New Year, New You, New Degree: A Guide to Success for Degree Completion Students

Student being assisted at a computer lab

It’s that time of year again – when the air crackles with anticipation and resolutions are made. But for non-traditional students, the New Year often brings a unique set of aspirations, particularly for those considering returning to school to finish their degree. While the drive to achieve is strong, the path to success can feel daunting. 

Forget the hesitation! This blog post is your compass for charting a course back to school and making your New Year’s resolution a success.  

Making a Resolution Stick:  

  • Focus on your “why”.
    What motives you to return to school? Is it career advancement, personal fulfillment, or a desire to set an example for your family? Reminding yourself of your purpose will provide the fuel you need to stay committed.  
  • Set SMART goals.
    Your resolution shouldn’t be a vague wish. Instead, define specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely goals. Instead of saying “I want to go back to school,” set a goal like “I will enroll in two classes per semester at Madonna University.” 
  • Break it down.
    Divide your long-term goals into smaller, more manageable steps. This will make the process less overwhelming and allow you to celebrate milestones along the way. 
  • Build a support network.
    Surround yourself with positive, encouraging people who believe in you and your goals. Lean on them for motivation and assistance when needed. 
  • Seek resources.
    Madonna University offers specific resources designed for degree completion students. Take advantage of academic advising, career counseling, and tutoring services to ensure your success. 
  • Reward yourself.
    Celebrate your achievements, no matter how small. This will help you stay motivated and reinforce positive behaviors.  

Returning to School: Your Path to Success 

  • Research and find the right fit.
    Choose a university that understands the needs of non-traditional students and offers flexible programs and support services. Madonna University, for example, offers evening and online classes, as well as financial aid and advising services for degree completion students.  
  • Embrace the non-traditional student community.
    You’re not alone! Connect with other students who are returning to school and share your experiences. This can provide invaluable support and encouragement. 
  • Manage your time effectively.
    Develop strong time management skills to balance your academic workload with your personal and professional commitments. Utilize tools like planners, calendars, and productivity apps to stay organized.  
  • Prioritize self-care.
    Returning to school can be stressful. Make time for activities that allow you to relax and recharge, such as exercise, hobbies, or spending time with loved ones. 
  • Seek help when needed.
    Don’t hesitate to reach out to professors, advisors, or tutors if you need assistance. Remember, faculty and staff are there to help you succeed.  

Remember, returning to school is an investment in your future. By setting SMART goals, building a support network, and utilizing available resources, you can achieve your New Year’s resolution and graduate with the degree you deserve.

Madonna University is here to support you every step of the way. You can learn more about our degree completion programs, resources, and support services on our website. Let’s make this New Year your most successful year yet!