1. Decide If You're Ready to Go Back to School
Going back to school sounds glamorous, but it’s really a whole lot of hard work. Are you ready? Make sure you know what you want and have the support you’ll need in place before you set out on your new adventure.
2. Choose a Degree
What do you want to study?
What will you do with your education?
Are you getting the right degree for the job you want.
3. Take a Few Career Tests
There are assessments and quizzes available to help you figure out what you’re good at and what you like to do. Do you know your learning style? It can help you determine the best way for you to go back to school.
4. Make an Appointment with a Career Counselor
Career counselors are available in almost every city and at almost every school. Check your phone book, search online directories, ask your local librarian for help, and, of course, inquire at your local schools. If you don’t like the first counselor you meet, try another. Finding someone you like and can relate to will make your search so much more enjoyable. It’s your life you’re talking about.
5. Choose Between Online or On-Campus
Now that you know what you want to do and which degree you’ll need to do it, it’s time to decide what kind of campus is better for you, a physical classroom or a virtual one. There are benefits to each.
- Is cost an issue? Online courses have different costs than traditional courses.
- Do you learn better in a social setting? Or do you prefer to study on your own?
- Do you have a quiet place at home and the technology you need for online learning?
- Is there a local school that offers the degree you want, and is it convenient?
- Are you the kind of student who needs face-to-face time with your teacher?
- Do you have reliable transportation if you choose to learn on campus?
6. Research Your Online Options
Online learning is becoming more and more popular every year. While it's not everyone's cup of tea, it's perfect for busy adult students who are self starters and have busy schedules.
7. Research Your On-Campus Options
There are a lot of different kinds of schools out there. You have options depending on the degree you’ve chosen. Learn the differences between colleges, universities, and technical, community, junior, or vocational schools. Find out where they are in your area. Call and ask for a tour, a meeting with a career counselor, and a catalog of courses.
- 8 Tips for a Successful College Visit by Allen Grove
8. Make it Happen
You’ve chosen a school, and in the process of choosing, you may already have met with a career counselor. If not, call and set up an appointment with the Admissions Counselor. Schools have room for only so many students, and the admissions process can be rigorous.
9. Come Up with the Cash
If you’re lucky enough to have a little time before going back to school, you may be able to take advantage of some of Ken Clark’s advice on his Saving for College site.
If you’re ready for school now, financial aid is available in the form of scholarships, grants, loans, and other creative means.
- 10 Facts About Financial Aid
- FAFSA Application Advice
- Grants and Scholarships Are Best Financial Aid
- Watch for Student Loan Offers from Banks
- Are You a Working Mom or Dad Who Could Use a Full Scholarship?
- Paying for Distance Education
- Paying for Business School
- Choosing and Funding Medical School
- 5 Ways to Pay for Your College or Medical School without Piling On Debt
10. Dust Off Your Study Skills
11. Improve Your Time Management
12. Take Advantage of Modern Technology
Those of you who are Baby Boomers have seen a lot of technological change in your lifetime. You’re probably more adept at some of it than others, but at the very least, if you’re going back to school, you need to be competent on a computer.