Going back to college doesn’t have to be scary. Here are some tips for adult learners wanting to start (or finish) their college education:
Set your goal and commit to it.
If you want to get a better education so you can get a better job, you should identify a career that you’re passionate about. Research the educational pathway you need to take. Look at your reflection in the mirror and acknowledge that completing your college degree is truly a process, and it will be an investment in your future and in your long-term professional development.
If you’ve been in college before, make sure you tie up any loose ends.
For example, if you owe a college money, failed some of your classes, or defaulted on a federal student loan, you may have to resolve these issues before you can proceed. Contact EducationQuest for advice before applying for admission because some of these issues are serious.
Find the right fit for you.
If you have a rough idea of what you would like to study, evaluate different colleges and programs to decide which school would be best for you. EducationQuest offers free consultations to put together a game plan of schools to consider, as well as financial aid and scholarship resources to help pay for it. Likewise, contact the college admissions office and visit campus to see if it feels like a good fit before you actually enroll in classes there. Also, make sure the college offers class options that fit into your schedule.
Many students are intimidated by being out of school for so long, or they feel they were never good students in high school. Colleges are well aware that students arrive to their campuses with varying academic strengths and deficiencies, and students are typically placed into entry-level classes that match their proficiency levels.
Spend your money wisely.
Investigate the estimated cost of college before you enroll in classes. Take an honest look at your ability to pay for your college experience, and then educate yourself on ways to look for (and apply for) scholarships. Yes, scholarships exist for adult learners, too! In addition, apply for federal financial aid through the FAFSA, which will determine your eligibility for grants, work-study, and loans. EducationQuest would be happy to assist you with this process, free of charge!
Don’t wait until the last minute.
Realize that the college planning process is full of deadlines, many of which are tied to scholarships and financial aid. Sure, some students may be able to still get into a college at the last minute, but often those students miss out on scholarships or aid that they would have otherwise qualified for. Take time to research what steps need to be taken well in advance of when you actually anticipate setting foot in a college classroom.
For additional information and suggestions, access the EducationQuest Adult Learner Handbook or call the EducationQuest office nearest you. Kearney: 800.666.3721, Lincoln: 800.303.3745, or Omaha: 888.357.6300.