Thursday, December 27, 2007

Going Back To College

If you have been out of high school for a while and are tired of working in a dead-end career, you probably have considered going back to college. If you are intimidated about going back as an adult and are worried about being the only person over 25, don’t despair. According to statistics, since 1998 the number of adult learns has increased 41 percent making over 2.9 million students over the age of 35 going back to college.

If you are planning to go back to college, here are a few things to consider:

1. Flexibility is key. Many colleges and universities offer flexible course scheduling with classes offered nights and weekends. This means that if you are holding down a job while going back to school, you can often tailor your courses around your work. If you have children, many institutions offer campus childcare services. A third thing to remember is that you do not have to go back to school full time; your course load can remain minimal. But, if you are looking for financial aid, you may be required to take a specific amount of hours.

2. Make more money. The higher your education the higher your salary. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, employees with a high school diploma averaged $27,915 a year while those with a bachelor’s degree earned $51,206. Individuals with master’s degrees averaged $74,602. Statistics also show that seventy five percent of future positions will require at least some type of certification or licensure.

3. You didn’t graduate from high school. If you did not graduate from high school but received your G.E.D., don’t despair. Over 97 percent of colleges accept students with a G.E.D. diploma.

4. How will I pay? Paying for college through scholarships and financial aid is much of an option to adults as it is those just graduating from high school. There are various forms of grants and low interest loans that are offered regardless of your grade point average, financial need or credit history.

5. How will I get there? If your community does not have a college and you don’t have time to commute, there are now options. Courses today can be taken online or through distance learning programs. Check with the college or university you are interested in to discuss these options. Remember, if you take distance courses through institutes outside of your state, it may be more costly. You will get a financial break staying with a school in state.

6. Do your homework. After identifying what school you would like to attend, make an appointment with the academic advisor. Be prepared to have a few things with you such as old transcripts – that is if you have attended any college prior. Also, do some homework on what field of study you are interested in. The Occupational Outlook Handbook can help you develop an idea of what types of jobs are out there.

7. Testing. Be prepared to take entrance exams. Although you are not required to take admissions tests such as the SAT or ACT, there are placement tests colleges require for English and Math.

8. Check if your life experiences count for credit. Last, ask whether the institute you want to attend offers credits for life experience. Many schools do this through exams such as CLEP or DANTES. These are called ‘life experience credits’.

About the Author: Kara Lilly, a Librarian for over 15 years in College Park, creates the Eduology for, a leading provider of homework help, college directories with satellite maps and a comprehensive breakdown of student loans. For more information, please visit


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