Considering a Spring Enrollment? Four Questions to Ponder Before You Commit - Geneva College
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Considering a Spring Enrollment? Four Questions to Ponder Before You Commit

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Adult Students Career

Have you heard? 27 is the new 18. Adult, or “nontraditional,” students are enrolling in college degree programs in increasingly large numbers. It’s understandable, given today’s challenging economy.

The National Adult Learner Coalition (NALC) estimates that “65 percent of American jobs will require some level of post-secondary education by 2020.” Consequently, the NALC estimates that by 2019, the share of students over age 25 will increase by 23 percent. Heading back to school as an adult learner poses a whole new set of challenges and logistics to work through. Life is typically far more complicated, with employment obligations and families to factor in. Before you join the student body for spring semester and become a member of the fastest-growing segment in higher education, take some time to reflect on these four questions designed to help you transition into your new adventure more smoothly.

1) What are your goals?

Are you earning a degree to increase your earning power, make a total career change, or advance to a higher level in your current field? Spend some time in contemplation to get clear on your motives for enrolling in a program, and draft a list of personally meaningful goals that are relevant to your life and your God-given purpose.

Remember that to be effective, your goals need to be SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-oriented. Find inspiration in these Biblical verses:

“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.”

- Proverbs 16:3 (NIV)

“In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.”

- Proverbs 16:9 (NIV)

2) What are your passions?

Do you live to serve? Love to write? Is the natural world a constant source of wonder and awe for you? Tailoring your higher education program to your personal interests and existing strengths makes the learning process stimulating and engaging.

Try to align your degree program with your God-given gifts so that your time in school becomes a fascinating process of exploration. As each new course reveals new aspects of yourself, a continual process of discovery will keep you inspired.

3) What are your resources?

If you’re like 70 percent of college students, you’re trying to juggle college with employment or families. A 2015 study by researchers at Georgetown University found that over the last 25 years, 14 million individuals have been working while enrolled, and 3.9 million postsecondary students in the United States are parents.

The challenge this poses is evidenced by the research that shows students attending higher education on a part-time basis are less likely to earn a credential, according to the Education Commission of the States. Going back to school requires time, money, and support.

Try these tips:

Enlist your employer’s support so you enjoy more flexibility in your work schedule.

  •   Explore loans, grants, and scholarships that might be available to help subsidize your education so you can work less. The average age of Pell Grant recipients is 26 and has been rising for the last 20 years. 95 percent of Geneva’s adult students receive some form of financial aid.
  •   Solicit help from family and friends if you struggle to cover childcare, chores, or meals. Share your educational goals with them so they feel invested in your success.
  •   Find a degree program that accommodates your schedule such as an online or accelerated format designed for busy adults.

4) What’s your timeline?

Do you need to get your degree in as little as 16 months, or can you take your time and go at your own pace? Getting clear on your time frame helps chart your course and lets you find the right program of study that serves both your goals and your lifestyle.

“May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.”

- Psalm 20:4 (NIV)

If you’d like to learn more about the biblically based, Christ-centered education at Geneva, we’d love to chat with you. For more information on how Geneva College can help you pursue your career goals, please phone us at 855-979-5563 or email

Opinions expressed in the Geneva Blog are those of its contributors and do not necessarily represent the opinions or official position of the College. The Geneva Blog is a place for faculty and contributing writers to express points of view, academic insights, and contribute to national conversations to spark thought, conversation, and the pursuit of truth, in line with our philosophy as a Christian, liberal arts institution.

Nov 27, 2017