What is it like to study as an adult?

Adult learner reading a book

So, what is it like to return to education and enrol in adult learning courses? Here are six things you need to know about it.

Whether you entered employment at 16 or studied at college or university before starting a career, the prospect of taking the first steps into the world of adult education after (or during) time spent in employment can feel daunting. 

From worries that you may have forgotten how to study to how you will fit your studies alongside a job or family responsibilities, there is undoubtedly a lot to think about when it comes to adult learning courses

However, it’s important to remember that at UCEN Manchester you won’t be alone; in returning to education with us, you’ll be on this journey with hundreds of others who have chosen to enter higher education after a long absence from the classroom. We'll help you get started no matter your background. 

So, what’s it like to return to education as an adult? Here are six things that you’ll need to know:

1. Adult learning isn’t that different from studying when you are younger

While this may be hard to believe, studying as an adult isn’t too dissimilar to studying straight out of school. You’ll have lessons with passionate and dedicated tutors, either in a classroom or online. You will take notes and participate in debates and attend practical workshops where appropriate. So, while the subject area or vocation might be new, unfamiliar or more challenging, the basics of learning and studying will be the same.

Of course, your experience of studying as an adult will depend on the quality of teaching and the programmes of work provided – just like when you were younger! At UCEN Manchester you’ll benefit from choosing to study with a holder of the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) Silver status. A mark of our excellent courses and high quality of teaching and learning.

2. You’ll have acquired skills in employment that will make adult education easier

While studying as an adult won’t be that much different to when you were younger, there is a good chance that you will have acquired skills in employment that might actually make it easier. While working, you will have become more disciplined and developed an ability to focus on tasks to make sure that they are completed to a high standard, which will come in very handy to get back on track with your learning.

You will also be more familiar with goals, both setting them and working towards them. And you will have enhanced your teamwork skills – all things that might not have been as developed when you were younger.

In addition, you will also have gained you will have experience from of a variety of situations in your life that will help you in your adult studies.  This combination of better honed skills and experience will serve you well in adult education and might even make it easier than first time round.

3. Adult courses are flexible to fit around you

Most education providers understand that fitting your studies around adult life (the bills, children, responsibilities - just to name a few) is not just daunting but also a potential barrier to learning.

As such they go the extra mile to make sure your studies are as flexible as possible so that they can fit around you. At UCEN Manchester, we ensure flexible timetables which are generally condensed across two to three days during the week, and options to start in January to ensure that our courses are as accessible as possible for you.

And while you will still have to attend some sessions, at UCEN Manchester, every effort is made to provide flexible study time for our adult courses. 

4. Studying as an adult, you'll be surrounded by highly focused people

One of the best things about studying as an adult is that you will be surrounded by highly focused people.

Returning to study is a serious commitment and this is reflected in people’s attitudes and approaches to their courses. The benefits of this? Fewer distractions to start-off with and being surrounded by people who understand the challenges you face and can provide you with support.

In addition to this, at UCEN Manchester we try to keep session sizes small. This not only helps to maintain focus within the group but also helps maximise the time and attention you receive from your tutor.

5. You’ll have an expert, passionate adult learning tutor to guide you every step of the way

When it comes to adult education, all of our tutors are incredibly knowledgeable.

They are also likely to have lots of professional experience in their specific fields and be incredibly passionate about sharing this experience and knowledge with you and thrive by helping to teach and train the next generation.

As such they are highly dedicated and will guide you through every step of your adult education journey. Not only will they deliver lessons, but they will also be on hand to answer your questions and provide constant feedback. Furthermore, they will help you to make valuable connections and links that will help you to secure employment.

At UCEN Manchester our tutors are experts in their chosen industries and are passionate about ensuring you benefit from their experience to gain the right knowledge and skills for your chosen industry.

6. There’s so much support ready to help you succeed in your return to education

The support you will receive won’t stop with your course tutor. You’ll also have access to a wide range of support services to give you every chance of success. At UCEN Manchester, this covers everything from accessing student finance and funding, health and wellbeing, help with childcare, advice and guidance services on courses and careers and a wide range of campus resources including IT and libraries.

By going the extra mile to make you feel comfortable and providing you with everything you need to succeed, our aim is to make it as easy as possible to restart your studies. And that’s probably a major reason why 95% of our students go on to work or further study within 6 months of leaving us!

Take a look at our dedicated adult learner page for more information,  and get in touch with our team for any questions you might have.