Wednesday, September 9, 2015

College Not Just For Kids Anymore: Adults Going Back to School

Adults Going Back to School

College Not Just For Kids Anymore

As corporations downsize and adults lose jobs they once thought were secure, many are learning that they do not have the skills to find new employment making the kind of income they were.

For many, this means going back to college, or even attending college for the first time. More and more often, college classrooms have 30 something, 40 something, or even 60 something students sitting in desk chairs once reserved for students just out of high school.

If you are in the position of attending college as an adult, you have issues to deal with that younger students do not have to face: child care, a household to run, full- or part-time employment, or in some cases, even the responsibility for eldercare. The sandwich generation is now attending college in droves, changing the dynamics of classrooms across the entire nation.

So, what are some of the specifics you need to know before getting started? When you apply for admission, you will need the following:

  • College transcripts and/or high school transcripts
  • Vaccination records
  • SAT or ACT test scores--if you have not previously attended college courses
  • Scholarships & Financial Aid--FAFSA Application

You will have to have your college transcripts, if any, for admission to the college or university of your choice. Your transcripts must go directly to the college, and cannot be hand delivered by you. If you have not attended college in the past, you will need to have your high school transcript.

For some students, this is an obstacle not easily overcome. In one instance, a 56 year old man had to convince the high school counselor in his home town to dig through boxes and boxes of records that had been moved to a musty basement. Keep in mind that, though the people responsible for finding your transcript and getting it to the college are generally happy to help you, it may take some time--especially if you have been out of high school for a while.

Don't worry about your high school GPA. The SAT or ACT test scores will be more important than your old high school grades.

College Prep
Comprehensive for

Most, if not all, colleges require incoming students to show proof of measles vaccination within the past 10 years. This is non-negotiable, unless you can provide a doctor's note stating that you are allergic to ingredients in the vaccination. If you have an egg allergy, talk with your doctor before having the vaccination, as you could have a potentially fatal reaction.

Colleges require SAT or ACT test scores, partially to determine in which courses to place you. Some open registration colleges may allow you to take a campus placement exam instead. Be sure to contact the registrar's office to determine which you need.

Kaplan and Princeton both put out excellent SAT and ACT test preparation guides. Getting one of these and working through the exercises is a good idea, since many schools base scholarships on the student's SAT or ACT score. The higher your score, the more likely you are to qualify for scholarships.

Make Sure You Fill Out the FAFSA Application

When you apply for admission, make sure you fill out the FAFSA application (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), even if you do not plan to take out loans to pay for your education. Colleges often will not consider you for scholarships if you have not first submitted a FAFSA application. Also, you may be eligible for federal grants, which do not have to be repaid.

If you need to borrow money to attend college, be sure you only borrow what you need. These are loans and will have to be paid back. Bankruptcy will not dissolve your obligation to repay these loans. However, in the event of your death, your family is not required to pay the loans back. 

It takes time for Student Aid offices to process and apply your financial aid to your account. The larger the school, the longer it takes, since they have more student applications to process. After the initial application, following year applications can be done online at

These are some of the basics you will need to know when getting started. Going to college as an adult with family and financial obligations is not easy, but it can be done. It is difficult if your immediate family does not support your decision to attend college, but many times family will come around when they see that you are dedicated to your education.

Be sure to explain to your children, if they are still at home, why you are going to school. You might even set up study time at home when you all work on homework. If it has been a while since you have been in formal classrooms, give yourself time to get acclimated.

Many college instructors teach differently than what you may remember, with more hands-on projects and less lecture. Most of all, take the time to enjoy learning.

Are you going back to school?


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