Back to College

Going Back to College

America is the land of opportunities and offers the most flexible education system in this world.  It is one of the few nations in this world where students can consider going back to college at any time in their life regardless of their age or work experience.  According to this article on US News, the number of the adult students between the ages of 40-64 who are heading back to the college has increased by 20% to about 2 million a year.  In addition to that a large number of of students who had skipped college after highschool or had dropped out are considering going back to college.   

Type of Students Going Back to College

High School Dropouts

A large number of students who had dropped out of high school due to the personal hardships or other issues are now considering going back to college.  They usually end up taking a GED to get their high school diploma and end up enrolling in a vocational or community college to start their college education. 

College Dropouts

Lack of financial support and other personal hardships can force students to drop out of college.  Later on these students either manage to save enough money to attend a college or find an employer sponsored scholarship to pay for college.  They overall understand the value of college education and know very well that they can make a lot more money if they have a college degree.

Men and Women of Armed Forces

Men and women who are serving this nation by joining Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, Marines or National guard qualify for various educational benefits.  Either after an honorable discharge or while serving the nation in a non-combat deployment they can go back to college to get a college degree.  This college degree can help them get promoted in the army or get a great job in the private sector after the graduation. 

Stay Home Moms and Women with Hardships

Stay home moms and women with hardships make up a great number of students who are heading back to college.  Stay home moms usually end up dropping out of workforce to raise children.  By the time they are ready to go back to work their skills become obsolete thus requiring them to retrain.  Similarly, women with hardships mostly single moms end up going to college once they can get some financial assistance. 

Retraining of Laid Off Professionals

The bitter truth of today's global economy is that it requires almost everyone to go through retraining every five to ten years to upgrade skills to stay competitive.  America used to be a manufacturing economy which has transitioned to a service economy in last two decades.  This requires retraining of the professionals who have lost their manufacturing jobs or those who were in the service industry but do not have the most updated skills.

Skill Upgrade for Working Professionals

Retraining and gaining of new skills is a must in today's competitive job market.  The job descriptions are changing at a rapid pace to keep up with the global demand.  More and more employers are requiring students to gain new technical and management skills to move up the ladder.  Students are actively joining part time Masters and MBA programs.  Some students are going on sabaticals to pursue a higher education the full time. 

New Immigrants

New immgirations are the backbone of the American economy.  A large number of immigrants value education and have bachelors and masters level degrees from their home countries.  However, to compete in the US job market they are required to attend US colleges and obtain degrees from here.  A majority of immigrants go back to college to get additional education so that they can become high earners.

Senior Citizens

Some senior citizens despite having a desire, never had an opportunity to attend college throughout their lives.  A good number of baby boomers and senior citizens go back to college.  Senior citizens can attend college at a discounted price. 

Institutes Accepting Back to College Students

Almost all public college and universities and online colleges such as University of Phoenix Online, American Intercontinental University Online, Keller Graduate School of Management and Capella University accept back to college students.  Students can get education in business, information systems, computer science, nursing, health care and education.

Steps to Back to College

  • Decide the area of study
  • Identify any entrance exams you are required to take
  • Identify schools which accept back to college students.  Attend college fairs if needed.
  • Determine how much will it cost
  • Arrange financial aid and scholarships.  If pre-planning then see if you can start a 529 plan to pay for college.
  • Apply to atleast 3 colleges to make sure that you can start your program on time.

Back to College Scholarships

The great news for students planning to go back to college is that there are plenty of scholarships and financial aid available to them. 

Armed Forces Scholarships

Women Scholarships

Minority and Immigrant Scholarships

Back to College Financial Aid

All students going back to college may also qualify for Federal Financial Aid.