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How Adult Online Students are Different than Their Younger Peers

written by: Storywriter•edited by: Amanda Grove•updated: 8/17/2010

It's frightening to go back to that world of education again. The average online student has been out of school for fifteen years and a lot of the basic 3 R's have been left behind. Now you have a family and a job that take up your time. Remember,you're doing this for you and your family's future.

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    If you ever thought school was easy for you, think again. Adult online students are different than their younger peers. There are a plethora of reasons why adult learners are different and why you need to be prepared for the challenges that you may face with online education. Adults have been away from school for awhile, they have family obligations, and they are employed.

    First of all, we have been out of school for awhile. Because of this, a lot of the basic grammar, punctuation, usage, and vocabulary that we learned when we were in high school have been long forgotten in an age of text messaging and other forms of short hand. The average online student according to the University of Phoenix student advisors at is in their early to mid thirties. That last English class was a distant memory and terms like subjects and verbs, indirect objects, and prepositional phrases are long forgotten. To help with any of the writing problems that you may suffer with, the best site that I use daily is Purdue's OWL website-

    And that is just the English part of going back to school. What about the math and science that you may need to brush up on for these nex classes? There are so many different types of science classes that you may be taking and as a teacher, I always refer to which has the hundred most used science website for science teachers. As this site you can go to the specific type of science from bioligy to advance physics.

    If you haven't used any sophisticated math in a long time and only use addition and subtraction for your shopping lists, there are good sites that will help you. Blackwell's site has basic elementary math all of the way up to advanced calculus at

    Other help is available,too. I am a visual learner and as an adult learner a wonderful visual website that you can refer to for almost everything is Youtube. If you don't want to refer to websites and you prefer written ways to fresh up your skills, you can go to the local teacher's store and get all of the how to's that you can handle.ACT and SAT practise tests will fill your head with all of the English, and math that you can stand.

    Now that you know where to get all of the : "catch-up" materials, the real concerns arise with the two major factors. Adults have families and employment. In dealing with family, there needs to be a time and place that you can go to every day that will be your personal "school zone". It needs to be a place that is off limits to everyone and it should be quiet. No matter what is happening in your schedule, it is very important to go there and not be interrupted-EVER. Make sure it has all of the materials you need so that you have no excuses to leave the room.

    Your foremost problem could be your work schedule. Make your online education part of that work schedule and if you have the type of job that changes times and locations, you will have to move your school zone around. The key is to not let the problems from the work place interfere with your school work. Do something as a catharsis to wipe out all that from your head before you start your online education.

    I know this all sounds like a lot of work. It is worth it-really worth it. You owe it to yourself and your family. So, best of luck.