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Return to study

Two ladies in a classroom 

For some adult learners, returning to study can seem daunting. Whether you’re considering picking up where you left off at school, or starting with no previous history of study, the VCAA publication Return to Study is a great guide to getting back into education.

Over the past five years, more than 6000 students from all walks of life and with a range of educational backgrounds and experiences have enrolled in Victorian senior secondary certificate studies as adult students. Students in their fifties, sixties – even their seventies – have studied for and gained their VCE.

Han Nguyen, an adult learner at the Centre for Adult Education (CAE), decided to return to study to complete the VCE. Han says that in her first time as a secondary student a new friendship group in Year 11 distracted her from study and a period of illness kept her from continuing with education.
‘At school, I didn’t have my priorities right,’ she says.

‘Study was not my focus – my social group took up most of my time and energy. I decided to leave school in Year 11 and started in the workforce doing lots of different jobs to see what I liked and what I was good at. I did a few short courses, but didn’t find anything that grabbed me.’

While Han’s plans include university, right now her focus is on completing the VCE.

‘It is very different going to class as an adult,’ she says. ‘You are so much more mature in your approach to study.

‘The relationship you have with teachers and staff as an adult is different to what you had in school. There is a lot of support for you as an adult student.

‘It is hard work but everyone at class is there to work.’

Undertaking senior secondary study has many benefits. Not only can a senior secondary certificate help you achieve professional, personal and education goals, but studying can expand your world view and develop your personal networks.

Requirements for adult learners completing the VCE can differ, depending upon previous education. Return to Study explains the requirements and how to get enrolled in a senior secondary certificate in Victoria.

Download a copy or pick one up from a library or adult education provider.

Thanks to the Centre for Adult Education for putting us in contact with Han.