Tips for Returning to School as an Adult

How to financially prepare for college and continuing education as an adult

Tips for Returning to School as an Adult

Returning to college as an adult can be rewarding and could possibly change your life for the better. While it may seem overwhelming at first, planning and preparing can pay off in the end. Read on for ideas on how to prepare to go back to school.

Reasons Why Adults are Going Back to School

For some, returning to school is about wanting to try a new career path or staying competitive in the job market. Others may want to go back for personal fulfillment by learning more about a subject they have always loved but didn’t have the opportunity to learn about before.

Going back to college can also help you reach goals that you may have put on hold due to life’s unexpected challenges. Overall, the decision to return to college as an adult could be driven by a combination of professional or personal growth goals or simply a commitment to lifelong learning.

Figure Out Why You Want to Go Back to School

Are you trying to decide what you should go back to school for? Start by thinking about what your interests and natural strengths are. Consider the skills and knowledge you have gained throughout your professional and personal life.

Identify any areas where you would like to improve your skills. What industries and career paths are you interested in? What are your long-term goals?

You might also consider talking with professionals in your fields of interest. These meetings could help you get an idea of what a typical workday looks like. Conversations like these can help you figure out what jobs aren’t a good fit and what careers might be right for you.

It is important to consider job market trends and up-and-coming industries that might offer potential growth opportunities. This will help you start to narrow down your options so you can choose a field of study that aligns with your job goals and has a good chance for future success.

Affording School as An Adult Learner

Creating a budget is a must for managing your finances as an adult student. Look at your income, including:

  •       Employment
  •       Savings
  •       Scholarships
  •       Financial aid options

Adult students also have several financial aid options available to only them. Many institutions and organizations offer programs for adults who are returning to school.

While creating your budget and thinking about how to prepare to return to school, you will want to consider what new expenses there may be. Student expenses often include:

●          Fees for tuition

●          Books and equipment

●          Transportation and/or parking

●          Housing

●          Personal and family needs

With these added expenses, it’s important to look for assistance options to help you pay for tuition on a budget:

1.  Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

This is often a required step before any tuition assistance can be granted. Even if you think you might not qualify for aid, it’s worth the effort because it can lead you to other assistance programs.

2. Consider federal grants, loans, or work-study programs

The FAFSA offers a lot of information about what federal grants or programs you may be eligible for when going back to school.

3. Compare colleges and universities to find the most affordable options

There’s a large difference between the costs of colleges. In-state vs. out-of-state schools provide very different cost options. In general, community colleges can offer excellent education at a more reasonable cost.

4. Explore ways to transfer credits

Transferring credits can help lessen your workload, and some schools might also offer credit for prior learning or work experience. Both could possibly help you shorten your degree program and reduce costs.

5. Find creative ways to cut costs

While going back to school can be expensive, you can look for other areas where you could possibly save money.  Look for ways to cut costs by:

  •     buying used when you can
  •     using public transportation
  •     preparing meals at home
  •     exploring free or discounted student resources

Many companies offer student discounts: take advantage of the opportunity. Student discounts on software, technology, and entertainment can be especially helpful while in school.

How Can I Go Back to School When I’m Working Full-Time?

As an adult student, you may have work or family commitments that need you to have flexibility in your schedule. To help with this, look into schools that offer online or part-time programs that would help you better balance your responsibilities. Online programs often provide the same quality of education as traditional ones, and they can be more affordable due to less commuting and housing expenses.

If you’re balancing your return to school with a job, employers often offer tuition assistance or reimbursement programs for their employees. Check with your human resources department to see if your company provides these benefits.

Keep in mind some employers may require you to remain with the company for a certain period after completing school, so make sure to review the terms carefully and ask questions.

Don’t be Afraid to Find Financial Counseling

If you feel overwhelmed thinking about how to prepare for college and the financial part of going back to school, think about getting advice from a financial counselor. These professionals can help you understand your options, develop a financial plan, and make informed decisions. They can provide valuable insights into managing student loans, maximizing financial aid, and minimizing debt.

Even with the best plans, going back to school is expensive and you may suddenly find yourself with other unexpected financial emergencies that you are not prepared for. Times like this call for quick solutions, like taking out same day cash loans. Don’t let stress about your financial situation get you down. At LendNation, we can help get you cash fast. Our simple application process can be done in-person or online. Contact us or apply for a loan online.