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Going Back to College: Frequently Asked Questions
(Continued from page 4)

My Skills are a Little Rusty. Where Can I Get Help for English and Math?
Many adults who have been out of school for some time feel they need a refresher in certain subject areas. Most colleges and universities offer learning centers or other academic facilities to help you assess your abilities, and also offer remedial programs that enhance your skills to help you succeed. Many of these programs are available on campus or online and through distance education.

Can I Keep Up with the Younger Students?
Adults are generally very motivated and view the college experience as a wonderful learning opportunity as well as a chance to fulfill their goals, whether it be personal enrichment or professional advancement. They usually want to get the most from their investment. Professors also enjoy and welcome the adult's student's input and experience in classroom interactions. Not only do adult student's "keep up", they are excelling in their studies. For more information, see the Special Reports and Features sections.

“Re-entry students are among the most motivated students. They want to contribute to the world in ways that utilize their talents and enable them to earn a living for their families, and they know from life experience the importance of education in obtaining these goals. Despite (their many) challenges, they often impress with their commitment and often perform at a higher level than other students." - Corinne Miller, University of California Santa Cruz director of Services for Transfer and Re-entry Students (STARS).

If I Begin a Program, Can I Take a Leave of Absence?
Some institutions have a policy requiring continuous enrollment, but many will give a leave of absence if needed. Adult students, balancing work and family, often find that they cannot attend every semester. Find out about your chosen college's policy.

The Admissions Office Says I Need a Transcript to Be Admitted. How Do I Get It?
As a transcript is a record of previous academic work, you need to contact the high school or previous college(s) attended and request that an official copy be sent to the admissions office of the new college or university. If the school or college you attended in the past is closed down, another school or state agency is storing your records. Call your state's higher education agency to assist you.

How Can I Translate International Higher Education Credits or Degrees into United States Equivalencies?
There are several services that evaluate international credits or degrees to U.S. equivalencies. The major services are AACRA0's International Education Services and World Education Services.

If I Work Full/Part-Time, How Many Courses/Credit Hours Should I Take a Semester?
A full-time college course load is generally 12 hours, though some students take up to 18 credit hours. Part-time study is generally 1 to 11 credit hours. Students are advised to study independently three hours a week for each credit hour. When you first begin (your first semester back), it is a good idea to attend only part-time. This will help you determine if pursuing a college degree is what you really want without committing a lot of of time and expense. According to Laurie DeFiore (, the number one cause of failure for adults returning to school is taking on too much. Many adults decide they want to go back to college and enroll in a full schedule, only to become overwhelmed with the responsibilities of family, school, and work. Consider taking only one to two classes to start to give yourself time to refresh study skills and get used to being in an classroom environment.

In regards to the the number of credit hours to take when working, these guidelines provided by colleges may be helpful:
Number of Work Hours Per Week Credit Hours Per Semester
Less than 20 hours 12-18
20 6-12
30 3-9
40 3-6


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