Wednesday, September 28, 2022

How To Go Back To College

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Starting Over In College

Am I Too Old To Go Back To School?

If at first, you dont succeed, go back to college. The saying might not go like that exactly, but its definitely true. College is a fresh start for many people, and returning can be a fresh start for you. Any worry about being noticed for being older than the average student will be unneeded. Youll be among many returning students, some who, depending on your age, could be old enough to be your parents.

Another advantage youll have is maturity. This doesnt just come with age. It also comes with reflection. Coming back to college isnt an easy decision, and some opt to just stay in the comfort of wondering what if? This might not get them anywhere, but at least they dont have to deal with the possibility of trying again and not succeeding.

Lots of important decisions are ones that are hard to make because you dont want to see what happens if things dont go right. However, not doing anything just guarantees failure via inaction. You have an advantage over many first-time college students because you have a better idea of what to expect. Some people take a couple tries to get their drivers license, but theyre able to pass the test after more tries because they know what to expect and what to focus on. When youre in those classes you wont be the person whos returning to college. Youll just be another student, in classrooms full of others who are working towards the same goal.

Choose A New School Or Return To A Previous One

You have two options when you decide to go back to school: return to the institution where you began your studies or apply to a new school or university. Some schools allow prior dropouts to return to school without reapplying. If youd like to continue your education at a college or university you previously attended, make sure to check with their admissions office to determine their requirements.

In some cases, the school or university may have been part of the reason a student dropped out in the first place. If thats the case, find a school that offers the program or course catalog you want to pursue. Also, try to learn as much as you can about the school including class schedules, curriculum, teaching styles, and remote or in-person learning options. If youre putting in the effort to return to school, you want to make sure you choose an institution that aligns with your needs and your learning style.

What To Know About Going Back To School

As you think about going back to school, keep in mind that you are not alone, and you may be able to find encouragement and new friends in other adult college students. Some schools offer specific resources for older students like specialized orientations or student groups that can help you meet other experienced students.

You also may have more options than younger students. By having specific goals in mind for your college time, you can choose classes for your expertise and streamline your path to a diploma or take electives that can help you in other areas of your life. Money saved from working might allow you to take out fewer loans and save money on tuition, and you can also save money by living off campus.

Returning to college can differ greatly from attending college as a recent high school graduate. You may have unique perspectives and priorities from the other students, but your time in college can provide you with the same opportunities to meet new people and widen your perspective.

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Take Advantage Of This Opportunity

Right now, you may be apprehensive about going back to school. Maybe its been some time since youve last been in the classroom. Maybe you are afraid you wont fit in with other peers. These are common worries to have when going back to school, but the fact that you are motivated enough to go back to school in the first place, should be seen as a clear advantage.

As an adult, you have more self-knowledge, more professional experience, and a better sense of your long-term goals than you did years ago. You have had time to think about where you want to go and what you want to do in life.Your personal and professional experience as an adult makes you a true asset to any college you attend.Additionally, your motivation can help you be more successful in the classroom, and give you the drive to accomplish those clear-cut goals youve established. Many students entering college directly after high school dont have this same advantage, so its important to make the most of it.

In ‘never Too Late’ Finally A Guide For Adults Going To College

Going Back to College at 30

Yes, college can be expensive, but it rarely costs as much as the school website says. That’s because most schools, states and even the federal government offer lots of ways to pay through grants, scholarships and loans.

To access much of this money, you have to fill out the FAFSA that’s short for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. It’s a form used to determine eligibility for federal student loans, but many schools and states use it to divvy up their money for college, too. It’s always a good idea to fill out the FAFSA even if you think you make too much money or you won’t qualify. You might be surprised.

3. Set up your support network

“Before you actually start that first day of class, get some things in order at home,” suggests Denise Whittaker, an adviser at the Graduate! Network in Philadelphia. When Whittaker went back to college in her 50s, she leaned heavily on her family. She says, “I had the support of my husband, who knew that on nights I had class, don’t expect me to cook.”

Remember, your pre-college life hasn’t changed. You’re simply adding on and that’s important because it means, going forward, life will be different. Letting people in on your schedule and asking for help can go a long way.

If you’re nervous about reentering the classroom after time away, Whittaker suggests “practice school.” Maybe do a little extra reading, because you’ll soon be doing more reading, in a different kind of way.

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Know The Educational Requirements To Obtain The Job You Want

Use the BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook to decide what level of degree and what field of study you need to pursue. Talk to folks who are already employed in your dream field to find out what their educational path was. Look at job listings to see what level of degree and majors are required or preferred.

Going Back To School At 20

If youre returning to college at age 20, youll be close to many of your fellow students in age. This can be a little weird, because you might have to explain that, despite your youth, youre actually giving this a second try. Lots of the older students will likely think that youre fresh out of high school.

Since its probably only been about a year or two since you first left college, it shouldnt terribly difficult for you to get back into the college mode. If youre returning to the same school as before, you might encounter friends. Feel free to socialize with them, but make sure youre not associating with people who led you down a bad path previously.

Going back at 20 can come with the advantage of having fewer responsibilities, such as not having a family or a full-time job, but that doesnt mean you shouldnt take this as seriously as possible. You need to prove to yourself that you can make it back to college after the initial hiccups that initially forced you to leave.

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Meet With A College Admissions Counselor

Speaking with a professional at the college can help you to navigate your way through the admissions and application process. Starting this conversation will also start to build your support network at the college you choose. An admissions counselor or academic advisor can help you through any difficulties such as getting financial aid, re-enrollment and transferring credit, inflexible class scheduling, poor study skills. They can also counsel you in career direction and help you create an academic plan. This is a key step when starting the enrollment process and carving your path towards your degree.

Why Is Going Back To College A Worthy Investment

Should We Quit Our $200,000 Jobs to Go Back to School?

The time and money invested in a college degree typically lead to better-paying work and quality of life. The average rate of return for a bachelor’s degree was about 14%, compared with a long-term return of 7% on stocks and 3% on bonds, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The bank also says that college graduates with bachelors degrees were making about $78,000 annually vs. $45,000 for those with a high school diploma.

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Budget Responsibly And Know What Costs To Expect

Bills don’t go away once you decide to go back to college. An 18-year-old’s expenses might not be too significant, but a 40-year-old may have a mortgage, a family to feed and a car to insure. So how do you not neglect those responsibilities while still going back to college?

If working full-time while attending college isn’t possible, then you could:

  • Apply for scholarships targeted to nontraditional or adult students
  • Apply for grants
  • Work part time while attending school part time
  • Take out student loans

If you don’t work full time, you may be losing money by going to college a situation known as opportunity cost. However, it’s quite possible that having a degree can ultimately earn you more money in the long run. Regardless, you need to know how much you’re realistically able to work during the school year, what your expenses are, and whether there’s a difference between those two. Learn more about financial prep in our How to Pay for College guide.

Start Creating A More Fulfilling Future

Its normal to have concerns about going back to school as an adult, but its absolutely possible to overcome the challenges. And the rewardsgaining new skills and boosting your employment prospectscan make all your efforts worthwhile.

At Herzing, many of our students are adults with jobs, families, and tight budgets. We offer the training, flexibility, and support you need to change your life for the better.

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Choose A Program That Aligns With Your Career Goals

Choosing a school and, more specifically, a degree program will be an essential step in your back to school journey. This is where your career aspirations will come into play. It is important to choose a program that aligns with and supports your career goals. If you want to become a nurse, for example, you will need to find an accredited nursing program. If you want to become a marketing manager or healthcare administrator, you will need at least a bachelors degree to get hired. Alternatively, if you want to run your own business, you will want to choose a business program that can help you develop your entrepreneurial skillset.

As you can see, knowing where you want to go in your career will play a key role in the decision-making process. The right program for you will help you meet all the qualifications needed to land a career, and also support you in the process of finding that dream role.

Do The Math: Does It Pay To Go Back To School

Important Things to Do Before Going Back to College

Of course, that doesn’t mean you still shouldn’t do it. “Businesses rarely make decisions based just on the numbers, and people don’t either,” she says, adding that a midlife career change that makes you happy can’t be fully measured in dollars and cents. “The point of any analysis is not to find a crystal ball. But if you understand the financial risks and rewards, you are able to make better decisions.”

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Ascent Student Loans Disclosures

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Collect All Admissions Materials

Before you apply, check to see whether you have all the materials you need. This can include a transcript from any previous college education, standardized test scores and letters of recommendation. You might also add important application deadlines to your calendar so you submit everything on time.

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Quick Tips For Returning To College

Youve made another big life decision youve decided that its time to get back into student life as an adult returning to college. But, where do you begin?

With the extra years of life experience under your belt, and likely work experience, there are many skills you have which likely make you better prepared to be a student again. And, youre not alone in this endeavor.

In fact, the National Center for Education Statistics reports that there had been a 35 percent increase in college students aged 25 to 34 between 2001 and 2015.

Source: Unsplash

So, why do adults choose to return to college in the first place? Some of the most standout reasons are:

  • Career advancement
  • Sense of accomplishment
  • Job security

There are many reasons why adults return to school, and if you have yours, here are a few quick tips to keep you focused and on your way to graduation and a look at how to be an adult student:

Time Management Is Key

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School takes a significant amount of time. Many graduates admitted their surprise about the amount of time that going back to school required regardless of if it was online or on a traditional campus.

Use things like calendars, to-do apps, or even friends for time management to keep you on track and hold you accountable. Learn to maximize your time by multitasking or using technology to help you learn while you travel or eat.

Steve Wallis, a graduate that first went back to school at age 32, found time to study during his bus commute to and from work. Learning to balance your time between family, work, and school is a whole new ball game. For many students, its the biggest struggle they faced while getting their degree. Have a solid handle on everything takes work and strong time management skills. It will go a long way in helping you handle everything.

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Set Goals For Yourself That Will Help You To Stay Motivated

There is nothing like a goal to get yourself motivated. Whether its a short term goal like finishing a paper a day early, or a long term goal like getting your Ph.D., the act of setting your goalsand writing them downis the best way to remember why youre doing something.

If youre like me, its easy to get bogged down in the little things. Its easy to lose sight of your end game. Setting challenging but reachable goals will help you to move forward.

Build A Plan To Successfully Complete Your Degree

Even after you enroll, the journey back to college has just started. Take advantage of the momentum youve built and make a proactive plan for success. It pays to get ahead of the curve so you dont get overwhelmed.

  • Plan your schedule. Time management is key to success. Figure out how much work you can realistically take on at one time. Know when you are most productive during the day. Be proactive in removing obstacles that may detract from getting your degree.
  • Choose a strong support system. Make sure you have people who will hold you accountable and motivate you to complete your degree. Whether its a family member, friend or classmate, it helps to have a well-rounded support system made up of people who can empathize with different challenges you may face.
  • Know when to ask for help. There is no shame in asking your professors, classmates or advisors for additional support. Know if there are resources available, from tutoring to office hours and student support groups.
  • Create a dedicated learning environment. Set up a space that is designed for productivity and removes distractionswhether thats an office or just a specific table or corner in your house.
  • Dont let fear get in your way. Dont let anyone tell you that you arent college material. Fix your sights on your goals and have confidence that you can to reach them.

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Is Going Back To College Worth The Investment

Education can be a risky investment, but for graduates it generally pays off. An individual with a bachelor’s degree is projected to make nearly $1 million more in their lifetime than someone with a high school diploma alone. Graduate degree-holders make even more.

However, rising tuition costs bite into college’s net value. The college affordability crisis reached a new high recently, with student loan debt hitting $1.75 trillion at the end of 2021.

Many students bank on being able to pay off debt with their future salaries. But those who fail to graduate don’t share the same earning potential and still have to pay student debt. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, just 63% of college students graduate within six years.

The best-case scenario is to earn credentials for free through your employer. If your employer sponsors education, that can be reason enough for hitting the books again.

Older students may be less likely to receive school financial aid or private scholarships, but there’s no age limit for federal aid. College students of all ages can fill out the FAFSA to receive federal financial aid for college.

College is also a big investment in terms of time. Returning students who must juggle work and family should consider the time commitment not just in terms of years but on a week-to-week basis. Online and hybrid options give many students with children the necessary flexibility to succeed.

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