It’s rough out there when you don’t have a college degree. But going back to college as an adult is much easier now that there are so many online degree options. You can study anything you want online, and you may even be able to get financial aid to help pay for your tuition. Use these tips to navigate the application process, and be successful in your new life as a student.
Be Honest With Yourself About How Much You Can Take On
Going back to college as an adult can be a big commitment, especially if you can’t afford to take four years off work to earn your degree. You may have a family that depends on you or maybe you’d just like to get your degree with a minimum of debt. Going back to school full-time may be too much of an ask if you’re also working full-time and taking care of a family.
Be honest with yourself about how much work it’s going to be to go back to college and how much time you can free up during the week to devote to coursework. Even if you can’t find the time to attend classes in person, you can still attend online and fit that coursework into your schedule wherever you can.
Get Tuition Help
There’s no age limit for federal student aid, so make sure you file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by your school’s deadline. This will determine your eligibility for subsidized federal student loans, grants, and other financial aid. Talk to the financial aid office at your school about potential scholarships and other aid that might be available from the school, and look for outside scholarships you might qualify for, too. Apply for as many scholarships and grants as you can.
Learn Time Management Skills
Time management skills will help you juggle your responsibilities as you proceed with your studies. You’ll need to be able to block out time for coursework without neglecting your full-time job or your other responsibilities at home. Use calendars and alarms to keep you organized and on track with your studies. Time how long it takes you to do new tasks so you can plan appropriately in the future. Organize your time so that you’re tackling more challenging tasks first and saving easier tasks for later.
Choose the Right Program for Your Needs
What kind of credentials do you need to get where you want to go in your career? A four-year bachelor’s degree may not be the right option. You might be able to achieve your professional aims with a professional certification or an associate’s degree instead. While certification can have stringent requirements, an associate’s degree is typically a narrower, more career-focused option than a bachelor’s.
Some programs may also be accelerated, which can be a benefit if you want to get your degree out of the way as soon as possible. Choose an accelerated degree like the University of Arizona bachelor in behavioral sciences degree and complete your degree sooner.
Meet the Admission Criteria
Admission criteria for an online degree program is typically going to be just as strict as it would be for any in-person program. That’s because online degrees are usually offered by the same schools that offer those degrees in person. You will need to take entrance exams like the SAT or the ACT, provide your previous school transcripts, prepare an admissions essay, and pay an application fee. You should plan to apply to a few degree programs just in case you don’t get admitted to your favorite. Research admission criteria well in advance so you can have your test scores and other materials ready in time for application deadlines.
Time Your Application Properly
When do you want to start taking classes? Some schools have rolling admissions, while others only admit students at the start of a new semester. Figure out when you want to start school and when you need to have your application submitted to make that happen. Most schools will also give you a deadline for filing the FAFSA so that you can be considered for further student aid from the school. Don’t miss this deadline if you want to qualify for grants and scholarships from your school.
If you’re thinking of going back to college as an adult, it’s time to take the plunge. You can earn a degree in any field online, even if you can’t afford to attend classes on campus. It’s just a matter of choosing the right degree program for you.