Wednesday, June 29, 2016
Haven’t been in school for a really long time? If you keep telling yourself that “one day” you’ll go back to college and get your degree, today is the day!
I was a college drop-out. Things got in the way – that happens. Life happens. But I always promised myself that one day I’d go back. The thing was, by the time I was able to start thinking about going back for my degree, it was twenty years later and I was intimidated by the idea. I started the paperwork just to see how far I could get, thinking only of the next step in the application process, and before I knew it I was taking classes. It’s a life-shift, to be sure, but it’s been a positive one.
So why should you look into applying at a community college?
1. Community college is a great way to start the ball rolling if you want to go back to school. Not only do they offer transfer paths for 4 year degrees, but at the end of two years you’ll have an associate’s degree to add to your resume. Statistics show that even an associate’s degree can boost your income. If a 4 year degree isn’t what you want, there’s also a myriad of 2 year certifications offered to boost your marketability.
2. Community colleges have a high percentage of returning adult students. No one will blink at your age when you come to apply and sign up for classes. And at Vol State there are a number of resources to help you get back in the game
3. The classes are smaller. You won’t be just a number in a crowd. It’s easy to make appointments with your instructors and get a little extra help if that’s what you need.
4. You can take classes online! Before my first semester I wasn’t sure how I could make it work with my schedule and being a mom. I didn’t have to. I signed up for online classes with the exception of one evening class. I could have taken that class online as well, but I wanted the experience of being in a classroom. Both options help working adults and parents balance school and life.
5. You may be able to get grants and scholarships to offset the costs of attending. It may even be free! Tennessee is in the midst of a big push to encourage its residents towards higher learning. Governor Haslam recognized that educated citizens make for a stronger state. Check out Tennessee’s “Drive to 55” and see what options are available to you.
6. Isn’t it time you started keeping those promises you made to yourself? I’ve known many people who had to drop out of college, and they always did it with the intention of “going back someday.” Make “someday” today.
7. It’s not just for you. If you have children, you know that you’ll all be making sacrifices to earn a degree. But it’s a good example of determination and accomplishing goals that will stay with them for the rest of their lives. Your success will show them how to succeed.
8. If life can be better, this is how it starts. Going back to college doesn’t have to be a chore to get through so you can get a degree. It’s an experience. You might find yourself enjoying the journey.
9. Community College is cheaper. As I mentioned above, you may even be able to go for free. If you know that you want a 4 year degree, the rising costs of a traditional 4 year university can be softened by taking the first two years at a community college. It’s still a quality education without the painful price tag.
10. You can go further than you think! TTP degrees put you on a transfer path, if that’s what you’re going for. Think a state college is your only transfer option? Think again! Even Ivy League schools save some spots for non-traditional learners. If you’re a returning adult student, that means you. If you study hard, make the grades, and get involved in the community, you may be surprised at the doors that open for you.
So what are you waiting for? It’s not too late! Take the first step and see what happens. Start improving your life today.
Gaynell Buffinet Payne