Returning to School After Being in the Workforce

Did you start working without going for that college degree? If so, then join the millions of people, across the country, going back to school after spending years as working adults. It is easy now with flexible course schedules that offer you a variety of options from online to weekend classes. Data from the U.S. Department of Education show that adult learners (above 35 years of age) are the fastest growing percentage that forms the student population in the country. An estimated four million students are going in for distance education, according to the Distance Education and Training Council. Also visit Balancing School and Family for further information for the adult student returning to college.

Campus Life is Different
If you are joining a brick and mortar school, then campus life is something that you have to adjust to. It is a different life. As adult learners you may take more time to fit into it, but remember college is both serious work and great opportunity for social interaction at a mature level. You have to learn to balance both, and most college campuses will provide you with supportive infrastructure.

College education is expensive and be prepared for fully packed academic schedule too. Your professors will show less flexibility than in high school and dedication to your studies is assumed. Take things seriously from the first day. Try to solve all unanswered questions either in the question answer sessions in class, or later by meeting your professor whenever possible. How well you perform in each course depends to a large extent on the course selection, the professor, and on your being up to date with your assignments and homework.

Check if These Campus Facilities are Available
Before deciding on the school, look for the facilities on offer. Most campuses have an experienced faculty, well-stocked library with study and meeting areas, academic counseling, peer tutoring, state-of-the-art multimedia facilities in classrooms, and hands-on study. In all probability, as a working adult going back to school, you may need day-care facilities for your child, and many campuses provide this. Healthcare units complete with nutritionists and councilors, a good cafeteria with wide choice of healthy food in a hygienic environment, etc., are other features that are designed to make your campus life comfortable. Remember it is a relatively independent life, away from obligations at home, so use your freedom with care.

Some Tips to Help You Plan for College
Planning for the right school is an elaborate, meticulous, and time consuming process, which can be made easy if you follow certain time-tested tips. College education is expensive and admission is competitive with international students vying for admissions. The following tips have been culled from real-life students:

  • Check ScholarshipExperts.com to research for the scholarship and grant options.
  • Prepare for the SAT or ACT test, after finding out what your college needs as a prerequisite. High scores will be needed for getting the scholarships.
  • Get involved in community work, as admission officers will score you on your leadership qualities.
  • College nights or open houses happening nearby are good places to meet and get to know your college. Often it provides you insight to help you decide about the college.
  • By November, submit all the required documents for an early decision program.
  • Fill the online Free Application for Student Aid or FAFSA here. The FAFSA should be submitted before 15th of March.
  • Find out when your college will have a presentation on planning financial expenses and attend it; submit all your financial aid forms much before the due date.
  • Your income tax formalities should be complete.
  • The Student Aid Report or SAR should arrive in four weeks from the time of submitting FAFSA.
  • Choose the best financial aid package when admission notifications arrive. Send the financial aid forms, duly signed, to the college along with your final transcripts and student loan application.
  • Do not forget to notify the other colleges that have sent you an offer letter.

The following site will provide additional information:

As adult learners you are motivated and determined; you have given up something to go back to college; you are just not going through the motions. So, whatever the difficulties, going back to school is a wise choice.

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