Here are some tips that I hope will help you.
1. Stay organized. Make sure you take notes or record your classes, if taking them face to face. Do not miss any classes. Make sure to leave yourself enough time to log on when taking online classes too. Use separate notebooks for each class, so your notes don't get mixed up. Bring at least two working pens with you to face-to-face classes.
2. Make sure to have your books in advance. If you haven't done this, then that is OK, just get them as soon as you can. You can rent them now, or download them too, so you do have some choices that you didn't used to have. Try to find a locker at school if you can so you can put things in it while you are in class. Some nontraditional student groups rent these by the semester.
3. Invest in a good backpack. Rollers on the backpack are OK if you want, but they are not necessary. It is much easier to carry books and notebooks in one.
4. Start a study group at once if you know that the class will be difficult. Ask for phone numbers in each class so if you DO have to miss, you will be able to find out what happened. Safety hint: get at least three different names and numbers of class members, and keep them in a safe place. If you do decide to start a study group, do it early, and have at least 3-4 members in it.
5. Take the time to get to know your teachers or professors. It could help down the road. If you have trouble understanding something, ASK - - after class, or during office hours, or via email. Take advantage of the free Learning Centers on campus or Help Centers.
6. Make sure to see your school Advisor regularly. This can prevent expensive mistakes, missing a pre-requisite, etc. And if you are not sure what you want to study, or want to change your major (and this could be VERY expensive) talk with them first. And ask them if you can take an Aptitude Test. It might guide you to what you could best succeed at scholastically. Make sure the classes you are taking can be transferred to other schools too.
7. Fill out your OFFICIAL Fafsa form for sure. This can get you financial help, if you qualify. The official website is here: http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/.
8. When scheduling classes on campus, make sure you have time to get to each one.
9. Make sure to sign up for classes EARLY, the day signups are available online. You could miss out on a class if you don't. And then you have to pay for 1-2 or more extra semesters. This could mount up fast.
10. Keep a count on the money you are using up in loans. You will have to pay these, so it could make it worth your while to find cheap housing and maybe a food card. See what works for you. If you do not have money to eat out, bring food and something to drink with you to school, just in case.
11. Make sure you use a CALENDAR and mark down each due date for each assignment. Spread out your work. Check your calendar every day. And don't miss any classes. Schedule your study time for each class. Some suggest at least 1/2 per day per class. Others need more time. (Think: 1 hour or more per class, per day.)
12. Use the Study Guides and Strategies website to help you study SMART.
And enjoy your time at school! It can be very fun to learn things! And fun to make new friends, and have a new, bright future for yourself and your family.
Here are some related sites and links:
Are you doing what you really want to do? (This posting has some aptitude tests on it)
Using your calendar schedulers - some tips
Student loans: what you should know: some tips
5 Calendar Tips for nontraditional students
Get to know your college professors
3. Some Nontrad links: The Nontrad site and blog Join Nontrads on Facebook Nontrads on Yahoo Nontrads on Twitter