Adult Education course Options and Choices

Adult education often presents an exciting, new challenge for baby boomers and retirees. Deciding on the right course may appear to be a foreboding, confusing and frustrating task for students returning to school, particularly after spending many years in the work force. New students and others may have difficulty choosing courses too, because there are so many different course options offered by high schools, colleges and universities.

An online course might prove to be a viable option, as well. For example, MDE Learning Solutions offers online course options, specific to computer programs. 

How to decide on the right course involves a number of factors including the following:

What courses does the high school, college or university offer?

Your decision about the course you take may depend in part on the courses offered in your area.  If you are not able to find the course of your choice, you may have to attend another institution. Seek advisement on courses and course curriculums from high school, college or university guidance counselors. Certain courses may be offered and not others, depending upon the institution and semester in question.   

What is your motivation for taking the course?

As a student, you will probably do well in a course you are motivated to take. Do not enroll in a course unless you are serious about taking it. You may take it and find that you are interested in it, but the opposite can happen too. You could be wasting your time, as well as that of your teacher, professor and others, so be careful in your course choice.    

Is the course you want to take a required course or an interest level course?

Students take courses for many different reasons. A required course is one you have to take because it is compulsory. In other words, in order to meet the requirements for other academic programs, jobs or careers, a course is obligatory. An interest level course is one that you take because you are interested in a particular subject.  It is not compulsory. Many adults take courses purely for interest’s sake or as a way to meet others who have similar interests.

Do you qualify for the course?

Most, but not all courses, have some basic prerequisites. Not everyone qualifies for every course, as there can be requirements for courses depending upon their academic level and degree of complexity. In other words, as a student, you may have to take a preliminary course or a series of other courses first, depending upon your choice of an academic program or career. After you demonstrate success, you become eligible to enroll in the course you are considering.   

Can you afford the cost of the course?

Courses can be expensive, so do not waste money taking inappropriate or unnecessary courses. Adult education courses offered through high schools or community programs have minimal cost, but may not give the necessary prerequisites for other courses. On the college or university level, there are designated fees for courses. There may be other costs too, for example, tools or equipment needed in the course. The cost of textbooks and other school supplies may or may not be included in the cost of the course.

Is the time of the course appropriate?

Adults and other students taking courses often have full time or part time jobs. When the course runs, may vary from regular daytime classes to weekly evening classes. You should plan to be in class, as well as attend all tests, examinations, field trips, etc. scheduled at other times. Teachers and professors may be relatively flexible, but are not always willing to take on students who cannot participate appropriately because of their time schedules.

How to decide upon the course you take depends to some extent upon you and your needs in relation to the course itself. Internet research will help you to discover your most viable options. You may also consider taking an online course if you are not able to find the kind of course you need or want to take locally. 

Remember that the course you choose can help to determine your future, so make a wise choice. You will be glad that you did.