Tips for Counseling Adult Learners

If you are intent on working with adult learners, you have one great advantage: You, too, are an adult. You can relate to them as adults, rather than as youngsters or teenagers who are often focused on non-academic matters in their lives.

Adult learners are eager to succeed academically, and they want your help both in the classroom and in finding a career that utilizes their new education. They are receptive to your message, unlike many teens. Remember, that they have returned to college or a vocational program because their current job is either a dead-end or unsatisfying. They WANT to succeed; they WANT your help. They are not visiting with you because their parents are forcing them to do it; they are visiting with you because they want to do it.

You are the trusted expert. Take advantage of this strong position to be at your best, and to give your best. When counseling an adult learner, be direct, be positive, and show them the way. Give them specific steps they need to achieve, and then have them contact you by email to prove that they have done what you suggest. Adult learners are task-oriented, and they will complete the tasks that you define.

It’s a much easier situation than academic counseling for teens. And you will see the results of your work in just a few years, as the people graduate from academic and vocational programs and make their way into positive job situations.