I Want to Go Back to School: You want to go back to school as an adult but don’t know where to begin? If so, you’ve come to the right place.
Going back to school as an adult can be challenging—especially if you haven’t had any schooling in quite a long time.
There are multiple reasons that you may wish to go back to school.
For instance, you may wish to provide better for your family by getting a better education and a better job.
Or, you may find that after your kids have moved away, you can finally have time to get your studying done.
Whatever your reason, there’s no denying that going back to school after an extended absence isn’t easy.
Life isn’t the same as it was when you graduated high school, and going back to college or university poses a real challenge.
For those who need financial assistance, this often proves especially true.
If you’re looking to go back to school and don’t want to be left in insurmountable debt, consider the information below.
By following the outlined advice, you can make going back to school as an adult as painless as possible.
And take it from us: though you may feel out of place, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to continue your education later in life.
Remember, not everyone is afforded the same opportunities, so don’t feel shy if you’re getting your degree later than others.
What’s important is that you find the right program to meet your needs so that you can get the education you deserve.
Ready to learn how you can go back to school as an adult? Consider the following information below.
Make Sure You’re Financially Ready
Going back to school often requires a significant financial investment. Be aware of this as you make your plans to go back to school.
Knowing your financial situation can help you chart your course as you look to go back to school.
If you’re not in the best situation financially, don’t lose hope. You may still be able to find financial aid that can help you go back to school.
For this reason, it’s always a good idea to make sure of your opportunities before applying for a school.
You may qualify for the federal Pell Grant, for example. This grant can help those in need make up tuition and other costs associated with going back to school.
By getting your financial ducks in a row, you can better prepare yourself for going back to school.
This can be difficult for those with large families or children, so planning ahead often proves essential.
If you find that you’re
With this in mind, by settling your financial obligations before committing to any specific college or university, you can enjoy a better overall experience.
If you need help with that, check out American Debt Enders.
For this reason, when you consider going back to school, make sure that you first consider your financial situation.
By having a solid understanding of where you stand, you’ll be better able to choose schools that fit your budget.
Make Sure That You’re Capable
With this in mind, make sure that going back to school is something that you’re able to commit to doing.
Going to school often means reducing the number of hours that you’re working—something many working-class families can’t afford.
But it’s often about more than just finances. You may discover, for instance, that your family, work, and school life balance is off.
This can pose problems for those who are looking to maintain proper grades in school.
In fact, this might even be the reason that you didn’t or you stopped pursuing secondary education,
For this reason, you must make sure that you have the right environment for returning to school.
If you’re looking to go back no matter what, you may want to consider altering your environment for better results. At the end of the day, however, only you can know what you’re capable of.
If you believe that you’re capable of juggling so many different responsibilities, there’s nothing wrong with trying. Just make sure that you understand what you’re getting into.
If you fail out of school, it can be difficult getting readmitted somewhere else. By keeping your grades and your priorities straight, you can better earn your degree.
For this reason, start by making sure that you’re capable of picking up your schooling again.
Understand Your Needs
In order to do this, you have to consider your needs. What is it, exactly, that you’re looking for in your new school?
Are you looking for something that offers a small liberal arts education? Or would you prefer to move out to the city for a wild party university?
Whatever it is that motivates you, make sure that you have the resources necessary to achieve them.
By understanding your needs, you’ll be better able to choose a college or a university that can best suit your interests.
For instance, those looking to weld don’t want to go to a four-year university.
Instead, a two-year college degree program can go a long way in solidifying your skills and making you more employable in the workplace.
Keeping your needs in mind will give you a measuring stick by which to compare different universities. Are you looking for a school that focuses more on STEM fields?
Do you prefer education in the humanities?
Do you want a large student population or something more intimate?
Are you looking to stay home, or do you want to travel and have more freedom?
These questions—plus more—are ones that only you can answer. The answer you give proves important to the school that you end up choosing.
It’s important that you consider all the options available to find the school that best suits you.
By knowing your priorities, you can choose a school that provides a top-quality education in the field you’re looking to join.
Other factors you may want to consider are:
- Does the university offer any childcare program for working mothers?
- Are you looking for traditional or online options?
- What kind of budget do you have set aside?
- Will you have to move? If so, can your family go with you?
- What kind of city is your university in?
- Should you go for a two-year or a four-year degree? Why?
- Do you have enough finances to fund every year of your university career?
- Is taking a temporary pay cut to go back to school going to be worth it?
As you can see, going back to school isn’t something that you should take lightly. Make sure that you know exactly what you need from a school before you decide to go back.
By having a clear direction, you’ll be better able to choose a university that fits you. This means that you’ll get the most out of your university experience.
Search for Colleges and Universities That Meet Your Needs
Once you’ve decided what it is that best suits your needs, it’s time to find a school that meets them. Make sure to research options in your area online so that you can get more information.
You may even consider taking a visit to different campuses so you can see for yourself how the school will be. This will also allow you to speak with an admissions officer firsthand.
This often proves one of the best ways to get a feel for the school and to know the kind of environment you’ll be studying in.
While you visit a school, ask yourself if you can feel comfortable studying there. Is it somewhere that you will be proud to have a degree from?
Can you have your name associated with it for the rest of your life?
If so, it’s time to discuss with the advisors about financial aid opportunities. This can vary from school to school, so it’s important that you have specific information about the college of your choice.
Again, the best way to do this is to speak with someone in person.
You may have to schedule a meeting one-on-one, as phone calls and emails aren’t the best way to conduct such conversations.
By allowing a financial aid officer to understand your situation, you may be better to allow them to better help you cover admission costs.
These resource officers can also help you find out the steps that you’re going to need to take in order to get admitted.
Sometimes, you may find that you have a bit more work to do before you can be considered for admission. If that’s the case, don’t worry.
The most important step is to first find the school that feels right for you. Once you’ve done this, you can start making sure that you meet its admission requirements.
If you’ve been out of school for a while, it may be difficult finding the right documents. Be prepared to spend some time on this as you look to apply for admissions.
Make Sure You Meet the Basic Requirements
For those who have never attended college or university before, it’s imperative that you make sure that you meet basic requirements.
In most cases, this will mean that you at least have a GED or a high school diploma. If you’ve never finished high school, it’s time to first enroll in a GED program.
If you’re lucky, you’ll find a free GED program hosted by local community colleges in your area.
If not, you may have to fork over money to study from an official GED program. If that’s not within your budget, you may have to buy a GED review book.
Be aware that if you haven’t been in school for quite a while, you may have to relearn a significant amount of information. For this reason, make sure that you stay patient and don’t give up on the process.
Once you’ve gotten your GED, you can consider going to local community colleges in your area—and if your grades are good enough, you might even be able to transfer.
If you would prefer another option, you may be able to use your associate degree to apply for a bachelor’s program at another university later on.
In this way, don’t be ashamed if you have to start at a smaller community college before going to the University of your dreams.
Make sure to do well throughout your studies, and you may find yourself rising up.
Make Sure Your Credits Transfer
Finally, if you’re someone who has been to college or university before, make sure that your credits transfer. It’s always worth checking to see if you can get out of repeating any coursework.
Doing so allows you to graduate faster and join a workforce of college-educated individuals.
This can prove a nightmare for some people, however. For this reason, make sure that you’re talking to the admissions department regularly for updates on your credit transfer.
You may want to check different schools to see if they will accept your credits before applying.
Because not every school has the same policy on the issue, it’s important that you make the choice that works best for your timeline.
The Bottom Line
Ultimately, going back to school as an adult can prove challenging. Because you may have different and more-pressing obligations in your life, finding the time to go back to school isn’t easy.
That’s why it’s important that you choose the school that’s right for you. With both traditional and online options now available, there’s no shortage of quality schools for you to try.
The most important consideration to make is to ensure that you feel comfortable studying there. In this way, you can help make sure that you’ll stay to finish your degree.
Even better, by working with all involved, you can even transfer credits and score big financial aid to fund your degree.