I work at a community college, and we have a lot of non-traditional students, including senior citizens. I’m actually a senior myself. Seniors can do very well in college, especially with some advance planning. There are some things you can do before you even start your classes to help lay the groundwork and increase your chance of success.
Look for a college with a friendly, helpful atmosphere. Visit some colleges and ask some of the students about their experiences there. If you find out that the instructors are rude, the advisors are confused and no one knows where the business office is, you probably don’t want to deal with that school. You’ll be working hard for a few years and laying out a lot of money besides, so you won’t need any unnecessary hassles. Spending your college years in a positive atmosphere will be important when you start, and the longer you’re in school, the more important it will become.
If you need to brush up on basic math or English skills, it’s a good idea to do it before you even enroll. When you’re accepted into college, you’ll take placement tests in these subjects. If you don’t do well on these tests, you might end up taking developmental (that means remedial) courses. These cost as much as the regular courses and you don’t get credit for them. So you want to skip these developmental courses and get into the regular curriculum right away if you can. You can take adult education courses, but what’s even better, you can catch up your math and English skills for free on the Internet. Two good sites to check out are http://www.math.com/ for math and http://www.free-ed.net/ for English.
Another ability you’ll need to bring to college is computer literacy. You’ll do a lot of emailing, and you’ll use programs like Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel. You may also need to learn software for online courses or for courses like accounting. It’s much easier to learn a new program if you’re familiar with the computer and used to learning programs. A great site that offers inexpensive computer courses is http://www.ed2go.com/. Their courses are especially good for students with only a little computer experience. I would definitely take a course in a recent version of Microsoft Word. You’ll do a lot of writing in college, and Microsoft Word will probably be the program you’ll use in class and in the on-campus computer lab.
A little confidence goes a long way, and if you come to college prepared, you’ll have the confidence to get off to a good start. Good luck and have a great time at college!