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Time And Effort Pay Off For Returning Students

  • Article by: Nancy Crotti
  • Star Tribune Sales and Marketing
  • January 20, 2010 - 4:12 PM

Learning is like a gym membership, according to an education professor from Bethel University (www.bethel.edu) in Arden Hills.

"You can join a gym but it does not help you get into shape if you don't put in the time," explains Judy Landrum, who has taught a college-readiness class for adult learners.

Landrum suggests that prospective students analyze their current work schedule and determine how much time they can devote to their education. "Time management is the biggest piece when you're an adult going back to school," Landrum says. "If you don't have time to work with, you can't manage it."

Study Hard And Manage Time Wisely

If you do have the time, you should use it to study, according to Susan Huber, director of the Academic Resource Center at Argosy University in Eagan (www.argosy.edu).

"There are more students who come not having a clue that they're going to have to put in a lot of effort," says Huber. "When they realize how much they have to do, school is a struggle for some students and other students breeze right through. The students who struggle need to change their habits or form new habits to help them to retain the ideas they have to retain."

Time management is essential for online or "hybrid" courses that combine classroom and online learning, according to Huber. "It takes a great degree of motivation and the ability to self-start to be successful as an online or `hybrid' student," she observes.

Sharpen The Basic Skills

Landrum strongly recommends that students hone their reading and writing skills by reading all kinds of materials, including literature that's below their reading level, to build background knowledge and improve reading speed and comprehension.

"You've got to read quickly, and retain and comprehend what you are reading," she stresses. "Without reading fluency and background knowledge, this is very difficult for anyone to do."

Students should try to connect what they are reading to their own lives, to other things they've read and to the world at large, according to Landrum. "Be aware of, `Am I understanding this? What do I want to remember?'" she advises.

Argosy began offering a student success class last fall and has a counseling center staffed with full-time faculty and other students ready to help those who are struggling. The key is to ask for help and ask early enough for it to make a difference, according to Huber.

"It's a wonderful opportunity for students," she says.

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