Learning to Learn . . . Again:
5 Steps for a Strong Comeback
Making the decision to return to school after taking time off is a courageous event. With all the courage it takes, you may still wonder whether you have the academic chops to succeed and earn the grades you want.
At Bellevue University, we offer a number of tools and options to accommodate learners coming from a variety of backgrounds. Whether your schedule calls for an accelerated degree plan or are need to fulfill general education requirements, whether you seek out the assistance of the Tutoring & Study Skills Program or require Career Services — Bellevue University is ready to assist you.
Here are five steps you can take to make your return to college a successful one.
- Know Yourself. Think back to the times in school when you learned the most, got the best grades, enjoyed what you were doing. What happened to make your experience a good one? Was it the topic? Was it the instructor? Was it your attitude? Your effort? Your support system? Use elements from these events to duplicate that success in your current/future classes. Consider how you learn best. Is it by seeing? If so, think about ways to diagram, view photos/charts/graphs, and/or watch videos of the topic. If you learn by doing, explore ways in which you can interact with the subject. Do you gain new knowledge best by hearing it? Look for online recordings, videos, and audio books on the topic.
- Use Your Experience. If you've been away from school for a while, you're returning with a unique advantage. Your work and life experiences may be just the raw material you need for examples in class, on discussion boards, on essays, and on papers. Think of ways you can apply life events, books you've read, service you've provided, conclusions you've come to the subject you're studying. This will help you connect what you learn with how you can use what you learn.
- Open Your Mind. There may have been some innovations since you've been in the classroom. Online learning, using smartphone apps, Skype, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, are just a few of the ways that professors are enhancing the learning experience. Online tools like Dropbox, Turnitin, and ebooks can make it easier for you do conduct research and turn in homework. The good news is many of these tools are also used by employers. So getting experience with them in class is a bonus.
- Don't Go It Alone. Colleges and universities want you to succeed. Some of them provide every service (besides taking tests for you) to ensure that happens. Don't be a stranger to your professor. Ask him/her questions whenever you have them. Seek out assistance from tutor and library staff. Attend campus informational sessions on studying techniques and test-taking skills. Talk to your academic advisor about suggestions she/he may have regarding successful choices you can make during your college experience.
- Give It Time. If your study habits don't return at full strength, don't worry. Try various techniques to energize your mind like book highlighting, chapter outlining, reading out loud, and study groups. Make flash cards and mind maps. Share what you're learning with family and friends. Read the "optional" articles and other reference material provided by your professor to gain more knowledge. Most importantly, be patient and stick with what works.
Learning to learn is a matter of preparing your mind to do what it was created to do: assign meaning to your experiences. When you understand yourself, use what you know and what's available. When you are patient with yourself, you have a much better chance of achieving the academic success you want and deserve.
Ready to get started with Bellevue University? Contact us today at 1-800-756-7920 or OneStop@Bellevue.edu.
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