The dog ate my enrollment excuses

The dog ate my enrollment excuses

By Megan Boris

Recently, I came across an article titled “The Dog Ate My Homework and Other Lame Excuses” by Jack Lemkuil. In this article, the author claims, the average teacher hears approximately four excuses each day from grade school students explaining why they did not do their homework. Surprisingly, I hear upwards of ten to twenty excuses per day from parents who are considering going back to school themselves.

My role as an Enrollment Coach is not only to assist students with the administrative task of enrolling in college, but also to help adult learners overcome obstacles preventing them from achieving their educational goals.

There is a fine line between reasons and excuses, but when it comes to bettering yourself, any “reason” not to get started is usually just an excuse! Below is a list of excuses students share with me on a daily basis as well as some follow-up questions or statements I use to help work through those situations. Luckily, at Indiana Wesleyan, our adult and graduate programs were designed to be excuse busters. We have been around since 1985 fine-tuning each element to best suit our busy working adults.


The most frequent excuse I hear is easily “I don’t have time.” This can take on many different forms and is often the biggest factor keeping adult students from earning their degrees.

I am working too much overtime or multiple jobs.
Could earning your degree help advance your career, which could essentially lead to fewer hours?

I have a project right now at work that is taking up too much time.
How long will the project last? Will there be another project right after that to take up your time? Will work ever really “slow down”?

I need to plan first, get some things figured out.
How long does that take? How long have you been thinking about going to school? How long have you put it off?


Money can be hard to talk about with other adults. We’ve all been in the position where it seems like we just can’t afford one more thing, and it’s hard to think about the big picture when bills are piling up. Sometimes we need to think about the how we can get ourselves to a different place and what kind of sacrifices that will take.

I don’t want to get into debt.
Many students qualify for government grants, tuition reimbursement, or have military benefits to help pay for schools. Those who need to take on loans often see a return on investment soon after graduation.

I can’t afford any upfront costs.
At IWU, your application is free, books are included in the curriculum, and registration fees can be rolled into your financial aid. Plus, any repayments will be deferred until 6 months after graduation and you won’t have to pay your current loans while you are enrolled in school.

I want to find a job first.
If there are no upfront costs, why not start school now while you have more time on your hands? This is no doubt a challenging situation, but it could be just the change that is needed at the time it is needed most.


Family situations can certainly add complication to a person’s life, however it is not something that should hold you back from earning your degree.

I want to wait until my kids get older.
You can be a perfect example for your children. Show them how important education is in setting a person up for success.

My kids are involved in too many activities at this time.
Will there ever be a better time? How can you tell your kids to reach for their goals if you keep putting off your own?


Age is another popular excuse students give during the enrollment process.

I am too old to start a program.
How many working years do you have left? What about after retirement? Will you want to try something new?

I don’t think anyone will hire me once I graduate.
The working world has changed. People don’t stay at the same company their whole lives any more. You might be surprised by how a degree can make you more marketable.

It’s been too long since I was a student.
You will likely be just like many of our other students who have not been in school for many years. It’s never too late to learn something new!

Fear/Cold Feet/Special Circumstances

Once we get through the basic obstacles like time and money, there are the not-so-verbalized excuses that generally boil down to fear, or cold feet.

It’s just too soon.
There is no time like right now! The sooner you start the sooner you graduate.

I’m not mentally prepared.
What will it take to get you there? We have many resources that can help you get ready.

I’m getting ready to move.
The act of moving typically takes place in a week or two and it is not something that can’t be done while a student.

I’m going through a divorce/separation.
Starting a degree can often boost a person’s confidence and help them feel better about themselves in difficult times.
Ultimately, the decision to return to school comes down to priorities; we find time and resources for the things that we consider priorities in our life. IWU Adult and Graduate Programs are designed with busy, working adults in mind, and the time and energy it takes to complete a degree may be less than you think. Read about how IWU’s format addresses the time concern.

By the numbers:

168hrs in a week – 40 (work) – 56 (sleep) = 72 hrs each week that you are awake and not working.

If you take just 15 to 20 of those hours to dedicate to school, you can have your degree in as little as two years!


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