Going back to college can be daunting for anyone, especially adult learners whose last formal, educational experiences might have been years, if not decades, prior.

Kali Dunlap, an instructor and adviser with the Mississippi State College of Professional and Continuing Studies, said preparing for a successful return to learning can simply be a matter of preparation and knowing when to seek help.

She offers the following tips to help online or adult learners find success back in school.

Set clear goals and expectations: State why you’re pursuing your degree and what goals you’d like to achieve upon degree completion. Having clear goals will keep you motivated and focused during your academic journey.

Create a realistic schedule: Balancing work, family and college studies can be challenging. Develop a realistic schedule that allocates time for coursework in addition to other commitments. Be flexible but also disciplined in following your schedule to ensure steady progress.

Stay organized and manage time effectively: Use organizational tools such as calendars, to-do lists and apps to keep track of assignments, deadlines and important dates. Effective time management is key to juggling multiple responsibilities successfully.

Utilize available support services: Take advantage of the support services offered, such as academic advisers, the MSU Career Center and online resources. These services are designed to help you succeed academically and navigate other challenges you may face.

Practice self-care and maintain work-life-study balance: Remember to take care of your physical, emotional and mental well-being throughout your educational journey. Set aside time for relaxation, exercise, hobbies and spending quality time with friends and family. Establishing boundaries between work, school and your personal life is essential to avoid burnout while still achieving your goals.