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Four Steps to Guide Your Adult Learner to College Acceptance

Tuesday, August 2, 2016 -- Megan Sternke

Attending college later in life is a very different experience as compared to enrolling directly after high school graduation. Work, family, and financial responsibilities make every aspiring adult learner’s situation unique, and at times, the enrollment process can feel daunting. Despite this, adults are going back to school more than ever before in search of new opportunities. Whether the decision is inspired by personal interest or a desire for career advancement, a solid plan is key to successfully navigating the path to higher learning. Here are four steps to help your learners get started on the path to college acceptance.

1. Determine College Readiness

Before anything else, learners must ask themselves if they’re college ready. College readiness encompasses a number of requirements, one of which is having the time and motivation to make learning a priority again. Just as important, learners need to determine if their current skills are relevant enough to be successful in the program they’re considering. Whether they have been out of the classroom for a long time or simply haven’t done as well as hoped for in recent classes, there is no shame in admitting a need to brush up on skills in order to be prepared for higher education.

2. Find the Right Path

The next step for your learners is to consider their background, experience, and end goals in order to determine which higher education path is best for them. For example, if they are aiming for a promotion within their current career, a short-term certificate program to brush up on and gain formal recognition for skills they’re already using may be a good option. If the learner is looking to gain specific skills and knowledge in a new field, then a 2-year degree from a technical or trade school could be a better choice. A bachelor’s degree from a four year institution is the best option if the learner is looking for a career in a more complicated field or has interest in pursuing an advanced degree. Overall, your learner must decide what path will take them to their end goal in the most economical, efficient way possible.

3. Fill in the Gaps

All learners have areas of strength and weakness. Once the decision to pursue higher education has been made, it’s key for your learners to identify their own areas of difficulty and start working to fill in those gaps. Online solutions like Edmentum Adult + HigherEd can provide diagnostic testing to determine which topics and skills your learners should focus on, and allow you to easily find and assign content to support their needs. Formative assessments help you monitor student progress, and features like Plato Courseware’s Flex Assignments enable you to individualize online courses and assignments accordingly.

4. Start the Admissions Process

Once you feel that your learners are college ready, encourage them to begin the process of applying to relevant institutions. Many schools require applicants to take the ACCUPLACER® test or a similar placement assessment to determine whether they are prepared to enroll in college level classes. Many colleges will accept applicants with scores below the college-ready threshold, but require that they complete a series of developmental or remedial courses before enrolling in credit-bearing courses. Often students are unaware of this additional step and the requirements for them to begin earning credits. In order to avoid being waylaid by non-credit courses, it is important that students are prepared in advance. For some a simple refresher of the assessed topics is enough, but for others more intensive preparation is required.  

No matter what is driving your learners to start down the path to higher education, there are plenty of resources available to help you guide them towards success. Interested in finding out more about how online solutions from Edmentum can help you support your adult learners? Check out our variety of effective workforce readiness programs