“Get ready, set, and GO!” I did it and so can you. You can be a college graduate as a non-traditional student or as a returning student. If you are always looking beyond your current position and wanting to reach your full potential, knowing that you did not complete what you started it is time to take the challenge.
Getting ready involves conquering all obstacles without making excuses. Evaluate your family situation because without the support of your family, you are in the trenches day and night. Step-by-step start the necessary steps to enter college whether you will be completing an on-line college degree or attending a local college. When the time is right – be ready.
Since you have previously attended college and have been at the crossroad of deciding a major before, do not start until you know what kind of degree you want. If life experiences have not led you in the field of your interest, research, interview or contact advisers in different fields. Having a purpose and goal will keep the fire going when you need that extra determination.
Setting the goal of graduating in a timely manner requires you to plan ahead. Whatever it takes, be determined to complete your degree. Compare yourself to no one. You are unique and you are traveling at your speed. Project a graduation date and aim for that date.
Steps on the road to completing your college degree:
1. Decide on the field of study. Locate the university or community college that you will be attending. Request an undergraduate or graduate catalog so that you can review the different degree offerings. Get a general understanding of what the requirements for that degree will be. If necessary, make an appointment with the department chairman or adviser of the department. Ask questions for clarification.
2. Request official transcripts. If you attended more than one college, you will need to request your transcripts from those colleges to be sent to the college/university you are planning to complete your degree
3. Make an appointment with the registrar of the college you will be attending. A registrar is qualified to review all of your transcripts and approve college hours. Inform the registrar about what field of study you will be pursuing as this will identify what college hours will count in your graduation plan
4. Contact the admissions office for the appropriate application for returning to college. As a non-traditional student or returning student, you might find that re-entry undergraduate admission requirements are not as stringent as for a first time college student.
5. Determine how you will pay for college. Most colleges will send financial aid papers to you based on the information that you complete in the admission process. Apply for scholarships, grants, college work study, internships and loans if you need financial assistance. If you are currently employed, be sure to inquire about possible funding available for college through your employer.
6. After receiving your acceptance letter, register for classes by following the procedures you receive from the college.
Going back to college is not easy but the determination and vision you have for the future will propel you. After you follow all of the necessary steps and you are in your college courses, be sure to utilize all the study groups, advisers and other instructional helps that are offered. If problems seem overwhelming and you need additional help, contact the college mental health counselors. The support is in place for you to succeed so you are ready, set, to go.