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Things Adults Should Consider Before Going Back to College

For those who made going back to college a News Year's resolution, there are some issues to consider before making the leap



By Mary Patrick
Posted 2013

Adults Going Back to School
Adults Going Back to School

As we move into 2013, it’s natural for people to set new resolutions and seek to achieve new goals.

If losing weight is one of the top resolutions people make, getting further education isn’t far behind. In fact, both are in a list from USA.gov, which ranks the following as the five most popular resolutions:

1. Drink less alcohol.

2. Eat healthy food.

3. Get a better education.

4. Get a better job.

5. Get fit.

One could argue that the third and the fourth go together. Certainly, for adults contemplating going back to school, obtaining a better job or working in a field you actually enjoy can be prime motivators to return to school.

Deciding What Major to Study

The first step for those seeking to return to school is to determine what it is you actually want to do in your professional career. For many people, they went into a profession when they were young, sometimes for the wrong reasons.

Whatever the underlying cause, people sometimes find themselves in positions they don’t enjoy and seek to change their circumstances. Going back to school and getting a degree can be one pathway out of a dead end job and into a better situation that better matches a person’s desires. 

The first piece of advice is this: follow your heart. It’s a cliché for a reason. At this point in life, you should no longer be doing things because someone else wants you to do them.

Choose a career that will be something you are happy doing for the rest of your working days. Follow your passion.

Prepare Yourself For the Commitment Education Requires

Start your new education career slowly. One strategy is to start with one class and then work your way up into a full course load. This will lessen the impact on your work and personal life. Think of it as a new relationship – you want to date a little and get to know the person before moving into a serious commitment.

You’re Older – Own It

Being the oldest person taking a class should not concern you, there are many older people returning to school these days. Learn to enjoy your place in life and the wisdom the years have brought you.

As an older student, you’ll want to update your computer skills. You’ll likely never reach the ease with technology the younger generation possesses, but you need to be familiar and comfortable with certain aspects of technology before entering the classroom.

You’ll also want to prepare for this: not everyone will be thrilled you are returning to school. This includes partners, children, friends and associates. On a blog on Maria Shriver’s web site, they suggest this answer when people question your decision: “Because challenging myself makes me happy and more interesting.”

Line Up The Financial Aid for Your Return to College

College is expensive for everyone, no matter your age. Returning to school can be intimidating for those who do not have the financial aspects of higher education under control. Be sure to search for scholarships, some of which are geared toward returning students, as well as government aid available through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

[Download Our Free Guide to Online Education Now]

Another potential source of financial aid is corporate scholarships - be sure to check with the Internet sites for individual companies to get the details on scholarship offers and the details on how to qualify. 

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