Have you recently made the decision to go back to school and further your career? Going back to school is a big decision and will impact many areas of your life, but it is definitely worth it. Maybe you are going to school to earn a degree for the first time, to finish a degree you started or to increase your career opportunities. No matter your reason, now that you have decided to make it happen, you need to know what steps you should take to be successful.
- Plan your future and clarify your goals. One of Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is to begin with the end in mind. Once you have clearly defined your overall goals, think about the steps it will take to achieve them. For example, if your goal is to advance in your career or change jobs, going back to school is a way to achieve that goal.
- Attend admissions events for adult learners. As you begin researching possible institutions, discover what admissions events are tailored to non-traditional students. Also, explore the college’s blog for mentions of their non-traditional student services and admission events.
- Decide which institution is right for you. You have to decide what is important to you and choose the college where you think you will be most successful.
- Make an appointment with admissions. Now that you have decided on a specific institution, make an appointment with the admissions office to discuss their admissions process for non-traditional students.
- Upon acceptance, apply for financial aid using the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). There is no age limit for federal or state aid. If you are in need of additional financial aid, make an appointment with the financial aid office and start looking into scholarships that you may be eligible for.
- Meet with your academic adviser. Based on your past transcripts, timeline and desired degree, your academic adviser will be able to identify prerequisites and requirements to design a class schedule.
- Sign up for classes. Based on this class schedule, sign up for the classes that best suit your needs and current lifestyle.
- Organize your schedule. Compile your schedule in a digital or paper calendar with details about each week. This should be a comprehensive schedule that will help you with your time management. Also, meet with your family to discuss the new schedule and delegate tasks to make it work.
- Refresh your basic studying and test taking skills. Do some research on study techniques and think about what will be best for you. Also read blogs and articles on test taking techniques that you may not be aware of.
- Get to know your professors. You should make a point during the first week or two of class to introduce yourself and begin establishing a relationship with your professors. They will be able to help you through this journey and will be a vital resource as your reenter the job market.
- Keep up with assignments. Make sure you are planning ahead and actively keeping up with your assignments and test preparation. You don’t have time to be constantly playing catch up and you definitely don’t want a surprise all-nighter down the road.
- Keep your eye on the prize. Going back to school as a non-traditional student is not going to be a walk in the park, but if you stay focused and determined you will be so proud of the degree in your hand and the opportunities that it will bring you.
- Submit your application. Once you have the application, fill it out and submit it. Don’t forget that you will need to order your most recent transcripts from past educational experiences to be sent to your current college.
- Notify your current employer and decide on your job status. Have a conversation with your current employer before you begin classes. Discuss your schedule while going back to school if you desire to continue working. Your employer also may offer tuition assistance.
Are you ready to start a journey that could enhance your career and change your life? We are aware of the diverse life phases of our students and cater many of our programs to work with a non-traditional schedule, contact South College today.