5 Ideas for Making Your Return to College a Success

There are 37 million Americans who started college but dropped out before they earned a degree. Since a college degree is still important to increasing earning potential and job security some of these people may be considering filling out an application for college and going back to school.
For those adults going back to school, it’s a big step forward. But, it’s not without challenges. The National Center for Education Statistics reports that only 28 percent of adult students (those who are 25 years or older) complete college. So what’s holding these people back from reaching their goal?
There are a lot of factors and everyone is different. A Pew Research Center study found among those surveyed who did not have a four-year college degree and who were not currently enrolled in college, two-thirds attributed the lack of a degree to needing to support their family instead. Other research from organizations like Apollo Research Institute uncovered reasons such as anxiety about not spending time with friends/loved ones, worrying about intellectual ability to complete coursework, and experiencing stress because class interferes with normal routine, as challenges people face in earning a degree.
The top reason college students drop out however continues to be financial. Paying for college is a big undertaking and can seem almost impossible, especially if someone has other financial obligations. Yet, investing in a college degree can still be a great driving force when it comes to getting and retaining employment. According to the Hamilton Project, over a lifetime of work, a college graduate with a bachelor’s degree would earn over $500,000 more than an individual with just a high school diploma.
So, if you’re one of the 37 million people with some college credit but no degree don’t lose heart when faced with the challenge of returning to school. Knowing why you are going to apply for college and keeping your long-term goals in mind will aid your efforts. Here are some other tips that will help too:
  1. Think about why you dropped out initially. Identifying the reason or reasons that prevented you from earning a degree the first time will help you think about what you need to do differently this time around.
  2. Research all your financial options to find financial aid for college including scholarships for returning students or moms going back to school, grant programs and student loans. With student loans be sure you know exactly what you are signing up for and don’t use the money for non-school related purposes.
  3. Ask a lot of questions before you apply for college. Make sure you understand what kind of instructors are at the school, whether they have the right degree program for you and whether there is specific support for adult students.
  4. Start using a calendar. Going back to school while balancing a job or family obligations can be tough. You are going to need all your time management skills to stay on top of things. Use a paper or online calendar to keep track of school assignments, tests and other important items as well as schedule regular study slots so you can stay committed to your degree.
  5. Get your support team onboard. Everyone needs a little bit of help. This could mean asking your spouse or your kids to chip in at home, finding a study buddy in class or talking to your instructors and academic advisor about getting academic support. Wherever you need help, make sure you get it before it’s too late to matter.
Going back to school is a commitment that’s worth making. At Bryant & Stratton College, we offer online classes that are outcomes-based in a flexible and personalized environment which can be a great fit for adult students. If you are interested in learning more about the online degree programs offered by Bryant & Stratton College, please call 1.888.447.3528 to speak with an admissions representative.

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