I’m afraid I won’t be able to keep up with young students. Will I be out of place?

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. Instructors 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.

Some adult accelerated programs require that students be at least 23 years old with 2-5 years of work experience for admission, so in some cases you wouldn’t be in class with recent high school graduates at all.

It’s been awhile since I was in school, so my skills are a little rusty. Where can I get review in English or Math to be better prepared?

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. We also periodically have workshops in our community for students to refresh their skills.  WorkOne and Adult Basic Education have resources as well.

I doubt that I will qualify for Financial Aid. Should I still apply?

Yes, you should! Never assume you don’t qualify for financial aid. Many adult students believe they don’t qualify and miss out on many sources of aid, including grants and low interest loans that are offered regardless of grade point average, financial need, or credit history. Most federal and state aid programs don’t have age limits, although some scholarship programs might. For financial aid based on low income, all that is necessary is to demonstrate financial need, and some of the most eligible students are single parents. Also, it isn’t necessary to be admitted to a college or university before you can apply for financial aid. Submit the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) form as soon as possible after January 1 (don’t wait until you complete your tax return, but use estimates of income.) Any errors can be corrected later, and most states need to receive the FAFSA by March 1 to qualify for state aid. (For information on how to apply for financial aid, or obtain and complete the FAFSA online, visit our Financial Aid section.)

I don’t think I can afford college without a job, so can I work and attend class at the same time?

Adult students have many options for financing their degree along with increasing academic flexibility. A first step is to visit the colleges or universities you are interested in attending and request a college catalog. Often classes are scheduled that enable students to attend classes at night and on the weekends, or programs are offered in accelerated format. Many colleges also offer programs via broadcast television, the Internet, multi-media, and video conferencing.

For help with tuition costs, many companies have tuition assistance programs or special scholarships for employees. We can help to find out what grants, scholarships, low interest loans, tuition payment plans, and work-study opportunities are available. You can also research scholarships in libraries or through scholarship search services on the Internet, and take advantage of education tax credits such as the Hope Scholarship Credit and the Lifetime Learning Tax Credit.  We also have many local resources for scholarship as well.  See our Resources page for links.

How long will it take to complete my degree?

That depends on your academic goals. A certificate program for a specialized field or career (non-college credit or credit) generally takes one year. Examples of certificate programs are in the culinary arts, computer technology, childhood education, emergency medical technicians, office administration, pharmacy technician, real estate, and teacher’s aide.

An associate’s degree requires 60 credits and takes two years for full-time students to complete. A bachelor’s degree requires 120 credits and generally takes four years, but can be accelerated through several academic options!