Blog Academics, College Preparation

Advice from Adult Students on Returning to the Classroom

Saturday, December 28, 2019

undergrad adult students

Many adults struggle with the thought of going back to school. They know more education can mean a higher earning potential, but allowing themselves to take a leap of faith can often feel overwhelming. University of Northwestern – St. Paul interviewed several adult students and asked them what they would advise an adult who is thinking about going back to school. Here is what they had to say.

“It was scary going back to school. I had only recently gone back to work after being home full time, and I had always had the dream of getting my Master’s Degree. I knew that furthering my education would only benefit me. I have more options now, but the personal growth and spiritual growth that I experienced was an extra blessing on this journey. I have three teenagers and a husband at home, and we all had to do some adjusting and sacrificing. I won’t lie, it was grueling at times. But I knew that God was leading me to do the Human Services Master’s Program, and I believe He gave me the courage and the grit to get it done. I also got to know some amazing, Godly men and women in the process. The program has incredible instructors who also work and serve in our communities. I could not have asked for a better cohort! I cannot wait to see where God leads all of us!”

-Teresa Crane

“I completed my MAED (Master of Arts in Education) last fall, and my advice to prospective adult students is do something your future self will thank you for. We often want to grow, change, or work a different job; taking deliberate action helps achieve that goal. The UNW faculty in the MAED program are wonderfully supportive and the coursework design enabled me to apply what I was learning to my current job! I was challenged and enjoyed learning with and from faculty and other students. Today I am thankful that I invested the time and energy into earning my Master’s degree.”

-Ruth Fries

“If you’re considering going back to school as an adult – go for it! Last year I was dislocated from my job as a Controller; a position I held for 8 years. I was no longer able to support my family. Retuning to College felt like a long shot. Finding a new job, paying for college, and family responsibilities? I work full time as Controller of a $70M Company, am a wife, a mother of 2 and live a 1 ½ hours from campus. How do I do it? With hard work, dedication, the support staff at UNW and Faith. UNW assigned me a personal Admissions Counselor as well as an Academic Advisor who walked me through the process. They are here every step of the way. Most classes are blended or online which means you only have to be on campus one night a week. The support of your Cohorts is amazing as well. If you have any doubt that this is for you, give a call to the Admissions Office, schedule a tour to walk the campus, attend Chapel, talk to the Professors, put yourself in God’s hands and let him walk you through. Do it for yourself! With Faith in God, you will succeed!”

-Tina Goerish

“It can be difficult to work full time, go to class one evening a week, and do homework the rest of the week. Taking the time to own the learning process instead of just treating classes like a box to check helped me apply my education in real time to my career, and made the degree more rewarding in the end. The MBA is a significant time commitment for two years, so having a positive attitude about the program helps as well. It’s best to dive into it, learn as much as you can, get to know your cohort, and embrace the experience with open arms.”

-Paul Moore

“My advice about returning to the classroom after being in the workforce or potential adult students who are scared to go back is to stop telling yourself that you can’t or it’s too late. Those words kept me from advancing my education for many years. Today is a good day, not tomorrow. My experience at Northwestern is pretty much how I thought it would be. Since the adult undergraduate program is mostly online, I knew I could spend some of my spare time taking classes and moving myself closer to my goals. I am a father of 3 children (8years, 5 years, and 10 months old), I work full time in a sales organization, and I’m married full time. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but I also knew it is doable. Like Steve Perry says, ‘Don’t Stop Believing.’”

-Jared Ostby

“The work at Northwestern has impacted every aspect of my vocation, and in fact made clear the connections between vocation and calling that were not clear when I started.”

-Grant Snyder

“It is an academic grind that is so worth it in the end. Earning and receiving my MBA is one of my biggest accomplishments, both personally and professionally. Not many people can say they have their master’s in something. All the hard work and strenuous efforts pay off, and the feeling you get when you walk across that stage is incomparable to anything else. Another thing – earning a master’s degree will never hinder you in your career path – it is only bound to open up bigger and better doors for you. It also challenges you in many ways – personally, professionally, and spiritually. I love that. I want to be someone who is always growing, always learning, always being challenged, etc. Lastly, I stuck with this verse all throughout my undergrad and graduate school…Colossians 3:23: ‘Whatever you do, work at it with ALL your heart, as working for the Lord, not for man.’”

-Calli Durst

“After 26 years in the workforce I chose to go back to school and get my MBA. It was one of the best decisions in my professional career. It was certainly not a casual decision, but I am a believer that one needs to be a life learner to fully experience the wonderful world God has created for us. There are so many educational options and choices for a career employee. However, I chose to pursue my MBA at University of Northwestern, via the online option. It was a two year online commitment but looking back, those months flew by and I have appreciated the personal and financial investment. I enjoyed working through the courses alongside fellow students. We shared how the leanings apply in our various work environments, and pushed each other to think differently. What a gift it was to discover new perspectives from a diverse group of students. From individuals who were just starting out in their career to those who are at the end of their careers. Professors were great mentors and teachers, always going out of their way to support each student’s personal development. However, the Biblical foundation that each course was built from stood out to me as the most valued attribute. Throughout the program, we discussed leadership principles, ethics, and values while integrating God’s Word. This is ultimately the distinction that makes UNW stand out from other programs. After two years, I walked away having learned, experienced growth, and a deeper faith in God, all of which is helping me to be a better leader at work, home and in the community. If you are considering an MBA, I would highly encourage you to consider UNW.”

Dave Venberg

Changes in life can seem scary. However, if you are considering going back to school as a working adult, consult your greatest teacher first: God. He has a plan for you and can guide you in the right direction. Northwestern offers multiple undergraduate and graduate programs for working adults. If you would like to learn more, contact our admissions team to find out your options.