Transitioning from the working world back into school can be a jarring experience. At South College, our course curriculums are designed to fit in with your busy lifestyle while equipping you with a college degree. Here are three common reasons why potential students worry about going back to school – and why they shouldn’t worry you.
At South College, we operate on a quarter system as opposed to the traditional semester system. Under this system, we can offer more classes that are shorter, which allows for a quicker pace. You’ll move through your classes quicker and study a wider range of topics all while completing your degree and entering the work force sooner. Many classes at South College are offered on nights or weekends so you will still have time to take your children to school and extracurricular activities.
You can also attend school part-time. It will take a bit longer to graduate, but this could make earning a degree and balancing a job and home life easier. Also, check with your employer to see if they will allow you to work part-time and go to school full-time. That way you are still making money and keeping your job, while also getting your degree to benefit your future. Before you commit, make sure this is an option financially and discuss resuming full-time status once you graduate.
“I’m worried about paying for school.”
Currently, we do not offer any institutional scholarships, but there are numerous outside scholarships available – many specifically for non-traditional students like you.
There are a number of different resources on the web that can help you locate scholarships, such as fastweb.com and the Association for Non-Traditional Students in Higher Education, which offers a variety of scholarships.
If you’re a working student, you will still qualify for financial aid. However, South College also recommends students check with their current employer about tuition assistance. It can take more than a year to line up support from your employer, so be patient with the process. If your workplace doesn’t offer tuition assistance, you may be able to negotiate alternatives such as time off or compensated time for classes, studying and travel time. Talk with your employer to see what resources they offer to help further your education.
To apply for financial aid at South College, students must first fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FASFA). We participate in several student aid programs, including federal, non-federal and private student loans.
“I’m worried going back to school isn’t worth it”
There are numerous studies that point to the advantages of having a college degree. A recent study found that by 2018, 63 percent of all job openings will require employees to have some kind of college degree. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the U.S. median income in 2010 for high school graduates was $626 a week compared to $1,038 a week for college graduates. And finally, in 2011, the average unemployment rate for those with just a high school diploma was 12.4 percent. For those with an associate’s degree, the unemployment rate was 7.7 percent. Students with a bachelor’s degree had a 6.2 percent unemployment rate, and students with a master’s degree had a 4.5 percent unemployment rate.
“I’ve been out of school for years. Will I be the oldest in all of my classes?”
At South College, you’ll fit right in. 58 percent of our students are considered nontraditional and are between the ages of 25 and 40, and 65 percent of our students have transferred from another institution.
According to a Washington Post article, of the 20 million students enrolled in colleges and universities across the United States, only about one-third of them are “traditional” college students. Also, the U.S. Department of Education reported that 40 percent of college students are older than 25 and nearly 20 percent work full time.
With more than 30 programs across five different degrees, South College can help you kick start your new career today. Contact one of our admissions counselors today to get started!