Back to College: Getting Started
Welcome! Going back to college as
an adult can be a daunting (sometimes even scary), but
very worthwhile experience. We all know that there are
many talented and accomplished individuals who never
went to college or for some reason or another were not
able to complete their degree. For many, earning that
"piece of paper" can make a significant difference
in their professional or personal life (the achievement
of a lifelong dream) - but the idea of returning to
school after a long absence can present quite a challenge.
Often adults who are returning to school after years
of not being in a classroom are apprehensive about not
fitting in (for example, being thrust into a classroom
with 18 to 25 year olds), taking good notes, studying,
and doing well on tests. The admissions and financial
aid process can be a confusing and frustrating experience.
Back to College® offers a directory
of resources and interactive community specifically
designed to help manage these challenges, including
the Experts and online
Browse articles on returning to school and frequently
asked questions in the admissions
area. Locate online courses
or traditional or online degree
programs, find out how to get credit
for life experience, or get help deciding on a major.
Confused about whether you qualify for financial aid?
Learn how to apply
and locate scholarships.
You can also brush up on forgotten study
skills and read motivational feature
articles and special
reports about other adults who are successfully
returning to school, as well as browse a bookshelf
of bestselling books and guides for the returning
Other resources include opportunities for regional
internships; how to buy
textbooks; get help with academic
research and cool
tools (including bibliographies with document delivery;
dissertations; online journals; and special libraries).
An index of information can be found on the site
map or you can conduct a site
search. Our resources are continually being updated
- it's easy to keep informed with our free
It doesn't matter how old you are or how long its
been. You are not alone - millions of adults have done
it before you. Take that first step. You will be glad
you did! you did!
are Some Guidelines for Getting Started:
Define Your Educational Goals.
Before you can determine a career path and then select
the right school, you need a personal assessment to
help you clarify your interests and define your educational
goals. Why do you want to go back to school? Is your
goal to change careers, grow professionally, or finish
a degree program started years ago? By focusing on your
motivation, you can best define educational goals.
Personality and career counseling
tests are available to help pinpoint interests and help
you decide on a career path. If expert advice is necessary,
there are many career centers which will provide assistance
for a fee. Assessment tests such as the Strong
Interest Inventory Assessment, the California Occupational
Preference System, the Career Assessment Inventory and
Briggs Type Indicator can help you identify occupations
best suited to talents and temperament. Community colleges
often offer these tests free or at a low cost, but may
limit these services to current students. Some of these
tests are available online, and may provide professional
Are you going to college for the first time or re-entering
after an absence? Determine how many prior college credits
you have, including non-credit courses and any life
or work experience skills. Even if the subjects don't
seem applicable to a major, they might count as elective
credits (see definition below) toward your degree.
If you are still undecided, don't worry. Many students
attend college for years before they decide on a
major (or a primary course of study, usually
about eight to twelve courses in a specific discipline).
You're allowed to be undecided, and special advisors
will help you select course work that will fit into
various degree programs.
A minor is a secondary course of study,
generally consisting of about six to eight courses in
a chosen discipline area. Electives
are courses outside your major and minor subject areas,
while general study courses are core
courses required for a degree program in a variety of
subject areas. General studies requirements can vary
dependent on the institution.