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How understanding are professors about the challenges adult students face?

  • Professors enjoy older students because they ask questions and make comments that generate class discussions.
  • Remember that your instructors really do want to help you succeed, even if they are younger than you! 
  • Many instructors have helpful tips they can give you about how to study and take their tests that go beyond the general classroom guidelines they give. 
  • When you seek out help from instructors it builds a good rapport with them and sets a foundation for better learning.
  • Ask questions when you don't understand material. If you still have trouble, be sure to visit during the instructor's office hours or email them. 
  • Don't be afraid to admit when you are unclear about material. Be willing to carefully evaluate how you learn and process information, and then share that with your instructors.
  • Inform the professors and instructors about circumstances that cut into one's study time.  Many times older students are responsible for the care of their parents as well as their children.  Whatever the circumstance, it is always helpful if the professor realizes that the older student is continuing to fulfill the requirements of the course assignments in spite of time constraints.
  • Get to know your professors and instructors. Let them know your situation (i.e. married, children, full or part time job, etc). Then if a time comes and you are not able to attend class, send them an e-mail to let them know why. I have found most professors and instructors are much more flexible and understand our situation if we let them know about it.
  • Take math classes at night if possible. They are often taught by high school math teachers. Their explanations are often easier to understand.
  • As a nontraditional student, you are more likely to have 'real world' experience that the average traditional student has not encountered. This information can help other students. I was once told by a fellow classmate that about half of his notes in our class were things I had shared or suggested.