Life happens and we can get into situations that may hinder opportunities in our lives. Then it seems that everyone comes to a point where they are settled and finally decide to go back to school. The reasons for this may vary and everyone has different academic goals. The good thing about this is, no matter how old you are or what major you want to take up there is something you can do to jump back into the synchronized flow of school like you never left.
Most people go back to school because they want to make more money. Some go back because they are retired and may want something to do or perhaps one may go back because they do not like what they chose to go to college for the first time. Whatever your reason is, know it and commit to it. There is nothing worse then wasting so much time and money on something that you won’t finish.
Know Your Strengths and Weaknesses
Most if not all institutions of higher education requires one to take an entrance or placement exam upon joining. This is very useful when it comes to placing applicants in their appropriate class levels. For example, if an individual decides to go to college at age 30 then it’s safe to say that more than likely this person will not be able to accurately regurgitate their knowledge of Algebra 2. This person will take a placement test and see exactly how well they will do in subjects such as math, literature, science, and etc. so they know what classes to begin on their journey towards their degree.
Before one decides to take the placement test it would be a good idea to perhaps test independently. There are many text books at the library or websites that have free academic tests so one can have an idea of what level of education they are on. Also, this will help score higher on the placement exam. If you see you are doing poorly in an area of mathematics then you might want to brush up on it before testing and applying.
Apply and Finance
Once you have discovered your strengths and weaknesses apply and search for student aid programs. The best one to go through is FAFSA since this is the most common student aid program there is. Search for more grants and scholarships the internet because there are hundreds of them. You could also check to see if your place of employment has any college opportunities or reimbursement. It would also be a good idea to ask the financial aid office of the chosen school for tips on benefits as well.
When applying you want to make sure that you have all materials such as transcripts, letters of recommendation, and other information correctly sent to the chosen school in unison. Apply for financial aid and grant opportunities while awaiting acceptance. Something also very important to remember is to never limit your school choices. You always want to have a back up plan so choose 3-5 colleges of your liking that offer your desired major.
After you have been accepted and applied for financial assistance talk to an advisor form your chosen school and make out a schedule and find out what materials you will need. A schedule should always be made when making arrangements for school. Figure out when is the best time for you to attend classes (on campus or on-line) between other areas of your life such as work, children, leisure, and the like. Make a study plan and devote a number of hours (as much as you can) each week to studying. Find out what text books, calculators, writing utensils, and other things you will need for your classes. Purchasing these materials shouldn’t be hard considering that most colleges have campus bookstores or you can find them for cheap or to rent on-line.
Don’t Give Up
School can become a burden and a stressor. You may start to see that the bills are piling up as well as your student loans (if you didn’t qualify for grants or scholarships), the work load is getting in the way of everyday life, and your desired salary is still a stage walk and a degree away. This will happen but you must remember that it will pay off in some shape way or form even if you have to take a few classes over. As mentioned earlier life happens, and it will always happen so don’t give up once you have decided to further your education. Nothing good comes cheap or easy.