Going to college or entering a job training program is a big decision. You have to be in the right frame of mind to succeed at getting a credential or finishing your degree.
There are many reasons adults over age 25 return to school. Some are planning a career change or need new skills or credentials to move up in their career. Others enroll for personal development or after there has been a change in their life situation.
There are a number of things to consider before making your decision:
Research what degree or certificate that you wish to pursue.
Keep in mind the following:
You cannot get a bachelor’s degree at a two-year community college. However, you may be able to apply some or all of your credits from an associate’s degree towards a bachelor’s degree. Talk with your advisor about this option and what you can do to prepare.
Know if your degrees or credentials from another country.
If you have a degree or credentials from another country, it may not be easy to verify your educational and work background or your job skills. You may need to obtain credentials from a United States accrediting institution. This means having your foreign degrees, credentials, and work experience evaluated to determine whether or not they qualify you for U.S. degrees or credentials. It is important to research whether an institution of higher education or training is “accredited.” This means that the institution and its programs have been evaluated in the United States against standards for measuring quality. Accreditation by a recognized accrediting agency is one of the requirements for institutions to participate in federal student financial aid programs.
The U.S. Department of Education also provides information on what you need to know about having your foreign credentials recognized in the U.S.
Learn about the various course options.
Many adult learners such as yourself, who attend college, universities or private career schools are working full-time or part-time. To better meet the needs of working adult, many of these institutions offer weekend college study options that allow adults to earn college credits during the evenings and weekends. Often, these institutional courses are scheduled in ways that provide students with flexible options and the opportunity to complete their program of study by attending only in the evening and on the weekends. These options might include:
Find out if you qualify for credit for life experience.
If you have an abundance of knowledge and practical experience in your field but no degree or certificate, you may be eligible to receive life-experience credits in Maryland. A number of Maryland institutions recognize that adult learners bring a wealth of learning experiences—from the workplace, the military, volunteer activities, and public or community service —to the college classroom. Students with training, work, or life experience that is equivalent to eligible college courses may be able to earn credit toward their degree or certificate programs.
Keep in mind, each college independently designs its life credit program. So it’s important to research any potential programs to determine their relevance to your education objectives and life experience.
Research the cost of the school.
There are a number of ways to pay for the post-secondary degree or certificate.
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