A woman holding a stack of books while smiling.

Going to college and earning a degree is challenging enough on its own. Adding personal obligations, a full-time job, and a demanding family on top of that may seem like an impossible task. However, that task can be made quite possible by exploring all your options and taking proactive measures. 

At SDSU Global Campus, students of all ages are invited to enroll in an assortment of courses. To accommodate the hectic schedule of working professionals, nearly every program is entirely or predominantly asynchronous and can be completed in a short time period. 

Although returning to college may seem daunting, there are several steps you can take to ensure that you can make the most of going back to college, while also not falling short on your other commitments. Here are some of the most common obstacles that you may encounter as an adult learner, followed by solutions to conquer them. 

Six Common Obstacles 

  1. Time: One of the most common obstacles for returning college students is time or a lack of it. With a full-time job and plenty of responsibilities to fulfill, the majority of adults do not believe they have enough time to enroll in additional courses as well. Fortunately, SDSU Global Campus offers many online, asynchronous programs that are taught by seasoned professionals. Enrolling in an asynchronous program is a great alternative for working college students, as it allows them to complete their work at whatever time works best for them while staying on top of their other responsibilities as well. 
  2. Cost: Students who decide to return to their education eventually face the issue of the cost of university. Not only is tuition expensive, but textbooks, campus parking, and other additional expenses add up quickly. However, at SDSU Global Campus, nearly all of the online programs offered are a cost-effective way to earn your education. Even though returning to college may be a financial burden at first, it will likely lead to an increased salary or advancement in your career. Therefore, it’s best to remember that even though returning to school might break the bank at first, it will likely be an investment that will pay off in the long run. 
  3. Fear of failure: In a recent study done by Linkagoal, a goal-based social productivity platform, over 31% of surveyed adults feared failure. With the fear of failure being so common among adults, returning to college may seem particularly intimidating. However, there is a key solution you can take to reduce that fear. For starters, setting distinct goals is an important method of measuring your success. Once you achieve the goals you identified, it’s important to find a way to celebrate your success. Accomplishing your goals and honoring your accomplishments is crucial when combating the fear of failure, as it keeps you motivated and leaves you in a positive state of mind. 
  4. Lack of support: Although the stereotypical college student is fresh out of high school and merely 18 years old, the reality is much different. According to the U.S. Department of Education, roughly 40% of college students are 25 years of age or older, which means that returning to college as an adult is not as uncommon as people like to think. Many adult learners are also concerned about not receiving support from their employers as well. However, enrolling in programs at accredited institutions demonstrates the ability and desire to learn sought-after skills that will likely impress your employer. Additionally, the majority of universities offer support-based resources as well. For instance, at SDSU Global Campus, the Associated Students organization and student support advisors provide resources for their students. They help ensure each student feels supported and makes their college education worthwhile.           
  5. Uncertainty: Many adults who return to college are concerned about how valuable going back will be for them. However, according to Insider Higher Ed, an online publication that provides news regarding college and university-related topics, adult learners earned roughly $7,500 more each year after returning to college. By returning to school, enrolling in university-level courses taught by industry professionals, and learning from your peers’ experiences, you can learn and acquire a variety of new skills that you can apply to the workplace, regardless of your major or field of study. 
  6. Accessibility: Returning to college can raise issues around accessibility. As previously mentioned, some returning students struggle with the cost of tuition, some struggle with time management, and others struggle with a whole different set of issues. However, at certain online institutions, like SDSU Global Campus, nearly every class is taught in an asynchronous format to be accessible to working professionals. With this format, you will have full access to course materials to complete assignments in between your busy day. Additionally, the majority of programs can be finished in less than two years and can be completed without sacrificing your career, family time, or other responsibilities.     

The Big Picture

All in all, returning to college as an adult comes with an abundance of obstacles. However, by taking the proper, proactive measures, all of these challenges can be easily overcome. As you can see, continuing your education does not have to be a dreadful task, but instead, a pathway that will lead to bigger and better opportunities.