When you were in high school, you may have considered going to college. Perhaps you had reasons you couldn’t start your college studies at the time. Perhaps you decided to marry your childhood sweetheart and put off college.
Another possibility is that you just didn’t enjoy going to high school that much. College didn’t occur to you because you barely made it through high school. The goals were to get a job and live independently.
Regardless of the reasons, 5, 10, or even 15+ years have passed. You’ve built career experience, but you may have hit a ceiling.
Consider these thoughts:
* If you’ve had a strong desire to go back to school for years, maybe you should just take the plunge.
* Perhaps your supervisor has commented, “If you just had more education, we could put you in a management position,” or something similar. If you’ve had such an experience, you may want to meet with your supervisor and find out more about the “offer” of a higher paying job for you.
* You’re pretty sure you’re not going to find a better-paying job without more education.
* If you want to change your life in a new and positive direction, it may be time to go to college.
If you’re thinking about going to college, follow these tips to clarify your desires:
1. Explore the type of education you want or need. A 2-year diploma? A 4-year degree?
2. Have you ever taken any college courses? There’s a good possibility the credits for prior courses will be accepted by the college you apply to today. Therefore, it won’t take you as long to get through school as it otherwise might.
3. Do you live near a community college or university? If so, drive over and take a walk on the campus. See how it feels. Observe the students and check out the buildings.
4. Consider online courses. Peruse websites of universities offering online coursework and degrees. Remember to look for a school’s accreditation before signing up; although many online schools are legitimate, there are some that aren’t.
5. It’s possible to go to school part-time while you keep your full-time work. This is a choice made by thousands of returning students, and works particularly well for those who have careers and families.
6. Talk to family members, loved ones and friends. Ask if you could count on them to help you. Be specific about the kind of help you want, such as a loan, babysitting assistance for your children, or other kinds of aids. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at the support offered by loved ones to help you continue your education.
7. Keep your eyes and ears open for scholarships to return to school. Although you may not qualify for much funding before you actually begin school, chances are good that you will once you start. There are always ways to fund your education.
8. Meet in person with the Financial Aid Officers at any local colleges you’re considering attending. Solicit their help and guidance in obtaining financial aid info and how to apply for low interest educational loans.
9. Find out all you can about one or two colleges that you like. Go online and explore the student manuals. Focus on the sections that concern either the coursework or degree that interests you.
10. Finally, embrace the possibility of going to college. Picture it. Dream it. Envision what it would feel like to reach your potential.
Keep your mind open to the possibility of returning to college. Regardless of your age, living situation or budget, if you have the passion for it, you can achieve it. Going back to school may hold the key to the good life you deserve.