changes have occurred.

Concordia’s student record analyst, who works in the registrar’s office, Amy Hillenbrand states “Students need to fulfill the requirements of the catalog year in which they are re-entering. This may mean that previously taken courses may no longer apply to their major or core plan and new courses may be required.”

The leadership of each program is given responsibility for considering older courses and determining if older credits can continue to be counted within a degree. This may create some delays as the registrar’s office works with the departments. Once completed, your assigned Career & Academic Advisor will discuss the evaluation and how best to re-start your degree.

Trust the professionals

Getting back into your classes involves a variety of changes. That’s why we have many professionals in place to assist you such as advisors, tutors, resource professionals, IT specialists, and financial aid counselors. The accelerated program is designed to be flexible for you as an adult learner. Our professionals are familiar with changes and helping each individual. Trust them and the process!

Have faith in yourself

Past failures and challenges don’t define your academic future. Like a sheep stuck in the fence, you do not have to stay there. Once you make the decision to return, address everything that you can control like your finances, schedule, and motivation.

Students just like you have returned to finish degrees and most, through the experiences of life, have found a new attitude and passion for completing their degree.

Ready to dive in?

To learn more about the accelerated degrees and programs offered for adult learners, please visit CUWAA Accelerated Admissions.

If this story has inspired you, why not explore how you can help further Concordia's mission through giving.