No Excuses When Continuing Education as an Adult

If you’re ready to start the next phase of your life and return to college to continue your education, it’s usually exhilarating and nerve-racking all at the same time. The good news is you’re not the only one going through it. Adults everywhere are making the same types of tough decisions. Just like you, many of them are writing college application essays. The National Association for College Admission Counseling suggests you start early in order to write an essay that truly reflects who you are. Starting early also gives you time to stop, think and avoid these essay pitfalls.

adult education tips to go back to school

Make Excuses

If you had a rough patch your first time in college, own up to it and explain what you learned from the experience. Rather than saying that you’re a single mother and didn’t have time to look over your homework, say that the experience taught you to be self-reliant. Rather than making excuses for things that didn’t go well, find a way to show how the less successful periods helped you grow.

Ignore Specified Word Count

Writing a book when all your college entrance committee wanted was a page is not going to earn you a favorable impression. There are specific reasons they want you to keep it to a particular word count. They want to know how concisely you can state your case, and they don’t have all the time in the world to read essays. Take your time writing so that you can use as few words as possible to make the greatest impact.


There are a couple of novice “tells.” One is writing in caps and the other is using unnecessary punctuation, such as exclamation points. No matter how deeply you feel about anything, there’s rarely a reason to spice up the punctuation. If you’re unsure of your grammar or punctuation, take advantage of one of the many free online writing aids.

Tell a Whopper (or Two)

You might not want to claim that you’ve climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro unless you actually have. For one thing, it’s bragging and may not be a great indicator of the kind of student you will be. Also, you never know when you’re going to get called out on it. The best policy is to tell the truth, even if that truth feels rather boring to you.

Share Too Much

There is absolutely no reason to let a school know that they are your second choice. For example, writing “I hope to be admitted to the Ontario paralegal programs at Everest College, but will consider your school if it doesn’t work out,” is rude.

Act as Though You’re Sending a Text or Posting Online

Remember that you’re not texting with a friend. That means that you want to avoid all cutesy fillers (like “lol”) and maintain a professional tone. Your entrance essay should be respectful, as though the person reading it might determine your future. Consider the same rules as you use on social media; what is online will reflect you and what you write in your entrance exam will do the same.

Do Something Outrageous

If you believe that heavily perfumed paper, confetti or an essay written on the bottom of a shoe is clever, you might want to think again. All the committee is interested in is who you really are, the kind of student you are likely to be and whether you will fit on their campus. Save the surprises for you kid’s birthday.

When you’re done with your essay, give it to someone you trust to read. Another set of eyes will help you see what you’ve written more clearly.

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3 Responses to “No Excuses When Continuing Education as an Adult”

  1. Student

    Aug 25. 2013

    You’re never to old for education. The day we stop learning is the day we…

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  2. Jessy

    Sep 11. 2013

    I really want to study more for higher education an job, but have to manage my family as well

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  3. Janessa

    Sep 01. 2014

    That’s a skillful answer to a dilcufift question

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