Returning to school as an adult can be extremely difficult. Although they won’t solve all of your problems, there are a few things you can do to help you move along your schooling pathway.
The best way to start is to come up with a solid plan. The first thing to consider is timing. Are you going to be going to school full time or part time? Can you handle a full time schedule with a job, family, or other aspects of your life? When do you hope to graduate? These are all important things to consider. It is also good to think about what kind of schooling fits best into your life. There are many options out there including online, weekend classes, night classes, or a more traditional weekly schedule. Along with these, you want to decide what exactly you are going to school for. Choose your degree program, meet with advisors, and decide which classes you need to take. Jumping in with no real plan in mind is a dangerous way to begin your schooling if you already have a busy life.
Get Human Support
This is not a task you want to take on without the support of your friends and family. Going back to school does not need to be a secret; in fact keeping it to yourself will make the whole experience even tougher. It is wonderful to have someone to help you out, doing things like watching your kids, quizzing you for tests, and proofreading your papers. It is useful to have people around you who understand how busy this makes you and how stressful it can be. It is a great feeling to have someone to celebrate with when you do well in a class. This is not something you need to do alone.
Get Financial Support
There are many options for adults returning to school in terms of financial aid. The most important and most helpful tool is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA is used to determine eligibility for federal loans and grants. Many colleges and universities also use results from the FAFSA to determine eligibility for internal financial aid. If you are eligible, there is a chance your schooling can be completely paid for by grants. If you don’t qualify for grants, federal loans can be obtained with low interest rates and flexible payment schedules. Along with federal and school aid, there are countless scholarship opportunities. Consider joining a scholarship search and find site. That way, you don’t have to sort through opportunities on your own, the site will help you more easily find what you qualify for.
Don’t Expect Perfection
Most people who return to school as an adult have many other things they are doing and dealing with at the time. With that, it is nearly impossible to be the perfect student. Don’t allow yourself to feel bad if your grades are lower than you would like. Continue to try your best, pass your classes, and let that be good enough. The fact that you are resuming school is admirable enough. You don’t need to be valedictorian too!
Restarting your education as an adult is a great thing to do. There are numerous options and opportunities available to further your education. Be prepared to work hard, but be prepared to enjoy the experience too.