Plan Around Work And School Commitments
You can continue to work while going to school, if you approach it with a positive, but realistic, mindset. This can be an especially appealing aspect of earning a degree online, as the flexibility of these programs is often ideal for working adults. You might consider looking for schools in your area that allow part-time enrollment in degree programs or distance-learning.
If you do choose to take the working route, according to the University of Illinois at Chicago, you’re going to want to:
- Get organized with a calendar or planner
- Figure out how to deal with stress in a healthy way
- Make the most of campus resources that can help you
- Let loved ones know when you need privacy to study
And if you’re planning to change careers, working while you’re taking classes may also help you ease your transition.
Find A School That Fits Your Needs
The next thing you’ll need to do is to find the right program to meet your needs. There are a number of questions to consider when researching schools: Do you want to study on-campus or online? What degree level are you hoping to pursue? What kind of programs are you interested in? These are all critical questions to ask yourself before committing to any one institution.
Once you’ve found a few schools that interest you, have conversations with their admissions teams to get a feel for the school’s culture and structure. This is your opportunity to learn as much as you can before you enroll, so don’t be afraid to ask as many questions as you need to in order to feel good about your decision. You should also do some additional independent research regarding the school’s accreditation, reputation, and experience with adult learners.
Get Your Paperwork In Order
Paperwork, whether its digital or actual paper, is one of those certainties of life education is no exception. When you are ready to enroll you will need certain documents that go along with a completed application. If you are a high school graduate with no college credit you will need to submit your high school records confirming graduation with a 2.0 GPA . Review each transcript to remind yourself of your academic performance.
If you have earned credits for college coursework, you will need official transcripts from all colleges you have previously attended . Once enrolled, you will be required to submit a completed FAFSA or paperwork for military benefits if youre a servicemember or veteran. If instead, you are applying to graduate school, you will have to complete an application and provide verbal confirmation of a bachelors degree with a 2.5 GPA from a regionally-accredited institution. Be prepared to have official transcripts forwarded upon acceptance.
Be aware that transcripts could be delayed if there is a hold from a campus office, most often an outstanding balance in the student accounts office. Delays in transcript delivery can slow your admissions and enrollment process. They can also create snags in your financial aid process so pay close attention to submission dates and timelines.
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Should I Go Back To College
DEGREE COMPLETION PROGRAMS | 4 MIN READ
Its never as easy as a simple yes or no. Going back to college takes genuine commitment and a good deal of effortbut the end result can certainly be worth it.
First, realize you are not alone in this decision. There are plenty of others in a similar position, looking to balance work and home while advancing their education.
Adult learners, also called non-traditional learners, are on the rise at colleges and universities across the nation. The National Center for Education Statistics projects enrollments for students age 25 and over to grow 14 percent through 2024, compared with 13 percent growth among those under age 25.
Completing your degree definitely can pay off. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, those who hold a bachelors degree earn 52% percent more than those with some college but no degree.
So if youre pondering the question Should I go back to college? start by knowing yourself and what you want to accomplish. Well be here when youre ready to make it happen.
Finishing Your Degree After Dropping Out
Working adults are returning to school to finish college at an unprecedented rate, and educational institutions are doing everything they can to support them. For example, many colleges and universities now offer student orientations to assist students who are returning to the classroom after an extended absence. These types of orientation programs review institutional policies but introduce students to additional campus support staff and departments.
Students at many universities also have career and academic advisors at their disposal to assist them in developing a personalized roadmap to graduation based on their unique background, needs, and goals.
The assistance available to help you successfully transition to a degree completion program can also redirect your future in ways that you probably havent considered. The well-documented benefits of finishing your bachelors degree arent limited to career advancement or improved salary potential. Youre also likely to experience increased self-esteem, for having accomplished a goal that seemed out of reach. Complete your degree and you might be inspired to attempt other pursuits youd previously dismissed.
If youre concerned that you dont have enough time or money to complete your degree, or are worried about juggling your many existing commitments, there are a variety of ways to overcome these challenges. Apply the following strategies to return to school and help you finish your degree sooner than you think.
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Dont Go Back To Normal Seize This Moment
Lets acknowledge that a desire to go back to normal can have different meanings. Some may mean going back to life without the threat of a dangerous and unpredictable virus, while others may mean the way things were.
However, we have learned a lot about the biases and inequities endemic in our schools over the course of the pandemic so far. These important lessons tell us that schools should be anything but normal going into the new school year.
Educators should use this opportunityeven if it was born of natural chaosto reimagine every school day and create a successful school year.
Limit Aimless Scrolling On Social Media
This advice should apply to every individual, but especially to adult college students. Think about how often you click on that social media icon and realize that you could be spending that time studying or reading course material. The minutes can really add up to hours over the course of a few weeks.
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Start With Your Goals
As youre thinking about becoming an adult learner, not knowing where to start can be a fairly common obstacle. Maybe you began college or university at one time but needed to stop for personal reasons. You might have been out of school for a fair amount of time and wonder how challenging it will be to start over.
At National University, youll find many students just like you. Typically, its someone who started and took a big break, says National University academic advisor Jennifer Trefftzs. It may have been that they began pursuing a career path and something changed to make them not want to continue that program.
While National draws students of all ages, most NU students are adult learners who are drawn to the flexibility of class schedules, the wide variety of available on-campus and online degree programs, and the ability to start many of the Universitys classes at the beginning of each month.
Trefftzs knows the ins and outs of returning to school because she has been there herself. I went to cosmetology school during high school and then realized that the weekend hours and nights were going to be a little much for me when I got older and had a family. I decided that going back to school was a now or never sort of thing.
Begin with objectives, Trefftzs recommends. its important to set and evaluate goals. Then you aim for a program and see if that fits what you are looking for.
Is College All About Investing In Yourself
Theres a big difference between investing in yourself and going back to school.
You should always be investing in yourself. You just dont have to spend thousands on a tuition to do this.
Returning to college might sometimes be the worst investment. Especially if you dont get a specific outcome out of this. I dont want to be too results oriented, but when youre 26, you cant afford to be spending another 2-4 years in college. This wont help you move ahead. Youre going to miss out on many opportunities to make money.
If the program doesnt help you increase your income, then youre wasting your time. If you want to hide from reality, you dont have to go back to college. If youre in debt already then you really dont need to be going back to college. You should be focused on this debt.
How can you invest in yourself?
The whole point of this article is let you know that there are other options out there. You dont have to do what your parents want you to do. You dont have to go to college if you dont know what you want to do. You can read up more on investing in yourself. You can take advantage of technology like Airbnb to make more money. You have other choices.
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How Did I End Up Finally Graduating From College Heres The Answer
With the encouragement and guidance of my Accelerated Pathways coach, I surged forward in my classes, earning between 24 and 36 credits every semester.
While college took a more prominent role in my life, the life lessons I had learned during my time off helped me maintain my health, balance school with my personal life, and build multiple businesses while I was at it.And because of the flexibility of Accelerated Pathways, I didnt even have to sacrifice my new-found interest in marketing. I was able to replace all of my lost credits with business- and marketing-oriented classes. Those 30 missing credits became an opportunity to create my very own marketing degree.
When before I would have broken under the pressure of balancing college and life, now I had grown enough to thrive. When a traditional college would have limited my academic opportunities, Accelerated Pathways gave me the tools to get what I wanted out of my studies.
It wasnt long before the kid who never planned on college ended up graduating with top marks, a bachelors degree, and plans to go back for a few more.
Looking back at that first coaching call, I cant help but laugh at how terrified I was.
I could have ignored that call out of fearthe choice was there for me to make. At any point I could have chosen to quit and never come back. So why didnt I?
My team gave me the motivation to persevere through college and Accelerated Pathways gave me the ability to learn and to grow in the way that best fit me.
Tips For Going Back To College
Here are some tips for going back to college:
Have a positive attitude. Keep an optimistic perspective when starting college again to help you stay motivated when things become challenging.
Create a schedule. Develop a schedule to help you stay organized and meet assignment deadlines while still maintaining responsibilities outside of school. You can consider using a planner, calendar or app to document your daily tasks.
Start part-time to ease in. When signing up for classes, consider enrolling as a part-time student to help you adjust to your new schedule.
Create a private space. Find a quiet spot in your home where you can study and work on class assignments without distractions.
Refresh your academic skills. Before starting college, refresh in skills such as studying, taking tests, writing papers and managing time.
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Maximize Your Transfer Credit
Your prior education can reduce the time to finish your degree. You dont need to start from scratch unless you failed all your prior coursework, which is unlikely. Follow the schools transfer credit policy which may require the submission of official transcripts from your former institutions.
Speak with the admissions office to make sure all transcripts are received so every possible credit can be applied. Transfer credit acceptance may ultimately influence where you enroll. The more transfer credit you receive, the less money you must pay for college. Transfer credit is an excellent way to take advantage of the time youve already spent in college and save money at the same time.
Get To Know Your Advisor
The more you consult your academic advisor, the more they can help you. They likely have department-specific expertise to help you understand which classes you need to take and in what order. Your school may also offer options you’re not aware of, like independent study opportunities or classes held over a summer or winter break, that can help you collect credits for a faster graduation.
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The Idea Of Sitting In Class Makes You Exhausted
There are just some people who decided classrooms arent for them. People who realized at a very early age of third grade that being out there, creating and basking in unlimited freedom is whats for them. And we really cant blame these individuals. Sitting in a classroom and listening from one teacher to another drone on and on, that can be exhausting. It can suck out the energy in us, and how can we learn if were exhausted. Its not the teachers, okay or maybe its them sometimes, but you get the point. Millions of people choose not to go to college because of the mere fact that listening to a professor and being forced to sit in classrooms kill their souls. We should just deal with that. After all, high school graduates are not doing so bad so maybe, skipping college isnt a very bad idea as most people think.
Tips For Adults Going Back To College
7 years ago
As an adult, going back to college presents a different set of challenges compared to recent high school graduates. Its never too late to begin or complete your college education. Here are 7 tips that will help you prepare for going back to college.
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Going To College Feels Like Youre Doing It Just For Your Parents
This is a pretty familiar feeling for many of us. Parents love to put pressure on their kids, and we really cant blame them. They only want whats best for us and they want us to have the best education we can get. Parents even juggle two full-time jobs just to pay for their kids tuition! Its typical for them to have big dreams for their children. The question is, do you share that same dream? Just like them, do you also think the best education can solve all your dilemmas and give you a better life? Or does it feel like youre only going to college because your parents want you to, or because you dont want to disappoint them? If it feels like college is not something youre really interested with, and youre only considering it because of your parents, then maybe it really isnt for you.
Do You Even Need A College Education In Your 20s Or 30s
This is a highly debated topic.
No, you dont need an education to find a decent job. You dont really need to do anything. To make money or to be successful you dont have to spend many years in college. Theres not one definitive blueprint to becoming successful in your life. Theres not even a clear definition of being successful in your 20s or 30s.
Ive met successful people who could never handle a classroom. Ive also met folks who were heavily educated and couldnt find work. On the flip side, a specific college degree can help you land a job that pays well a field that you enjoy.
This article is for those who completed some form of studies at some point and are now thinking about going back to college.
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