Returning to college can be an intimidating concept, particularly with the number of choices out there. Some people can be afraid to take that first step, and leave college as a “back burner” project. Others allow logistics to stand in their way, which hampers their plans to finish a degree. Therefore, here are a few thoughts on steps people should take if they want to return to college.
Read the handbook
When people apply, they should read application material, including the catalog and the handbook. These can seem like daunting or boring documents but they are important parts of the process. These documents contain all sorts of relevant information for the person who wants to return, including majors, classes, calendars, policies, and departments.
Pay attention to deadlines
One thing that is very crucial during the process is to pay attention to deadlines. Schools have all sorts of deadlines, including dates for applications, financial aid, and specific departments. People can easily get sidetracked if they don’t meet their deadlines, which can squelch their enthusiasm and cause them to lose momentum. Therefore, meeting date requirements are a key part of going back to school.
Look for old transcripts
Meeting all academic obligations can be a challenging task. Therefore, if people have attended any school in the past, they should request all old transcripts and hope that they can get some credit for their classes. Granted, some schools do not take credits past a certain date, but it is worth a try. Also, people should read up on placement tests, experiential learning, and exemptions. This is another good reason to read the catalog.
Apply for financial aid
People should get together their paperwork and apply for as much financial aid as possible. Applying can be a hassle but any aid, particularly grants can make the educational experience much more affordable. Again, this can require some boring reading and some self-education, but there is money out there and people should be ready to take advantage of it.
Put together a plan
Too often, people get sidetracked because they don’t have an overall educational plan. This is why meeting with an advisor or mapping out a educational road map can be a very valuable endeavor. Much like missed deadlines, misunderstood schedules and lack of curricular understanding can sidetrack the aspiring college student.
Figure out online or find a person
Finally, people should be ready to ask questions. This can mean acquainting themselves with the online environment through the school website or it can mean finding a staff person who can walk them through the process. In either case, people have to willing to be aggressive if they need answers, particularly if they really want a college degree. Going back to college is always possible, but it will take some work, perseverance, and drive.